The world gears up for second World Cities Day celebrations


Nairobi, 30
October 2015—It is all systems go as the world readies itself for the second
World Cities Day celebrations to be marked on 31 October.

‘Designed to live together’, the highlight of this year’s event will be in
Milan where the celebrations will mark the end of the Expo 2015 Milano which
has been running since May. At the United Nations, the event will be the
culmination of the Urban October, a month started with the World Habitat Day
and has allowed all the actors to reflect on the urban future and all the
opportunities to create a new and transformative urban agenda.

This year’s
fete comes smack in the middle of two ground breaking events. The first was the
adoption last September of the new Sustainable Development Goals – which
include SDG-11 to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient
and sustainable”, recognize this transformational approach of sustainable urban

The second is
that it comes exactly a year before the United Nations Conference on Housing
and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III to be held next October 2016 in
Quito, Ecuador.

The World
Cities Day was celebrated for the first time last in Shanghai after the
decision by the United Nations Assembly to establish this international
observance as one of the legacies of Expo 2010 Shanghai.

In his
message, United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon said the theme of
this year’s celebrations was chosen to highlight the complexity of cities and
how urban design is the tool that provides the opportunity to transform the way
that we live, to facilitate the development of socially integrated, prosperous
cities where people live together.

“Good urban
form is the foundation for sustainable cities. Good design means building an
integrated all-encompassing urban system that considers not only what the urban
form of the city should be, but also what should be the process of envisioning

When planning
cities, public authorities should facilitate a collaborative design process with
a broad range of concerned stakeholders that develops a debate around concrete
interventions, step by step. Design is the point of departure from which
through debate and reflection, testing and improving, a common vision is
reached,” he said.

According to
the Secretary-General, design is thus a strong participatory tool for making a
city for all because it helps people come together around shared goals and
visions, promotes everyone’s equal access to services, jobs and opportunities,
to the city’s social, cultural and political life.

In his
message, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Dr. Joan Clos, said
this year the World Cities Day focused on the capacity that urban design had to
affect how people live, how they move around, how the neighbourhoods look like
and how safe people feel on the streets.

“Urban form
is the combination of streets, building typologies and networks of public
spaces. They form the underlying structure of the city, a skeleton around which
people’s lives are built and activities carried out.”

Good design
contributes to social integration, equality and diversity. Planning residential
areas with different possibilities in terms of typology and price enables
residents from different backgrounds and income levels to live together,
prevents the creation of isolated ghettos or gated communities, fights
segregation and discrimination. Good design gives space for different cultures,
ethnicities and lifestyles to mix and come together,” he said.

In the
celebrations of the World Cities Day, local governments around the world
launched a joint-message –Local Governments moving towards the New Urban
Agenda- recognizing the opportunity to transform cities into inclusive, safe,
resilient and sustainable places as they work together towards Habitat III and
the New Urban Agenda.

information on

by Local Governments on World Cities Day –