All posts by karunkoernig

Anti-Pollution Drive Foundation bags UN Habitat Grant


City based not-for-profit organisation Anti-Pollution Drive (APD) Foundation has been granted with the prestigious India Youth Fund Award by UN-Habitat & Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation. The award was given for APD’s Smart Swaccha Mangaluru (SSM) project for SWM during the Young Social Innovators Conclave 2016 held in Mumbai on l5th November. APD Foundation’s founder Abdullah A. Rehman received the award certificate from Padmini Somani, Director, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation. The award will also include funding of the awarded project of up to Rs. 8 Lakhs. Mangaluru’s APD Foundation was one among seven recipients to be selected for the award out of the 550 applicants from across the country The other recipients are: (1) Awaajan Kalyan Samhiti, Bhopal, (2) MicroX Foundation, Delhi, (3) Green Cross India, Trivandrum, (4) Born2Win Social Welfare Trust, Chennai, (5) Shaishav Gujarat and (6) Friends Union for Energizing Lives, Pune indifferent categories. SSM is a programme to achieve segregation at source through targeted campaigns, workshops and training programmes. It will be executed side by side with APD’s current IEC campaign which is conducted along with Antony Waste Handling Cell Pvt. Ltd.

“In the coming months through workshops and toolkits, we aim to actively help schools, colleges, government buildings; offices, malls etc., to adopt sustainable waste management techniques,” says Sobia, APD’s strategic planner. “This conversion strategy is adopted in cities like Taiwan, Japan, Singapore& London. To introduce this program to Mangaluru will be a great challenge. So we hope this award for Mangaluru city will encourage the citizens to actively participate in waste segregation and work jointly to achieve the cleanest city tag for Mangaluru city,” says Rehman. Anti-Pollution Drive (APD) Foundation was founded on October 2, 2014 to spearhead a crusade against air pollution caused by smoke emitting vehicles and thereby to ensure a safe, clean and sustainable environment for healthy living. The drive aims to wake the conscience of people by emphasizing the problem in hand, connecting & aggregating professionals from different fields to address the crisis, meeting officials to capture & fill the gaps in the system, producing actionable data & proof regarding the health impact & levels of air pollution. APD Foundation has also initiated Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities along with Antony Waste Handling Cell Pvt. Ltd. on Solid Waste Management in the city on behalf of Mangalore City Corporation towards the Swaccha Mangaluru mission.

Anti-Pollution Drive Foundation a brain child of Abdullah A Rehman was founded on October 2nd, 2014 to pioneer a campaign against air pollution and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for living. We are improvising on our ways to keep a tap on the air that we breathe is breathable and also on waste management which has become a major issue now. Disposing of waste has a significant effect on our environment. It is necessary to discuss on producing excessive amounts of waste which can take the very land that we are standing on. It’s high time that we act as a team before the thrash actually thrashes us OUT. As a team, we constantly make decisions that shape the rest of our activities. Each choice we make can forever affect our future, our impact on society, and the way others perceive us. That’s why it is so important to develop our character as a team. Even a simple notion can spark a positive or negative thought. When we help out, we are influencing ourselves in a positive way that often follows us throughout. We believe each tiny thought, word, action, and habit, changes YOUR future. Our opportunities are growing, and serving the society and educating our peers can only increase our opportunities. The team has always felt that volunteering and community service are something that we, as citizens, are internally obligated to do. When we find a cause we care about, a cause we connect with, we are able to dedicate some time from our lives for this cause. And this one cause is driving our society towards a `Zero Waste Society’. The team also believes that small-small ideas when put together to a mighty talent pool of members can create magic. Whether you have a thought of becoming a potential actress, or peculiarity for science, or love for animals, or space to recreate history: this seemingly small thought just might shape your world. Remember it all starts with your thoughts. They soon become words, which becomes your actions, your habits, your character and your destiny. You don’t really have to go out of the country to make a difference; you can do activities in your home town. You would be surprised how a little goes a long way. Please leave any suggestions or feedbacks so that a healthy conversation builds up and together with you and the team we can mitigate pollution and safeguard our environment.


Cities Of The Future: Why We Need Young People To Help Transform Their Communities

Siamak Sam Loni UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Reposted from Huffington Post 10/20/2016 04:05 am ET | Updated Oct 24, 2016

Cities are getting bigger, younger and more complicated than ever before. Some of the greatest development challenges of the 21st century are being created in cities. To solve these problems, we need to empower youth to work together with local authorities in planning, building and maintaining cities that are sustainable, inclusive and resilient.


John F. Kennedy once said “we will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation.” With 200,000 people moving from the countryside to cities every day, it is hard to see an end to the massive wave of urbanization that is sweeping across the globe.

Today, nearly 1 billion people around the world live in slums, many of which have been emerging overnight in rapidly urbanizing megacities. If one was to picture an urban disaster, Dhaka would probably provide a partial image of how that would look – a city so densely stuffed with vehicles that “the worst traffic jam in Mumbai or Cairo or Los Angeles is equivalent to a good day for Dhaka’s drivers” (New York Times).

For the first time in human history over half the world’s population lives in cities. This figure is expected to rise with the United Nations projecting that by 2050 more than 70 percent of the people on the planet will live in cities and towns. In 1950, New York and Tokyo were the only two cities in the world that hosted more than 10 million inhabitants. Today there are 29 of these megacities spread across the globe, with 80 percent of them located in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Urban areas, in particular megacities, are increasingly rampant with poverty, a shortage of decent housing and extreme inequality, coupled with unsustainable rates of energy and food consumption. According to a recent report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, “over the next decades, urbanization will be a defining trend in [many] parts of the world, especially in East Asia, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, where the bulk of extreme poverty is concentrated.”

Massive traffic jam on Beijing’s 50-lane expressway

The majority of cities across the globe are not just getting bigger. They are also getting younger. Millennials, representing half the world’s population, are 40 percent more likely to move to cities. Young peoples’ experiences, choices and preferences already shape the image of cities, especially in the developing world.

For the most part, millennials have little say and limited influence as to how their cities are planned and organized. Much of it may be a result of how millennials are perceived in both media and popular culture. In a recent New York Times articlereading “The World Has a Problem: Too Many Young People,” Somini Segupta argues that “much has been made of the challenges of aging societies. But it’s the youth bulge that stands to put greater pressure on the global economy, sow political unrest, spur mass migration and have profound consequences for everything from marriage to Internet access to the growth of cities.”

We must reverse this narrative and resist buying into the popular illusion that portrays millennials as demanding, ungrateful and disloyal members of society. Instead of viewing young people as part of the problem, we should start to see them as part of the solution. By changing the narrative, we can empower young people to work with local authorities to plan, design and manage cities to make them free of inequality, pollution, homelessness and crime.

To confront today’s urban livability crisis – subtle tweaks and adjustments, such as a few iconic green buildings here and there, won’t make the cut. For metropolises like Dhaka, solutions that radically reimagine the way the city is planned, designed and managed are not an option but a necessity. Cities can no longer afford to address the symptoms, they must focus on finding solutions that root out the causes. Instead of allocating more space for cars to accommodate the traffic, cities like San Francisco are removing parking slots in the downtown to discourage use of cars altogether while creating greater incentives for public transportation and ride-sharing platforms such as Uber and Getaround; a radical solution that will allow the city to clean up the air, re-purpose public space for bike lanes and parks, and encourage healthier lifestyles.

The need for genuine change is clear. Being a source of idealism and optimism, young people have embraced change for generations. That’s why the ideas of Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, which many have thought were so alien to Western political tradition, caught on with an unprecedented number of millennials. Being a source of unconventional thinking and new ideas, young people are best positioned for the task of coming up with solutions that have never been thought of before.

Associated Press

We have a new generation of young people that is tech savvy, generous, entrepreneurial and committed to social justice and community service. Through imagination, creativity, ambition, and energy, this new generation is shattering the old paradigms in three ways.

First, millennials today are leading entrepreneurship charts across the globe, opening more businesses and creating thousands of jobs. A BNP Paribas reportrecently found that “millennial entrepreneurs have launched twice as many businesses as boomers.”

Secondly, young peoples’ remarkable commitment to fairness and social justice, exemplified by volunteering and donating to charitable causes, makes them a valuable partner in tackling challenges faced by their communities, from inequalities that plague urban dwellings around the world to climate change that disproportionately impacts the urban poor. According to the Millennial Impact Report, 84 percent of young people “made a charitable donation in 2014, and 70 percent spent at least an hour volunteering.”

Finally, the skills and mindset of the new generation is giving rise to human-centred technologies and transformative solutions that are making cities smarter, more integrated and global. A recent survey by AIESEC concluded that youth are mostly seeking jobs that are “challenging, global and meaningful.” With millennials projected to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2030, these views could drive young people to pursue careers in companies that design products aimed at solving social and environmental challenges.


This week, Ecuador is hosting the 3rd United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, known as Habitat III, bringing together UN officials, mayors, urban experts, civil society and youth, to adopt the New Urban Agenda (NUA) – a global strategy for making cities “just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient, and sustainable” over the next 20 years. NUA is more than just a once-in-20-years opportunity to provide half of humanity with a decent place to live. Urban areas already generate over 70 percent of the World’s GDP, consume 60 percent of world’s energy and cause three quarters of carbon emissions, making achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) inconceivable without a transformative plan for cities.

The conference symbolically began with the Children’s and Youth Assembly to pay tribute to the role young people play in realizing the vision of the New Urban Agenda. The official draft document mentions the word “inclusive” 36 times but regardless of how many times the text emphasizes the important intention to build inclusive cities, what matters is whether it will make a real difference for inhabitants of cities.

To create communities that offer hope instead of desperation, cities must promote a sense of belonging and cross-generational collaboration every step of the way, and most importantly, treat young people as equal and capable partners. If local authorities harness the qualities of youth and work closely with them to plan, design and manage cities, we could see more liveable communities and thereby, a more liveable world.


This article was co-authored by Siamak Sam Loni (@siamak_sam) and Anastasiya Kostomarova (@AnastasiaEugene).

Anastasiya is a Research & Policy Officer at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth and the Co-Manager of the Local Pathways Fellowship, which empowers young people to champion local pathways for sustainable development.

Risk of “outright violence” increasing against LGBT in cities

The risk of “outright violence” against the LGBT community is growing in cities but hopes are high that a newly-adopted agenda for future urban living will create more “safe spaces”.

That’s the view of Cicely-Belle Blain, a Canadian youth worker, who was one of the delegates to the recent Habitat III conference on the future of cities, which took place in Quito, Ecuador.

The New Urban Agenda, adopted at the conference in Ecuador, does not specifically mention lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender issues, although it calls for greater inclusion of minority groups.

Ms Blain told Matthew Wells why her delegation had lobbied for the inclusion of a so-called “queer declaration”.

Listen to Podcast: Duration: 3’26”

Source: United Nations Radio


— by Cicely-Belle Blain,, NOVEMBER 4, 2016

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about the whirlwind experience of being involved in formulating the Queer Declaration, a document aimed at encouraging the United Nations to include LGBTQ/2S-friendly language in the New Urban Agenda at the United Nations Habitat 3 conference. The document was endorsed by many local supporters and eventually garnered international attention, prompting the official Canadian Delegation to the Habitat 3 conference to support and adopt it, mirroring Canada’s history of progressive LGBTQ/2S* inclusion.

The best part about all of this for me? I got to go to Quito, Ecuador to lobby for the Queer Declaration and advocate for the safety, well-being and happiness of queer and trans youth in cities. The theme of the conference was No One Left Behind, and so I made sure this statement extended to LGBTQ/2S communities. I’m now sitting in Houston airport after the first leg of my twenty-one hour journey home to Vancouver and I’m excited to reflect on my experience.

Quito, 2,500 metres above sea level, took my breath away… literally. With the help of altitude acclimatization medication, I quickly became accustomed to the reduced oxygen levels, which was fortunate because I needed every breath I had to make space for LGBTQ/2S voices in a conference of 50,000 attendees.

image2Caption: the city of Quito

The Habitat 3 conference was preceded by YouthHAB, a youth-led and -oriented mini conference to engage local Ecuadorian youth as well as international guests in the conceptualization of the New Urban Agenda. Along with Ellen Woodsworth (the mastermind behind the Queer Declaration), Joy Masuhara (one of the advocates in the successful battle for same-sex marriage in Canada 10 years ago) and Danilo Manzano (a local Ecuadorian LGBTQ activist), I presented at an event entitled “LGBTI* and Cities: A Youth Declaration for Habitat lll”. We each shared our personal experiences as queer people and reflected on how the work we are doing represents small steps towards safety and inclusion of LGBTQ/2S communities in urban environments.

20161015_131324-1024x576Caption: the presenters at YouthHAB; Danilo Manzano, our translator Andrea and a friend, Joy Masuhara, Cicely-Belle Blain, Ellen Woodsworth and Andrew Robert Martin of SCARP UBC.

Representing Canada on an international stage presented challenges I hadn’t prepared for. It was a complicated experience to present Canada as wholly progressive and inclusive because I wanted to steer away from the narrative of ‘perfect and peaceful’ Canada and recognize the ongoing discrimination, violence and settler colonialism that still occurs within our borders. I wanted to explain the nuances of living as a queer, Black, non-binary person in this country, especially considering the lack of PoC, queer and Indigenous representation within the delegation chosen to represent Canada in Quito. However, it was still important to recognize the privileges that I experience, especially in comparison to countries where homosexuality is still criminalized and punishable by life imprisonment and even death. From this lens, Canada stands out as beacon of safety for LGBTQ/2S folks so juggling this dynamic was complicated.     

image3Caption: Canadian delegation memorabilia and some members of the 163-delegate strong Canadian team.

Ultimately, I was really proud to share the work that QMUNITY does and particularly our Youth Program. I felt excited that I was able to use our organization as an example of community work done well and provide testimonies from clients and community members who have been impacted by the work that we do. It was great to see many people feel inspired by our organization and ask for advice on providing similar resources to youth in their cities. I practically ran out of business cards!

I reminded people that no country is perfect, and still many LGBTQ/2S communities within Canada, especially youth, people of colour and trans folks, are isolated and at risk. However, it was an important responsibility to share with Ecuadorian youth, and later with UN officials and foreign ministers, some of the ways in which cities can strive to be more inclusive and accessible.

The following day was filled with further excitement. I was invited by the United Nations Association of Canada to meet the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Head of the Canadian Delegation and the Minister for Children, Youth and Social Development and Marianick Tremblay, the Canadian Ambassador to Ecuador at the Canadian Embassy. The youth of the Canadian Delegation had an opportunity to share their thoughts on how the Canadian government can better address the needs and opinions of young people.

pasted-image-0-3-1024x559 Caption: the youth delegation after a round table with Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Marianick Tremblay, the Canadian Ambassador in Quito.

I took this opportunity to share the Queer Declaration with the Minister and the group. I was excited to hear that the Minister and his committee, on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, had advocated for LGBTQ/2S inclusive language within the United Nations in the lead up to this conference. Other countries such as the USA and Mexico as well as the European Union had also shown support but unfortunately, several countries with notoriously homophobic policies had shut down the idea in favour of “family values”. The rhetoric that queer and trans inclusions means an undoing of families is sad and completely unfounded, but unfortunately very prevalent, I learned. Seventeen countries including Belarus, Russia, Nigeria and Qatar were fierce opponents of our Queer Declaration and argued that the UN needed to support “mainstream” families.

In order for an amendment or declaration to be agreed upon within the United Nations, there must be no objections to the proposal, Jaques Paquette, Deputy Minister to Jean-Yves Duclos told me. However, on Tuesday, my trip culminated with an incredible event led by the Canadian minister and the head of the United States delegation, Julian Castro. Local Ecuadorian activists Danilo Manzano and Sandra Alvarez Monsalve presented very moving and personal experiences:

Danilo brought many audience members to tears as he said, “every day I dream of being a dad, but I can’t, because in Ecuador, gay people can’t marry or have children”.

image4Caption: Cicely-Belle with Minister Jean-Yves Duclos after he proclaimed his support for the LGBTQ community and the panel at the Urban Stage: the Ministers from Canada, USA and Mexico, two Ecuadorian LGBTQ/2S activists and the Mayor of Oakland, California.

The experience had many challenges: the altitude, the 50,000 conference attendees (not fun for someone who has anxiety and hates lining up), the scorching sun followed by torrential rain and juggling the responsibilities of promoting the Queer Declaration within a huge global bureaucratic system. While we were not able to change the wording of the New Urban Agenda, we did manage to convince many government officials that the term “inclusion” should explicitly and eternally support and care for LGBTQ/2S communities. Many of them took this message to heart.

We were able to provide tangible solutions to the ongoing problems of discrimination and isolation of queer and trans communities such as creating specific and well-supported spaces for LGBTQ/2S youth to socialize and get support, having accessible gender-neutral washrooms in publics spaces, putting effort and funding into the sexual, mental and physical health of these people and unashamedly celebrating these communities as government officials (like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marching in pride parades across Canada). The United Nations is now moving towards urging all countries to decriminalize homosexuality.

Habitat 4 will take place 20 years from now, and I am confident that by then, queer and trans youth in cities across the world will have access to a ‘Q’munity.

I would like to thank Douglas Ragan and the Urban Economy Branch of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme for making it possible for to me to make QMUNITY’s work international. With their support I was able to go to Quito and they were instrumental in giving me a platform to promote the Queer Declaration by arranging for me to speak at several events. I am also grateful to Ellen Woodsworth for her passion and determination to see the Queer Declaration through. Finally, I am thankful to my friend Urooba Jamal for hosting me and beautifully summarizing the events through her work as a journalist for teleSUR English. To QMUNITY, I am always grateful and fortunate to be doing this work with you.

*LGBTQ/2S is the language used by QMUNITY to reflect the diversity of our community and be inclusive of Two-Spirit communities, a term specific to Indigenous people of Turtle Island. LGBTI is the official language the United Nations uses, hence the disparity in this blog post.

Historical first – Children propose solutions for inclusive and smart cities at Children & Youth Assembly, Habitat III

“We are a technology savvy generation and we can be a powerful resource to city authorities. We have skills and information that can support efficiency and sustainability in the city,” stated 15-year-old representative from World Vision’s Mexico program.

Over 100 children and adolescents from Ecuador, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, India and Indonesia; from local, regional and global child and youth serving agencies gathered at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador to identify issues, priorities and recommendations for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. As a historical first, children and adolescent voices were included in the Habitat III process starting with the launch of the Children and Youth Assembly on 15th October during the conference. The Assembly aimed to provide a formal platform for our current citizens and future leaders to propose solutions that can contribute to smart and inclusive cities for children that are just, safe, healthy and prosperous; that leave no one behind.

Several activities were organized during the day for children and adolescents to express their views on issues surrounding their rights to healthy and safe public spaces, access to quality education and health services, and protection from violence and their right to genuine participation mechanisms in city planning and budgeting processes.

Among the activities of the day, a training session ‘Map my city’ was organized to discuss the use of technology for improved understanding of city issues by children and youth (aged 14-16) participating in the Assembly. The training session delivered by Spatial Collective presented a case study of mapping by youth in one of the largest slums of Nairobi, Kibera. Children and youth saw how technology can fill in the gaps in information and secondary data used by city authorities. They learned about the technologies available to capture primary data that could become a resource for governments and influence planning and budgeting.

“The collection of primary data is fundamental to addressing urban dynamism and changing context. Information collected on a regular basis could transform the perception of communities about their well-being and predict issues that could be affecting them in the short and long term. This information once collected on a regular basis is a powerful tool for advocacy by young people to propose solutions for services and equity, said Doug Ragan, Chief of Youth Unit, UN-Habitat. Spatial Collective then presented an example of the application of mapping software from Pitney Bowes, a software company that leads in location and Spatial intelligence, provided visuals that are interactive maps that capture data on a real time basis.
Children and adolescents from cities of El Salvador, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, India and Indonesia enthusiastically explained the issues in their respective cities, the realities of their contexts, the communities and informal settlements that remain invisible to local government, the issue of informal authorities such as gangs that make rules; waste, lack of playgrounds, green and walkable spaces. They were keen to explore these technologies in their cities.

There was consensus in the room that the government bodies responsible for data collection are often poorly resourced, with inconsistent data collection approaches. On the other hand, data collection and input by communities themselves can generate rich and useful information that complements conventional data collection methods and address such knowledge gaps. This is especially true for children and youth being a technology-savvy young generation. Young people said they are eager to contribute to well- being, equity and prosperity in the city. They can be are a key resource and agent of change to drive positive transformation in the city and a critical resource in creating smarter communities and shaping an inclusive and sustainable future.  Spatial Collective representatives explained how “you can turn a mobile phone into a very effective data collection tool that helps produce maps of issues in a city”. “Through mapping technology we can bring children and youth like you to the same table with governments”.

With the problem of data on children’s well-being and extreme poverty experienced in urban slum communities being obscured by the relative affluence of their neighboring communities, locally generated information that can benefit key decision makers within local and municipal governments to inform the direction of policies, programmes and resources is a critical need. For cities to be inclusive and smart, all urban dwellers, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised, must be able to participate in and interact with data collection and analysis that contribute to cities that are people-centred and reflect the collective intelligence of its communities.

The “Map my City” session highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships and a multi-disciplinary approach to urban solutions applying the principle of complementarity to promote the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. It is increasingly evident that no single actor can unilaterally achieve the type of large-scale transformational change necessary to create cities where children and youth thrive. Technology is critical to transform cities to smart and efficient hubs and the business sector who have the expertise, resources, power, technology, knowledge, influence and innovation need to come on board for sustainable cities of the future.

About the Author


Joyati Das is the Senior Director for Urban Programs at World Vision International. In 2008, Joyati designed and launched the organisation’s Urban Programs Initiative, a multi-country action research initiative across select World Vision field offices which resulted in World Vision’s flagship urban report, Making sense of the city, 2016. Its success has led to the scaling up of World Vision’s Global Urban Program that continues to develop measurable, scalable and effective interventions that are locally led, respond to urban dynamism and provide evidence to strengthen global policies and frameworks.

With Masters in Sociology and Communications, Joyati brings 25 years of experience in diverse sectors including corporate, government and non-government organizations. She has contributed to several media and journal articles highlighting issues of vulnerabilities and children’s rights in the city. Joyati represents World Vision International as Co-Chair of the Children and Youth Constituent Group for the General Assembly of Partners, for Habitat III. She is also on the advisory board of the UN Global Cities Institute, and an elected standing committee member of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign.

Indigenous Peoples and the City

— by Mindahi Bastida

Habitat III in Quito 2016 is a wonderful opportunity to participate in an inclusive process where all voices are to be heard and taken into account for international policy regarding urban development for present and future generations and livelihoods.

YouthHAB UN has been a key initiative where indigenous inclusion has become a reality. The Indigenous and the City Declaration was the result of a process of three amazing meetings carried out between April and October 2016. The three of them were organized by Youth Habitat-UN Unit and indigenous organizations together. The first “Indigenous cities” event took place in Toluca, Mexico within the Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Meeting on Housing and Urban Sustainable Development Habitat III, on April 19, 2016. Many indigenous youth participated and the Consejo de la Nación Otomí was the co-organizer.


The second one took place in New York within the 15 UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on May 13, 2016. Here also young people from around the world, who were participating in the Permanent Forum, shared their ideas, experiences, and recommendations. The co-organizer organizations were the Otomi Regional Council of Alto Lerma and the Center for Earth Ethics.


The third event took place in the beautiful Kichua city of Otavalo in the Otavalango Museum, on October 11 and 12, 2016. The presence of many youth from indigenous peoples’ communities from different countries from Latin America gave to the event not only an intercultural taste but a high quality of participations.

The final Indigenous and the City Declaration was presented on October 13, 2016, by the Otomi Mindahi Bastida, the Kichua Luzmila Zambrano and the Mapuche Cecilia González in the Escuela Politécnica Nacional in Quito in the Habitat III context and also in the Habitat III Conference.


The main recommendations are that indigenous peoples have the right to the city and also the right to self-determination and that Habitat III final declaration must acknowledge indigenous peoples’ collective rights and the rights of Mother Earth.

Ambulant Tactical Urban Planning Labs: Making city

Within the frame of the Habitat III Conference, which is scheduled for this week in Quito, it is important to mention all the activities, ideas and alternative proposals that are emerging in the city. Ambulant Tactical Urban Planning Labs (LIUTS – in Spanish), is a workshop put forward by two neighbourhoods in Quito, Santa Clara and Pisulí, over three days in August this year. Organized under the umbrella of the YoutHab Conference, which represents a platform for youth to exchange ideas and discuss their rights in relation to the city. These workshops are an example of the positive initiatives being brought forward by young Ecuadorians.

The workshops were designed as an urban experiment, which sought to involve different actors in the city, such as public institutions, the community and architecture students. Two locations were selected: Santa Clara neighbourhood, which represents an emblematic area of Quito and which faces the principles problems of a lack of urban furniture; poor urban aesthetics; and few pedestrian friendly spaces. In parallel, another location with different characteristics was selected: Pisulí neighbourhood. Here, insecurity, lack of public space and minimal support from public bodies, has generated strong social cohesion among inhabitants, who manage all changes in public spaces within the neighbourhood. To universities are involved in the urban experiment: the Central University of Ecuador -the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism-; and the University of the Americas -the Faculty of Architecture and Design- with the objective that students propose urban strategies at the neighbourhood scale. Some 120 proposals were presented for the two neighbourhoods, of which 57 proposals were selected, the students socialised and verified the viability of the projects.

During weeks prior to workshops, the students and professors conducted socialization and modifications to proposals based participatory processes with the community and the available materials. For example, in the case of Pisulí, the “Café de Barrio”, which aimed to encourage and share with residents the community participation within urban processes and sustainable mobility. In addition, during this period other entities were involved such as TECHO ECUADOR supported by volunteers for the workshop days in Pisulí.

During workshop proposals were developed. In the case of Pisulí, with the community improvements to the main street to public spaces and urban furniture with car tires collected by residents, were agreed. In the case of Santa Clara, students from the Central University represent the majority of the community that live in the neighbourhood. They made changes in urban aesthetics: messages against pedestrian harassment and the installation of urban furniture in the central square. During the workshops delegates from the United Nations attended the implementation of the proposals.

The workshops included the first urban experiment of this type by the organizers. Its main objective sought to generate the appropriation of public space by the community. To understand that we live in a community in our city and that small interventions can be the first step to great changes, has already been realised by participants. In addition, for students, this represented an opportunity to leave the academic framework and interact with the users of urban spaces, with a minimum budget and manage their projects, this represented their first professional experience. Beyond all acquired knowledge, the reality of sharing thoughts with people from different social strata, opens our consciousness to understand our duty to interaction in the city; which at the same time, can go hand in hand with the helping communities lacking essential urban infrastructure.

María Amanda Padilla R.

Instagram: amandamaria82

Twitter: @YoutHABconf

Super Urbana, Young Journalism for Habitat III!

— By Alice Junqueira

A lot of people around the world don’t know the international agendas and don’t follow the discussions on the commitments signed by our governments within the United Nations (UN). To help change that a very different coverage of Habitat III was prepared! 

We are talking about the Super Urbana project! This is a journalistic coverage, with a youth lens, that started during the YoutHab –the youth pre-conference for Habitat III– and is now checking out all Habitat III’s activities and exploring the landscape of people’s connections with the official programme.

Why are we doing it? Usually, the coverage of international conferences remains very technical and lacks alternative languages to approache and engage population in general, in particular youth.

superurbana3Also, if we believe that information should be plural and democratic, youth must be represented, in both information sharing and in the media!

Who is Super Urbana? Super Urbana [Super Urban] is a young super heroine who will be interviewing people and checking in with all the discussions of Habitat III, in particular it will focus on three essential challenges that we need to face in our cities and that young people are concerned with: the non-realization of the right to the city; gender racial and ethnic inequality; and climate change!

superurbana1The urban world is in need of super heroines and super heroes and these super heroes and super heroines are all of us! This is the call to action of Super Urbana.

The coverage is a youth – led iniative co-realized by the Youth and Land Project and the Brazilian Collective Clímax Brazil. Check out the videos at:



Alcalde Rodas asistió al conversatorio de jóvenes ‘YoutHab’ para Habitat III

En horas de la mañana de este 13 de octubre, el Alcalde de Quito Mauricio Rodas formó parte del conversatorio denominado YoutHab promovido por grupos, universidades y varios colectivos de jóvenes, dentro de la agenda del evento internacional Habitat III. Se desarrolló en las instalaciones de la Escuela Politécnica Nacional.

Este evento contó con la presencia de Christian López, de CLIL/YoutHab, Douglas Reagan de UN-Habitat III; Anja Minnaert de FES-ILDIS, Ana Cristina Benalcázar, de CLICL/YoutHab; Roberto Madera de CLICL/YoutHab y decenas de jóvenes que se dieron cita para participar activamente en este conversatorio.

El Alcalde de Quito Mauricio Rodas felicitó a los jóvenes por esta iniciativa de YoutHab y dijo que es una oportunidad para incorporar la activa participación de la juventud a fin que sus ideas puedan ser tomadas en cuenta en los debates que se  van a generar como un aporte de este sector poblacional para la aplicación de la nueva Agenda Urbana que se aprobará en Quito durante Habitat III.

santa-clara“Sin duda mientras más voces y más participación tengamos en esos debates contaremos con mejores elementos para construir una ciudad más democrática, más  respetuosa de los derechos humanos, una ciudad que ofrezca servicios públicos de calidad, una ciudad en la que todos podamos apropiarnos de los espacios en virtud de contar con infraestructura de primer nivel, que impulse el desarrollo económico y la inclusión social bajo un claro enfoque de respeto al medio ambiente, a los recursos naturales”, refirió el Alcalde Rodas.

Recalcó que todos estos temas son fundamentales y el aporte de los jóvenes con sus ideas va a enriquecer tremendamente la discusión en temas tan importantes.


El alcalde Rodas ratificó una vez más que durante dos años la Municipalidad de Quito se ha preparado para Habitat III y que la cuidad está lista, será una oportunidad muy importantes para mostrarnos como una urbe con extraordinarios atractivos turísticos, como una ciudad con una población que recibe a sus visitantes con corazón abierto, con calidez, con la amabilidad que siempre ha caracterizado a los quiteños.

También será la ocasión para que la capital presente su visión en materia de desarrollo urbano sostenible, de una ciudad que permanentemente trabaja para el mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de sus ciudadanos, con esquemas de movilidad sostenible, de protección a los recursos naturales, con mecanismos de impulso al desarrollo económico bajo un profundo enfoque de inclusión social, que se respeten las libertades, los derechos humanos de todas las personas. Una ciudad que promueve la diversidad cultural.

“En breves palabras esa es la visión que Quito va a promover hacia el 2040”, dijo el Alcalde Mauricio Rodas, quien aprovechó para extender la más cordial invitación para que todos disfruten también de la amplia agenda cultural prepara por la Alcaldía de Quito en el marco de Habitat III la misma que incluye la Fiesta de la Luz y una amplia gama de eventos totalmente gratuitos.

“Que esta sea una fiesta para todos los quiteños, que la disfruten con sus familias en las diferentes plazas del Centro Histórico”, señaló el Alcalde capitalino Mauricio Rodas.

Mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rhodes attends ‘YoutHab’ conference for Habitat III

In the morning of the 13th October, the Mayor of Quito Mauricio Rodas was part of the YoutHab conferences sponsored by groups, universities and several groups of young people, within the agenda of Habitat III. The conference was held at the National Polytechnic School.

This event was attended by Christian Lopez, CLIL/ YoutHab; Douglas Reagan UN-Habitat; Anja Minnaert FES-ILDIS; Ana Cristina Benalcázar of CLICL / YoutHab; Robert Wood CLICL / YoutHab and young people gathered to actively participate in this discussion group.

Mayor Rodas congratulated the youth for this initiative YoutHab and said it is an opportunity to incorporate the active participation of youth so that their ideas can be taken into account in the discussions that will be generated as a contribution this population sector for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda to be adopted in Quito for Habitat III.

“Certainly the more voices and more participation we have in these discussions we will have better elements to build a more respectful of human rights, a city that offers quality public services, a more democratic city where everyone can access spaces,  have first class infrastructure, booming economic development and social inclusion under a clear focus on respect for the environment, natural resources “, said Mayor Rhodes.

He stressed that all these issues are fundamental and the contribution of young people with their ideas will enrich the discussion tremendously important issues.

Mayor Rhodes confirmed once again that for two years the Municipality of Quito has been prepared for Habitat III and that the city is ready, it will be a very important opportunity to showcase the city through its extraordinary attractions include a city with a population welcomes visitors with open heart, with warmth, with the kindness that has always characterized the Quiteños.

It will also be the occasion for the capital present their vision on sustainable urban development, a city that constantly works to improve the quality of life of its citizens, with projects on sustainable mobility, protection of natural resources, mechanisms promoting economic development with a deep focus on social inclusion, and a city where freedoms are respected and the human rights of all people. And lastly a city that promotes cultural diversity.

“In short this is the vision that Quito will promote by 2040,” said Mayor Rodas, who took the opportunity to extend a warm invitation to all also enjoy the wide cultural agenda prepared by the Municipality of Quito in Habitat III framework thereof including the Festival of Lights and a wide range of fully free events.

“Let this be a party for all Quiteños, who can enjoy the event with their families in different places of the Historic Center,” said City Mayor Mauricio Rodas.