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Understanding, Planning and Transforming Cities for a Better Urban Future - Integrated spatial planning in mountain cities

Secondary and mountain cities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of shocks and stresses, including COVID-19 and climate change, which are deepening socio-economic challenges cities are facing. When planning in mountain cities is overlooked, it can lead to uncontrolled, climatically, and seismically unfit construction, or increased building in hazard areas. Resilient planning needs to be based on data-driven decision-making, and spatial design principles, but also integrate community engagement and vision, and be inclusive. Ensuring seismically resilient, climatically suited buildings as well as risk-sensitive land-use planning creates safety and opportunity for future generations. This event will look at a variety of techniques to address the unique challenges of mountain planning: what we can learn from past successes and failures? How can we develop locally led solutions? How does technology and innovation apply in mountain cities? The discussion will explore how to leverage capacity building, create spatial plans, integrate community engagement, build local vision and ownership to ensure resiliency, and scalable solutions for mountain cities.

Malika Giles



Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 16
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat
Integrated Governance in Spatial Planning for a More Just, Green, and Healthy Urban Future
NE 56


As 55% of the world’s population lives in the urban areas, more than half of whom live in rapidly growing secondary cities and towns, managing urban growth in a way that improves quality of life for all the residents is critical to sustainable development. Mountain cities and secondary cities are oft times overlooked. Their unique topography, natural hazards compounded by inequality, a lack of resources and critical infrastructure We must also tackle inequality and address the lack of resources and critical infrastructure needs to be addressed. Part of the solution lies in better planning villages and cities. Yet, urban planning practice and expertise is limited in the developing world and many of the existing approaches and methods are not adapted to local challenges, traditions, and context. This panel will bring together a variety of experts to look at key challenges and unique solutions for mountain regions. The key issues are demographic pressure that forces people to live in places that are vulnerable to hazards. Often countries have centralized approach to planning, where we need to include local voicess to have local solutions for local problems. Moreover, climate change brings new problems for urban planning, and cities need to have locally led and designed climate change adaptation plans.  To address these challenges UN Habitat, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, SECO and the Government’s of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will discuss how to improve urban planning in mountain cities with an approach routed in evidence based decision making and local knowledge and opportunities and to put in place actions that transform mountain cites improve the quality of life for citizens.


The objective of this event is to bring together urban planning labs, institutions foundations, donor organizations, practitioners, and local governments to explore the commonalities of urban planning practices to understand the urban system, plan for a sustainable urban future, and the development of impactful tools and approaches for transforming the urban areas.

The event aims to trigger a discussion on impactful integrated and strategic spatial planning steps and approaches by sharing best practices from environmentally vulnerable mountain settlements in Central Asia (Tajikistani and Kyrgyzstan) and well as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The event will explore the integrated and strategic spatial planning practices and how the operation of urban system can be improved toward and sustainable and resilient urban future.

As the event focuses on integrated and strategic spatial planning, it particularly falls under Dialogue 6 of the WUF 11: Building Urban Resilience. The NUA defines urban and territorial planning as key levers to promote sustainable urban development, with central relevance in economic growth, environmental sustainability and social equity, and vital to addressing myriad challenges that cities face. It states that urban and territorial planning needs to be integrated and focused on implementation. The key issues of the dialogue include rethinking the form and function of the city, the fragmentation of actions at various levels.

The event will particularly be relevant to Dialogue 6’s key questions with its case studies and discussions, such as;

  • How can resilience be used as a thematic around which to advocate for locally led and participatory urban planning?
  • How does an integrated approach to urban planning (using environmental, economic and social resilience) help improve quality of life
  • How can we ensure that analytics and plans will lead to concrete interventions and investments / implementabiltiy of plans? (demonstration projects, awareness raising)
  • How can compact city development be encouraged? How can cities be made more accessible?
  • How can urban planning create sustainable neighbourhoods, particularly in cities with strong spatial inequalities and limited resources?
  • How do we envisage and reimagine the future of cities and find the resources to implement this?

Session speakers

Ms Dagmar Vogel
Head, Infrastructure Financing Division, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
Mr Mustafo Asoev
Head of Urban Planning
Committee of Architecture and Construction under the Government of Tajikistan (Sharofar)
Ms Pinar Caglin
Senior Urban Planner
Ms Kira Intrator
Lead for Habitat Planning and Innovation
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat
Ms Elvira Turganbaeva
Head, Department of Economics and Integrated Development of the regions, Naryn Governor's Office
Government of Kyrgyz Republic