Penn IUR to Participate in United Nations Conference on Sustainable Urbanization

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) will participate in Habitat III, the United Nations premier conference addressing sustainable urban development, to be held in Quito, Ecuador on October 17-20, 2016.

As part of its engagement in Habitat III, Penn IUR will exhibit urban-focused research projects and publications undertaken at Penn IUR and by faculty across the University of Pennsylvania. These projects and publications aim not only to generate new knowledge, but also to facilitate the exchange of best practices related to sustainable urbanization across the globe. 

Penn IUR’s co-director, Eugenie Birch, is the president of the General Assembly of Partners (GAP), a civic engagement platform recognized by the UN General Assembly, which has played a key role in the preparation process for Habitat III. By involving 16 groups of diverse of stakeholders — including city policymakers, women, academics, indigenous peoples, foundations, farmers and the media — GAP has worked to develop a consensus for Habitat III’s outcome document, known as the New Urban Agenda.

For those interested in learning more about Habitat III and Penn IUR’s role in the historic conference, the following resources are available:

• Highlights of Penn IUR’s upcoming Habitat III exhibition, in a just-published Habitat III Exhibition Catalogue.
• Penn IUR’s Global Urban Commons (GUC), an online global directory of urban research organizations and Habitat III GAP organizations, with additional information about each organization and the New Urban Agenda. 
• “Media and Habitat III: How You Can Be a Part of It,” a discussion on October 4 co-hosted by Perry World House and Penn IUR about Habitat III, the role media will play, and how you can follow the conference. Speakers include Birch; Neal Pierce, founder and editor in chief of Citiscope; Mythili Sampathkumar, U.S. editor for Cities Today; and Ariella Cohen, editor in chief of Next City.
• Birch and Jane Vincent’s recent article in Cascade titled, “Habitat III: The Quest for Sustainable Urban Development.”​​​​​​​
• Birch’s recent article in the Journal of American Planning Association titled, “Will Habitat III Make a Difference to the World’s Urban Development?

About Penn IUR
​​​​​​​Penn IUR is dedicated to advancing cross-disciplinary urban-focused research, instruction and civic engagement on issues relevant to cities around the world. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, understanding cities is vital to informed decision-making and public policy at the local, national and international levels. Penn IUR focuses on research that informs the sustainable and inclusive 21st-century city. By providing a forum for collaborative scholarship and instruction at Penn and beyond, Penn IUR stimulates research and engages with urban practitioners and policymakers to inform urban policy.

Eugenie Birch