caf.com / news / empowering the community in the planning of long-term projects is key for "cities with a future"


TwitterFacebookGoogle plusLinkedInYoutubeRSSSuscribe
04 de November de 2017Empowering the community in the planning of long-term projects is key for "Cities with a Future"

Experts and authorities from 24 countries agreed on the need to make the community the key player in the urban agenda, to overcome the three informal aspects of city life (employment, housing and transport) that make it difficult to close the inequality gap and promote sustainable development in Latin America. This was just one of the conclusions reached at the CAF’s Cities with a Future conference held in Lima, Peru.

comparteimg - Twitterimg - Facebookimg - GooglePlusimg - LinkedInimg - Whatsapp

Cities have become an essential stage for tackling and providing a solution to the problems of exclusion, inequality and poverty. With the right policies, cities may be turned into areas in which the well-being of the community may be improved by exchanging ideas, recreation and the consumption of material and immaterial goods. However, uncontrolled growth, lack of planning and long-term policies are just some of the reasons why densification of cities has not resulted in higher productivity and improved well-being of people in Latin America.

Making the community the key player in the agenda of designing and introducing public policy was the consensus reached by the 55 panelists from sixteen countries who attended the CAF’s Cities with a Future conference that concluded in Lima. Experts and national and local authorities said that greater democratization is needed to build cities that are more inclusive, productive and resilient.

“Cities must reserve spaces to meet the demand for housing, but housing that people can afford. One of the biggest challenges is how to provide housing beyond the capability of the free market. This will make it possible to democratize land and reduce informal settlements,” said PK Das, architect, activist and winner of the 2016 Jane Jacob Award.

Building bridges between urban planners and development specialists, in the interests of fairer cities, is one of the lessons of Habitat III, said Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, when highlighting the need to reach a consensus between the public and private sectors and academia and greater involvement of the community when designing long-term policy.

“The economic role of the city increases to the extent that we diversify economically and are less dependent on commodities. Cities are where services flourish, so we must invest in higher education and accessibility because this will attract more private investments and promote productivity and innovation,” she added.

For his part, Pablo Sanguinetti, CAF’s Corporate Director of Economic Analysis and Know-how for Development, added that “the objective of urban policy should be to reduce the cost of urbanization (pollution, congestion, uncontrolled expansion, slums, high housing costs and unemployment) and maximize its benefits (increasing innovation, higher productivity and better wages), to such end the national and local authorities involved in metropolitan areas must work closely together.”

Once a diagnosis and general proposals had been made at other sessions of the Cities with a Future conference, a number of initiatives to improve the well-being of the community in key areas such as transportation, technology, financing and governance, were presented.

Guillermo Dietrich, the Argentinean Minister of Transportation, said that to reduce the amount of vehicular traffic and increase the number of pedestrians, it was essential to improve the community’s quality of life, to not be afraid of overcoming hurdles as far as mobility is concerned. “When something is done right, it doesn't matter if there is opposition. There will never be a total consensus. The first people to object are those who move in ‘powerful’ circles (politicians, influential people, etc.) and who have a car, just because they don't want to give up their comfort. We must overcome the resistance to change,” he added.

The panel agreed that priority must be given to investing in public transportation, to make it an attractive option for the community. “People should have study, work and leisure options near to where they live. Our cities have not been planned like this, which makes it difficult to get around. Lots of people need to go the same places at the same time, so we must look for options that benefit the common good of individuals,” said Juan Carlos Muñoz, Director of the Urban Development Center of the Universidad Catolica de Chile.

>As far as technology is concerned, the common denominator was that the sector should be seen as a cross-sectional component, rather than as a tool for promoting inclusion, productivity and the development of cities. Panelists agreed that there is still a gap in most Latin America cities with regard to benefiting from greater connectivity to broadband Internet and greater supply of digital goods and services.

<Finally, the panel on how to manage the urban agenda placed great emphasis on the importance of long-term policy. “We need a long-term partnership project: There is a cultural factor that requires more people to become involved in implementing the urban agenda. Young people and women should play a greater role in implementing an urban agenda for sustainable cities,” said Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General of SEGIB.

CAF’s Cities with a Future conference was a highly successful event thanks to the attendance of 700 in the conference hall, thousands of followers watching the live broadcast of media partners (El Comercio, América Economía, NTN24 and Noticias RCN) and as the subject discussed at the two-day conference being a trending topic.

TwitterFacebookGoogle plusLinkedInYoutubeRSSSuscribe