WUF 5: Training Session on the Implementation of the Right to the City


About 70 people from various countries (Spain, Mexico, United States, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Austria, Holland, Germany, England, South Africa and Nigeria, among others) attended the presentation and discussion of states’ concepts, principles, tools and responsibilities of the right to the city, including legislation and national and local urban policies (Brazil, Mexico), with particular focus on civil society participation. 

The session was coordinated by the Polis Institute and organized by FNRU (National Forum on Urban Reform, Brazil), Instituto Brasileiro de Direito Urbanístico (IBDU), COHRE, HIC, and UNESCO. Presenters included Nelson Saule Júnior, Letícia Marques Osório, Karla Moroso, Edésio Fernandes, Jurema de Souza Machado, Karina Uzzo and Lorena Zárate. Among the participants were technicians and local governments, representatives of various UN agencies, prívate sector professionals, representatives of NGOs, leaders of community organizations and social movements, researchers, academics and university students.

The first part of the session concentrated on to the presentation and discussion of the role of the right to the city as a collective right. Participants of different backgrounds and regions were divided into seven working groups and exchanged their experiences and views based on the following guiding question: what does the right to the city mean in your country/city/community, and who has the right to the city?; and, what is the most important prerequisite for the right to the city? Various publications produced by the same civil society networks were used as supporting material, such as the World Charter for the Right to the City and FNRU’s pamphlet on the Brazilian Platform for Urban Reform. To close the first part, Edésio Fernandes coordinated the findings of the groups and helped to deepen some components of the right to the city, such as democratic governance and the social function of land and property.

The second section presented more concrete experiences of the defense and implementation of the right to the city: the process of recuperating the historic centre of Pelourinho (Salvador de Bahia, Brasil) through social inclusion and guaranteeing the permanence of its inhabitants; the application of the right to the city principles by the judiciary power, which held the Sao Paulo municipal government accountable to implement a special area for social interests in the Jardim Edith community; and finally the foundation, conceptual content and program proposals included in the the Mexico City Charter for the Right to the City, currently in the process of collective construction and approval by the local government. Information in Portuguese.