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Transforming Cities with the Neighbourhood Approach: Bottom-up Solutions for Sustainability and Equity

Alejandra López



Monday, June 27, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 1
Mexico City Environmental Ministery
Equitable urban futures
NE 1


UNEP and C40 are developing a common Neighbourhood Approach to promote a people-centred, integrated and sustainable vision of urban development and regeneration. The Neighbourhood Approach is a pathway for cities to initiate transformation, promote inclusiveness, and ensure equal access to urban resources and opportunities. Neighbourhoods can pursue integrated urban planning at a less complex scale than cities – this approach encourages designers, citizens and local authorities to collaboratively create green and thriving communities.

Neighbourhoods are key to implementing holistic, bottom-up and innovative solutions that consider communities’ needs, including the most marginalised and vulnerable ones. Transforming urban systems for the purposes of a green and thriving neighbourhood not only support the delivery of carbon-neutrality and resource-efficiency, but it also is attributed to tackling inequalities, poverty and vulnerability by ensuring inclusiveness in the decision-making process, food security, improved public health, increased (green) density, affordability and resilience, and a better quality of life. 

This session will provide a space for high-level exchanges between local level practitioners and decision-makers to discuss creating green and thriving neighbourhoods by focusing on equitable, inclusive, and resilient community systems in cities. It will also demonstrate how, with top-down support from cities, sustainable bottom-up change is possible


The key message of the discussion is that the Neighbourhood Approach is a holistic, bottom-up, sustainable and flexible process that aims at creating green and thriving neighbourhoods by focusing on equitable, inclusive, and resilient community systems in cities.  Bottom-up change is possible with top-down support from cities. The aim of this session is to:

(1) introduce a common vision for Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods,

(2) highlight the relevance of the neighbourhood approach in creating a more equitable distribution of access and opportunities across the city, and

(3) illustrate the approach as implemented by different cities and local actors.

Session speakers

Ms. Sonja Leighton-Kone
Acting Deputy Executive Director
UN Environment Programme
Mr. Raf Tuts
Director, Global Solutions Division
UN Human Settlements Programme
Ms. Hélène Chartier
Director of Urban Planning and Design
C40 Cities
Mr. Badre Kanouni
Président du Directoire
Al Omrane
Mr. Xavier Matilla
Chief Architect
City of Barcelona
Ms. Carolina Urrutia
Secretary of the Environment
City of Bogota
Mr. Mario Duarte Villarelo
Executive Director for Environmental Culture
Mexico City Environmental Ministry (SEDEMA)
Prof. Carlos Moreno
Associate Professor and Scientific Director of the ETI Chair
IAE Paris-Sorbonne
Ms. Sharon Gil
Programme Management Officer and Lead of Circular Economy in Cities
UN Environment Programme