Buenos Aires to host second Future of Places conference
Nairobi, 12 June 2014: The second Future of Places conference, organised by UN-Habitat, the Project for Public Spaces and the Ax:son Johnson Foundation, will take place 1-3 September 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, it has been announced.This is the second in a series of conferences organized to annually, in the run up to the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III – in 2016, which explores the importance of planning, design, and management of public space in addition to access.The theme of the conference is “Streets as Public Spaces and Drivers of Urban Prosperity”, also the topic of a recently published UN-Habitat report, of the same name.The conference will reflect the importance of street design in enabling or hindering the well-being of urban dwellers. Streets serve a broader function than the movement of people from one location to another; together with their adjacent spaces they form a network connecting the city, influencing or limiting, environmental, social and economic development. This topic takes on special urgency in light of the growing challenges that cities face all over the world, in particular rapid urbanisation.Speaking on the topic, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr Joan Clos, said: “We believe that public spaces and the understanding of ‘placemaking’ have to be closely related to physical setting; that is the physical characteristic of space and the urban fabric that permeates these places. Good urban design is essential for enabling a social setting that will work for all a city’s residents.”The Future of Places conference series started in Stockholm in 2013 and aims to put people at the centre of public space design in the discussions leading up to Habitat III. Citizens from over 50 nations attended the first conference; the hope is that they will be able to influence their national representatives attending Habitat III through their National Habitat Committees, and ensure that public space plays a fundamental role in the development of the new urban agenda.The third conference will be organized in June 2015 in Stockholm producing the policy guidelines needed to influence the new urban agenda at Habitat III in 2016. To read more about the conference series, visit www.futureofplaces.com .