HABITAT III Thematic Meeting: Public Spaces

25/02/2016

+ info: UN Habitat

Accelerated urbanization was a defining characteristic for human settlements during the previous century, with urbanization projected to continue increasing during the first half of the current century. Today, approximately 55% of the global population is urban (4.7 billion individuals), and future projections estimate this will reach 66% by 2050 (6.3 billion out of 9.6 billion), thus adapting and improving how cities are shared will undoubtedly be a critical need in the coming years and decades.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs were adopted in September 2015, with a specific goal to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, and this includes sub target 11.7 indicating that “by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities”. Public and shared spaces are emphasized because they are integral to any urban development process that aims to be inclusive, equitable and sustainable.

Public spaces are all publicly owned places, or privately owned but designated for public use, and are accessible and enjoyed by all citizens for free. The character of a city is defined by its streets and public infrastructure, which is visible in many different urban typologies including, squares and boulevards, neighborhood gardens, parks, libraries, etc.