Global Housing Policies at the World Urban Forum

August 28, 2012

By Jane Katz: Director of International Affairs and Programs, Habitat for Humanity International

The first week of September marks the beginning of the World Urban Forum (WUF), one of the world’s premier conferences on cities and a venue that sparks dialogue and discussion around major urban issues. This year’s WUF takes place in Naples, Italy and is being organized jointly by UN-Habitat, the Government of Italy, the Campania Region and the City of Naples.  More than 10,000 participants from 114 countries are expected to attend. This year’s theme is “The Urban Future,” which will examine the most pressing problems facing the world today: rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies.

One of the biggest challenges for rapidly growing cities is to provide adequate housing and services.  As land becomes scarcer and more expensive, the need for affordable housing and services becomes critical especially for many who are living in increasing poverty and slum conditions in cities.  Thoughtful housing policies and an enabling housing environment will be key to addressing the housing needs in urban areas. Surprisingly, there are little or no comprehensive and harmonized global datasets that measure both housing policies and conditions.  As such the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will be hosting with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) a workshop at the World Urban Forum titled “Enabling good housing policies informed by evidence-based research” to be held on Tuesday, 4 September, 16:30 - 18:30, Rm. 18, Pavilion 5. 

In this session governments and nongovernmental organizations will be invited to demonstrate how they have been using evidence-based indicators for advocacy, design and monitoring of urban and housing policies and share ways for improving public engagement in addressing urban poverty and housing.   Attendees will be encouraged to engage in a dialogue with various institutions that sponsor housing and urban indicators including Habitat for Humanity, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, UN-Habitat, and Cities Alliances, and will provide input for a shared platform. 

The panel will be composed of a diverse group of prominent governmental and nongovernmental organizations involved in housing policy including the Department of City and Regional Planning, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania; IDB; HFHI; UN-HABITAT; Ministry of Cities, Brazil; City of Bogota, and City of Atlanta, and the Lincoln Land Institute.

Please look for demonstrations of at the Habitat for Humanity booth at WUF and follow us on Twitter @GHIndicators #WUF6 and on Facebook.

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