Development & Aid, Global, Global Geopolitics, Headlines

HABITAT: Wanted – 500 Best Efforts to Improve Big City Living

Kunda Dixit

DUBAI, Nov 25 1995 (IPS) - An international conference on housing and human settlements that ended here this week officially launched a worldwide search for 500 best efforts to improve urban living conditions as a way to curb the environmental and social degradation of the world’s cities.

The Nairobi-based U.N. Centre for Human Settlements (HABITAT- UNCHS) calls it the Best Practices Initiative, and will give the awards to the winning candidates at a big conference in Istanbul next year – The City Summit.

“The Best Practices Initiative will create a global network that will work by setting an example. I have not seen a better idea, a more concrete outcome of the birth of this new culture of sharing,” says Waly N’Dow, who heads HABITAT.

The Dubai meeting was attended by 600 municipalities, mayors, national government officials, urban experts and non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), and adopted the Dubai Declaration which set out the guidelines and criteria to search for best practices.

Delegates in Dubai got a preview of some 28 exemplary initiatives undertaken by municipalities, local governments and activists to better living conditions for city and town dwellers.

Some examples: how Hong Kong has managed to provide low-cost housing for millions of its citizens, how the city of Cebu in the Philippines is bringing better health care and education to slum dwellers, or how Gothenburg in Sweden has controlled industrial pollution.

The HABITAT office has already received 300 entries from 86 cities around the world for the contest, and expects at least a thousand more in the next few months.

An independent technical committee will pick 500 of the best entries and short list 100 for the Best Practices List. The other 400 will get honourable mention as “good practices”. And from among these, the Top Ten most outstanding efforts to make cities more liveable will be selected.

As a parallel initiative, HABITAT has also started work with a New York-based voluntary group on a five-year plan to build up a database of best practices for easy reference by the INTERNET or CD ROM.

“The Best Practices Award is basically recognition of a job well done, but the more important long-term process is the database which will give a chance for other cities around the world to learn from the experience of others,” says Nicholas You of HABITAT who is helping with preparations for the Istanbul meeting.

 
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Development & Aid, Global, Global Geopolitics, Headlines

HABITAT: Wanted – 500 Best Efforts to Improve Big City Living

Kunda Dixit

DUBAI, Nov 25 1995 (IPS) - An international conference on housing and human settlements that ended here this week officially launched a worldwide search for 500 best efforts to improve urban living conditions as a way to curb the environmental and social degradation of the world’s cities.
(more…)

 
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