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RTPI influences global cities report

21 March 2016

The -City -We -NeedThe RTPI has helped to influence a key report which will feature at Habitat III later in the year.

The conference will be the first time in 20 years that the international community, led by national governments, has collectively taken stock of fast-changing urban trends and the ways in which these patterns are impacting on human development, environmental well-being, and civic and governance systems worldwide.

The City We Need, published by The World Urban Campaign (WUC), is a manifesto of ten principles suggesting concrete ways on how to achieve sustainable urban development. It was conceived, designed and written by the partners of the World Urban Campaign, after sourcing views from over 7500 individuals and 2250 organisations representing various sectors of society.


PeterG"I am delighted that the contribution of the Institute has influenced the final document. This key document is an important  contribution to Habitat III. The fact that we have been able to play a contributory part in its development is testament to the hard work and dedication of our international officer and the commitment of the Institute and its international committee to playing a proactive role in international planning issues."

"I am especially proud we have been able to influence the development of this document and look forward to seeing how the world urban campaign progresses in the run up to Habitat III. It promises to be an exciting time for international planning".

The City We Need

So, what is this document, what does it mean and how has the RTPI played a role?

Over the past 8 months, the World Urban Campaign, part of UN-Habitat, has been sourcing views from citizens, stakeholders and organisations from all over the world through 26 'Urban Thinkers Campus' events held in various cities.  Civil society’s views on the promotion and implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities are critical as most of the world’s population now  live in urban areas where some of the biggest threats and solutions to global challenges like climate change are to be found.

I am especially proud we have been able to influence the development of this document and look forward to seeing how the world urban campaign progresses in the run up to Habitat III. It promises to be an exciting time for international planning.

This ground-breaking document outlines citizens’ views for a better urban future. It will be presented to political leaders to agree and adopt as part of the New Urban Agenda at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.  The document contains 10 principles including: 

  • The city we need is socially inclusive and engaging
  • The city we need is affordable, accessible and equitable
  • The city we need is economically vibrant and inclusive
  • The city we need is collectively managed and democratically governed
  • The city we need is fosters cohesive territorial development
  • The city we need is regenerative and resilient
  • The city we need has shared identifies and sense of place
  • The city we need is well planned, walkable and transit-friendly
  • The city we need is safe, healthy and promotes well-being
  • The city we need learns and innovates

We are a member of the WUC and attended the 26th Urban Thinkers Campus on refugees in Mannheim, Germany in February and the Habitat III Pre Com meeting in Prague in March. We are proud to say that we promoted the role that good planning and skilled planners and other built environment professionals adhering to ethical practice can help to deliver on this new urban vision, implement sustainable development and help adapt and reduce climate change impacts. Other important RTPI messages that have been included in the document include addressing climate change and improving air quality; and the importance of community consultation, political will, long term strategies.

All of these have been included in the final document in the Preamble, Principles 1 and 4, and under Driver of Change 2: Planning and Design 8: Education and The Way forward.  Finally, we have been highlighting how planning can help achieve the sustainable development goals in our blogs: Making Cities Better for Women Towards a New Urban Paradigm or Business as Usual and How Tech firms Can Drive Growth Without Making Inequality Worse.

The City We Need will be translated into all 6 United Nations languages, disseminated widely and used as a reference document for all stakeholders and governments dealing with housing and sustainable urban development in future. Planning has been recognised – we are at the forefront or this new global urban future.