Creating Value through Public Space

The United Nations just launched the ‘UN-Habitat State of the World Cities Report 2020 on the Value of Sustainable Urbanization‘. “COVID-19 has transformed our urban world. However, it does not signify the end of cities. Urban areas hold the key to resilient, green recovery, and building back better!”, Victor Kisob, th assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat states. The United Nations emphasises that we create “value through public space”. This includes interior public spaces, which were closed due to COVID19-induced lockdowns recently. In this case, “local governments must work to provide sanitation infrastructure in all public spaces in order to mitigate the health risk”. Yet, also, “when designed with climate adaptation, mitigation and resiliency, components of cities from buildings to public spaces can create communities that enhance environmental values”. They also enhance social and economic values. “Cities can unlock the intangible value of sustainable urbanization by creating public spaces and opportunities for democratic participation and social inclusion that allow the cultural fabric of urban life to flourish”. And, public space can offer a livelihood for people to be entrepreneurial and take part of labour work. Equality plays a huge role in sustainable urbanisation. “Diversity contributes to the social, economic and environmental value of urbanization through tolerance, integration, and coming together in public spaces.” This includes for instance the representation of the urban poor, migrants, and cultural minorities, hence this should lead to prioritising “their needs in any decision-making process, be it about the urban commons, atmospheric commons, public spaces or resource use”. And, “engage a wider audience – e.g. children and youth – in urban planning and design processes for safe, inclusive and accessible public space.” Everyone should “understand their rights to access public spaces and services”. I would like to add: Our challenge is to contribute to the design of public spaces for everyone.


World Cities Report 2020

Chinese will Humanise Cities

December 20 to 21, after a lapse of 37 years, the Central Urban Work Conference was held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech.

Embracing a new round of top-level design, the meeting reflects the Chinese central government attention to work in the cities. It is a more humane attitude. Everyone has its own ideal city in mind. For the country, the ideal city lies in what kind of philosophical concept is dealt with. Although, as the meeting stressed, cities should work as one engineered system, they should “adhere to people-centred development, adhere to human cities for the people. This is what we should do in the urban Works departments from start to end point”. “The city of the future lies in our own hands”, as depicted in the meeting, “so that the people live in the city more convenient, more comfortable, more beautiful.”

12月20日至21日,时隔37年后,中央城市工作会议在北京举行。国家主席习近平发表重要讲话。

体现了中央政府高度重视城市工作,迎来了新一轮的顶层设计。是一种更加人性化的态度。每个人心中都有自己的理想之城。对一个国家而言,理想的城市,在于用什么样的理念去经营。正如会议强调,城市工作是一个系统工程。城市工作要“坚持以人民为中心的发展思想,坚持人民城市为人民。这是我们做好城市工作的出发点和落脚点。”城市的未来掌握在我们自己手中”,正如会议所描绘,“让人民群众在城市生活得更方便、更舒心、更美好”。

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