Thought provoking discussion on of Urbanization, Culture and Innovation theme at World Urban Forum

Abu Dhabi, 10 February 2020 - Policy makers, academics, thinkers and practitioners came together to discuss culture and innovation and their role in supporting sustainable urban development during the first Dialogue session at the Tenth World Urban Forum. The theme of the Tenth Session of the Forum is: Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation.

UNESCO’s Assistant Director for Culture, Mr. Ernesto Ottone Ramirez emphasized the need for the values of culture, identity and heritage to be passed on to future generations.

 “Today, what we are lacking is the construct of value which enables young people to know what it means to preserve identity, culture and heritage. We must reflect now on how we want to build cities around our identities, cultures and heritage, Embracing the past will bring about the future we want to build together,” he noted.

The Minister for Culture and Knowledge development for the United Arab Emirates, H.E, Noura Al Kaabi said culture was always present.

Thought provoking discussion on of Urbanization, Culture and Innovation theme at World Urban Forum

The Minister for Culture and Knowledge Development for the United Arab Emirates, H.E, Noura Al Kaabi at the Dialogue on Urbanization, Culture and Innovation at WUF10 UNHabitat/Ishtaiq

“This affects the way we live, communicate and interact in our social life as individuals. It is a thread that runs through all facets and stages of our lives from school to adulthood,” she observed.

The general manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Mr. Luis Monreal, said culture affected the way people thought and acted. He said understanding culture was critical to respond effectively to the challenges of urban poverty, inequality, unemployment, environmental degradation, migration and climate change.

The managing director of Slum Dwellers International Ms. Beth Chitekwe Biti called for governments and local authorities to make cities spaces for everyone.

She said the exclusion of slum dwellers from the mainstream planning process created a counter-cultural community as marginalized residents of cities were evicted from informal settlements, and prevented from earning a living by selling their wares on the pavements in cities.

Key issues linked to the theme of the Dialogue include how innovative mixed-use development, transport planning for multiple users, affordable housing policies, and urban renewal programmes, can help planners integrate cultural diversity in cities to ensure equitable access to services, transport, education, public space, employment and housing for the most vulnerable. Issues around migration and culture and their link to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development are also relevant.