Some 15,000 people are expected to converge in Rio de Janeiro later this month for the UN-HABITAT's World Urban Forum 5, and the Lincoln Institute will be there, bringing expertise and experience in land use, climate change, and informal settlement. The World Urban Forum March 22-26 is a biennial event to focus on rapid urbanization worldwide, and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policy. The theme is “The Right to the City-Bridging the Urban Divide,” based on UN-HABITAT's flagship report, State of the World's Cities 2010-2011, which will be launched at the forum.
At this major conference, the Lincoln Institute’s delegation will be led by Martim O. Smolka, senior fellow and co-chair, Department of International Studies, and director of the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean. Activities will include training and networking events and an exhibit (E10) featuring a wide array of publications, where visitors will be welcomed throughout the gathering.
Smolka will be the moderator for a mayors roundtable on the first day, March 22, "The Role of Local Government in Bridging the Urban Divide," which will include the chief executives of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Rosario, Argentina; Lilongwe, Malawi; Malmo, Sweden; and Tongi, Bangladesh.
The main networking event will be “Sustainable Urban Responses to Climate Change: Vulnerable Populations,” on March 23, featuring Armando Carbonell, senior fellow and chair of the Department of Planning and Urban Form; Alberto Harth, president of Civitas in San Salvador, El Salvador and a member of the board of the Lincoln Institute; and Douglas Meffert, professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, deputy director at the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, and former Lincoln Institute fellow.
This roundtable addresses both adaptation and mitigation responses to climate change. The impacts of global warming are potentially devastating, especially for the most vulnerable urban populations in developing countries. Managing the risks caused by extreme weather, including increased flooding, wildfires, drought, and the exacerbation of the urban heat island effect will require climate-conscious city and regional plans that incorporate adaptation strategies in the location, intensity, and design of new development and redevelopment. On the mitigation side, changes in urban density, connectivity, and the mix of land uses will provide opportunities for the planning and design of lower carbon transportation, energy, and building systems.
Other scheduled sessions will include “Towards Preventive Housing Policies to Mitigate Informality,” a training event sponsored by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, UN-HABITAT, and the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, March 23. The discussion will focus on the causes and persistence of informality in cities and provides a basis for the design of policy responses to mitigate and/or provide viable alternatives to slum formation.
On March 24, Martim Smolka will be a panelist in the thematic open debate, “Adequate Access to Shelter (including Basic Social Services),” one of the six dialogues around which the World Urban Forum is structured. He will also be a panelist in the concluding dialogue, “Moving Forward on the Housing Agenda.”
Also on that day, the Lincoln Institute and the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies will host “EQUIURBE,” an interactive game on land management and tools such as land readjustment, compulsory auction and vacant land taxes, in the context of achieving equitable distribution of costs and benefits when dealing with growth areas and land provision for the poor. There will be a networking session in Spanish, Reforma legal y políticas de suelo en Centroamérica, or “Legal reform and land policy: a challenge for sustainable urbanization in Central America,” where members of a network of experts in Central America will discuss the formulation and implementation of legal reform and land policy for urban development in the region.