Culturally Diverse and Inclusive Cities
26th of September 2023
The webinar will explore how future cities can embrace and celebrate cultural diversity and inclusivity. Through discussions on urban design, public spaces, community engagement, and social equity, the speakers will highlight the importance of creating inclusive and vibrant urban environments that honour diverse identities and promote social cohesion.
Juliet Chika Chinemelu
Juliet Chika Chinemelu is a highly accomplished and dedicated urban planner and city management expert with a profound impact on the development and transformation of communities in developing countries. With 18 years of experience in her field, she has been at the forefront of driving positive change in cities.
Juliet is a Registered Town Planner, who has worked extensively with donor agencies, central and local government departments. Juliet is also a lecturer, teaching housing, infrastructure planning, transportation, and land use planning to inspire and equip students to shape better cities for the future.
As a Consultant for the United Nations office in Nairobi (UN-HABITAT), Juliet played a crucial role as a Housing Delivery and Urban Development Expert. Her study focused on leveraging affordable housing to drive economic recovery in African cities, during the pandemic.
In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/Luxembourg Cooperation, Juliet supported an Urban Development Project in Namibia by providing technical assistance in formalizing informal settlements in Rundu.
Shahryar Sarabi is a Postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University working for the EWUU alliance. He specializes in planning urban sustainability transitions and developing (AI-based) information systems for urban planning.
Shahryar Sarabi is a Postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University working for the EWUU alliance. He specializes in planning urban sustainability transitions and developing (AI-based) information systems for urban planning. With expertise in this field, he has extensively researched various aspects of adopting Nature-based Solutions (NBS) in urban settings. His work encompasses exploring the planning and governance challenges associated with implementing Nature-Based Solutions, leveraging information systems for urban nature planning, and addressing justice in urban transitions. Shahryar is currently studying the role of coordination in fostering pro-environmental behavior and spearheads a project aiming to develop an NBS planning framework to enhance urban resilience.
Webinar themes of the year
The upcoming webinars will fall under two wide themes: 'Cities of the Future' and 'Sustainable Urban Development'. Each theme has three sub-themes.
Main theme I
Cities of the Future: Shaping Tomorrow's Urban Landscape
In "The Cities of the Future: Shaping Tomorrow's Urban Landscape" series, we explore the exciting possibilities and challenges of cities in the future. This thought-provoking, insightful series brings together visionaries, experts, and thought leaders that are part of our alumni database to delve into the key aspects that will define our urban environments.
Join us as we explore the limitless potential of cities of the future and work together to shape a more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous urban landscape for generations to come.
Isobenefit Urbanism: Redefining traditional urban development
The concept of ISO-benefit urbanism recognizes that traditional urban development often leads to uneven distribution of resources, services, and opportunities, resulting in social, economic, and spatial disparities. This approach seeks to address these inequities by deliberately planning and designing cities to ensure that benefits, such as access to amenities, transportation, employment, education, and public spaces, are evenly distributed across neighborhoods and population groups. ISO-benefit urbanism promotes several key principles: 1. Equity and Accessibility: It emphasizes the creation of accessible urban spaces, infrastructure, and services that are available to all residents, regardless of their income, age, gender, or physical abilities. This includes improving public transportation networks, ensuring proximity to essential services, and designing neighborhoods that are walkable and bike-friendly. 2. Social Inclusion: ISO-benefit urbanism strives to create socially inclusive cities where diverse communities can coexist and interact. It encourages the integration of different socioeconomic groups, fostering a sense of belonging, reducing segregation, and promoting social cohesion. 3. Environmental Sustainability: This approach recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship in urban development. ISO-benefit urbanism aims to minimize the environmental impact of cities by promoting green spaces, sustainable transportation options, energy-efficient buildings, and environmentally friendly infrastructure. 4. Participatory Planning: It emphasizes the involvement of citizens and communities in the decision-making processes that shape the urban environment. By engaging residents, community organizations, and stakeholders, ISO-benefit urbanism ensures that their needs, aspirations, and concerns are considered and integrated into urban planning and design. ISO-benefit urbanism represents a shift from a traditional top-down approach to a more inclusive and participatory model of urban development. By prioritizing equity and accessibility, this approach seeks to create cities that provide equal opportunities and enhance the well-being of all residents, ultimately fostering a more just and sustainable urban society.
Urban gamification refers to the application of game-like elements and mechanics in urban spaces and activities to engage and motivate individuals, encourage participation, and enhance the overall urban experience. It involves integrating elements of gameplay, competition, rewards, and interactive technologies into the urban environment to make it more enjoyable, immersive, and interactive. The concept of urban gamification is rooted in the idea that incorporating elements of playfulness and game design can motivate individuals to actively engage with their surroundings and participate in urban activities that they might otherwise find mundane or uninteresting. By leveraging the inherent qualities of games, such as challenge, rewards, goals, and social interaction, urban gamification seeks to transform the urban environment into a platform for entertainment, learning, and community-building. Some examples of urban gamification include: 1. Gamified Fitness: Fitness apps and platforms often incorporate gamified elements to motivate users to engage in physical activities. These apps may use features like leaderboards, achievements, challenges, and virtual rewards to encourage individuals to exercise and explore their city while tracking their progress. 2. Augmented Reality (AR) Games: AR games, such as Pokémon Go, overlay virtual elements onto the real-world environment, encouraging players to explore their cities in search of digital characters, items, or challenges. These games blur the boundaries between the virtual and physical world, turning the urban environment into an interactive playground. 3. Interactive Installations: Urban spaces can be transformed into interactive installations that incorporate game-like elements. For example, interactive public art displays or installations may allow people to engage with lights, sounds, or sensors, creating an immersive and playful experience within the urban landscape. 4. Citizen Engagement: Urban gamification can be used to encourage civic participation and engagement. For instance, gamified platforms or apps may provide challenges or quizzes related to city history, culture, or sustainability, incentivizing citizens to learn and actively contribute to their communities. The potential benefits of urban gamification include increased social interaction, improved urban exploration, enhanced learning experiences, and a sense of community engagement. However, it is important to strike a balance between gamification and the authenticity of urban spaces, ensuring that the use of game-like elements aligns with the overall goals and values of the city and its residents. Overall, urban gamification provides an innovative approach to making cities more interactive, engaging, and enjoyable, fostering a sense of excitement and discovery in urban environments and encouraging active participation from individuals.
Cultural diversity and inclusive urban spaces
Discover how future cities will embrace and celebrate cultural diversity and inclusivity. Through discussions on urban design, public spaces, community engagement, and social equity, cultural leaders and urban sociologists will highlight the importance of creating inclusive and vibrant urban environments that honor diverse identities and promote social cohesion.
Main theme II
Sustainable urban development
As human civilization has evolved, we have increasingly embraced urban living as our primary way of life. However, reflecting on the trajectory of urban development throughout history, it becomes evident that we have been steadily depleting natural resources without due consideration for their regenerative capacity. Regenerative urban development surpasses the traditional focus on sustainability, which primarily aims to reduce harm by actively striving to enhance and rejuvenate urban areas.
Regenerative urban development is a paradigm shift from the outdated linear metabolism approach, where cities operate in isolation from the resource cycle, to a new circular metabolism model. It goes beyond sustainability by actively restoring and enhancing ecological, social, and economic systems. This involves integrating green spaces, creating urban forests, implementing sustainable water management strategies, promoting the reuse and recycling of materials, and transitioning to renewable energy sources. By adopting regenerative urban development, cities can become more resilient, environmentally friendly, and inclusive places to live and work. It emphasizes the restoration and improvement of natural systems, the promotion of social equity and well-being, and the adoption of collaborative governance practices. This holistic approach recognizes the regenerative capacity of natural ecosystems and aims to mimic their principles in urban environments. Through the implementation of regenerative strategies, cities can actively replenish and restore their resources while creating thriving and sustainable communities for future generations.
Circular built environment
The concept of the circular built environment is an approach to urban development and construction that aims to create a regenerative and sustainable system, inspired by the principles of the circular economy. It focuses on shifting away from the traditional linear model of resource consumption and waste generation in the built environment, and instead, seeks to close the material and energy loops to achieve a more circular and efficient system. In the circular built environment, the emphasis is placed on designing, constructing, and managing buildings and infrastructure in a way that maximizes resource efficiency, minimizes waste generation, and promotes the reuse, recycling, and repurposing of materials. This involves adopting strategies such as modular and adaptable design, using renewable and recyclable materials, and implementing efficient energy and water management systems. The circular built environment seeks to create a regenerative and sustainable system where resources are used efficiently, waste is minimized, and natural systems are regenerated, contributing to a more sustainable and resilient future.
Nature-based solutions (NbS) are sustainable approaches that utilize nature to address societal and environmental challenges. In densely populated urban areas, the loss of green spaces and biodiversity detrimentally affects well-being and vulnerability to disasters, while cities also face mounting climate-related challenges. By safeguarding natural systems and investing in green infrastructure, cities can enhance resilience and protect developmental gains for future generations. Globally, interest in nature-based solutions as an approach for climate resilience is growing. NbS not only contributes to people's well-being and supports biodiversity but also removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These solutions, such as ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure, offer cost-effective and sustainable alternatives that harness the power of nature to address challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and urban heat. By embracing nature-based solutions, cities can create more resilient and livable communities, benefiting both the environment and future generations.
Regenerative agriculture is a system that focuses on building functional biodiversity and soil health to produce food and biomass. By prioritizing these aspects, it aims to achieve reliable yields without the need for synthetic inputs. This approach entails a comprehensive transformation in our relationship with nature and our understanding of agriculture. By adopting regenerative agriculture, we move away from extractive and destructive practices towards achieving a nutrient equilibrium and fostering symbiotic relationships among diverse life forms to create and enhance ecosystems rather than causing harm. Regenerative agriculture seeks to restore ecosystems while producing food sustainably. It emphasizes building healthy soil, increasing biodiversity, and efficient water management. By integrating livestock and supporting local economies, regenerative agriculture creates resilient and sustainable farming systems. It aims to achieve reliable yields without synthetic inputs and fosters symbiotic relationships to enhance ecosystems. This transformative approach prioritizes functional biodiversity and soil health, moving away from extractive practices towards a balanced and regenerative agricultural system.