- UN Global Compact – Cities Programme / RMIT University
The NUA and SDG11 set out clear objectives for city projects to be equitable, sustainable and accountable in intent and outcome. What is now needed are tools, practices and processes that bring this ambition to fruition. When potentially conflicting commercial, public, local and sectoral interests are around the table in cross-sectoral projects, how can we ensure that NUA objectives are maintained?
Typically, the focus is on protecting the interests of minorities. This is a laudable aim, but here we advance an alternative approach. Projects are conceived, developed and designed in the 'normal' way in terms of collaborative planning and traditional cost-benefit tools, but with one key difference; the problems of inequality, climate change, and accountability are placed centre stage and projects are designed and evaluated according to these principles.
Often, projects designed to tackle climate change may unintentionally exacerbate inequality or democratic governance, similarly, those aimed at tackling inequality can undermine attempts to tackle climate change and democratic governance. A rebate scheme designed to encourage low carbon retrofits might inadvertently be designed so that richer, well-educated and linked in households benefit the most, leaving vulnerable households further behind. Similarly, it is now well-established that rising inequality leads to rising consumption and attendant rises in greenhouse gas emissions; unequal societies are less environmentally sustainable, so there is an interdependency between key urban problems and this must be addressed in project design and development.
The NUA risks contributing to the dangers of siloisation caused by focus on one key urban issue at the expense of others. For example, it divides initiatives into 3 separate areas:
• Sustainable urban development for social inclusion and ending poverty
• Sustainable and inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all
• Environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development
We argue that these ambitions must not be split but instead must be combined in order to protect NUA progress. Ethical City projects will show how project co-design can be refined to bring the NUA centre stage and maximise the benefits of cross-sectoral urban projects.
This event is fully booked