Monday, 18 January 2021

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In the 21st Century, what kind of city do we wish to live in?

Brussels Habitat III Urban Breakfast - Edited Invitation

Mr Yvan Mayeur, the Mayor of Brussels, told an audience of engaged European citizens at the last in a series of "Urban Breakfasts" before the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development and the New Urban Agenda that "the struggle for climate and sustainability is a social struggle."

More than 80 people attended the event organized by Habitat III in collaboration with the City of Brussels and the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) at City Hall on the Grand Place in the historic centre of Brussels on October 6th.

#H3breakfast in Brussels

Luc Schuiten, a well-known Belgian architect, drew the audience into his visual universe of Vegetal cities of 100 years from now. Mr. Schuiten arrived at City Hall in his own eco-friendly car that he designed and made himself. According to the visionary architect, "the more city design is inspired by nature, the smarter and more sustainable it will be."  

Mr. Schuiten arrived at City Hall in his own eco-friendly car that he designed and made himself.
Belgian architect Luc Schuiten arrived at City Hall in his own eco-friendly car that he designed and made himself.

The Habitat III Conference will be held in Quito, Ecuador, on 17-20 October. The conference comes at a crucial and challenging time as it is estimated that by 2050 the world’s urban population will have nearly doubled.

Mr. Kumaresh Misra, the Deputy Secretary General of Habitat III, told the audience that he was encouraged by the fact that a solid agreement on Urban Development already exists before the Conference in Quito has even opened, and he underlined that it is crucial that the enthusiasm leading up to the conference continued into the implementation phase.

Mr. Matthieu Fichter, a Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Corina Cretu from the European Commission explained the existing European urban agenda – also known as the Pact of Amsterdam – and confirmed the EU will finance initiatives of cities and mayors to ensure the European urban agenda and the objectives of Quito can become reality.

He stressed the importance of working together to implement a tailor-made urban agenda for each city.

Finally Mr El Ktibi, Deputy Mayor of Brussels offered concrete examples of how local authorities in Brussels are committed to innovation and championing local activities to translate decisions taken at an international level to action on the ground for the benefit of the citizens. Along with Mr. Misra, they all stressed the importance of implementation.

Caroline Petit, Deputy Director of UNRIC, concluded by inviting the audience to live up to our shared responsibilities by following the Habitat III conference and to continue to engage in this on-going challenge.

All cities are a work in progress, which means that people need to share their knowledge and experience in order for us to successfully progress together. 


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