F&ES Treks to Quito, Ecuador

During the October fall break, a group of roughly 30 students from three Yale graduate schools (FES, School of Management, and Public Health) traveled to Quito, Ecuador. The majority of these students were FES-ers, who 1) attended the UN Habitat III conference as accredited stakeholders and 2) either presented research related to urban resilience or participated in a consultancy project.

The UN Habitat III conference was a unique occurrence. It is an event that only happens every 20 years, where national and subnational governments gather to discuss urban development. In this past Habitat, the New Urban Agenda was adopted. This is a guidance document that will dictate how urbanization will occur worldwide, and encompasses many areas including but not limited to social inclusion, ending poverty, environmentally sustainable…

Who Owns the ‘Right to the City’? Moving Towards Urban Inclusivity

Henri Lefebvre’s famous idea, Right to the City, has stirred up numerous discussions as preparations for the Habitat III conference is in full swing. Right to the City has been interpreted and used in many different ways, often in the sense of human rights and access to urban resources. In his 1968 book Le Droit à la ville, Lefebvre proposed the novel definition of Right to the City as a “demand…[for] a transformed and renewed access to urban life”. David Harvey, Professor of Anthropology and Geography at

Thinking Beyond the City: Regional Climate Adaptation Planning and Habitat III

Climate change threatens cities worldwide, but urban leaders face a myriad of funding, logistical, and political challenges in trying to reduce the associated risks at the local level. When planning for climate adaptation, or “climate-proofing,” some urban planners and civic leaders are thinking beyond their jurisdiction to develop creative solutions and partnerships at the regional level. From California to Nepal, organizations are demonstrating that taking a collaborative, regional look at climate change adaptation planning can help leverage resources and increase community resilience.

The upcoming UN Habitat conference, Habitat III, in October will be one of the largest gatherings of global urban decision makers to date. It presents an ideal forum for catalyzing new regional climate adaptation planning partnerships already happening across the world.

A Regional Approach…

Habitat III: From Global Conversation to Creative Commitment

Habitat III
Habitat III, a global summit born out of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, is set to take place in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. This round of global gathering is the third in a series that began in 1976 with the goal to reinvigorate a global, political commitment to the sustainable development of rural and urban human settlements. Termed the New Urban Agenda, Habitat III delegates have the auspicious goal of setting a global strategy for the next two decades of urbanization (“New urban agenda”, 2016). On the docket are topics such as poverty, environmental degradation, quality of life, development patterns, and – last but not least – global climate change.

With more than 50 percent of the world’s population…