UN-Habitat’s research shows that well-functioning cities have around 50% of the surface area dedicated to public space. Unfortunately, few cities around the world meet this target. Lack of quality public spaces reduces urban quality of life, increasing crime, social tensions, health and congestion. Public space provides leverage to optimize urban performance – build safer and cohesive communities, reduce spatial inequalities, build local economies and bring nature back to the city.
“The capacity building support from UN-Habitat has been incredibly useful and is really shaping the City’s processes of co-designing, building and implementing public open spaces across multiple departments. We are immensely grateful to UN-Habitat for these resources and support.”
Nicolette Pingo, 34, Development Manager, Johannesburg Development Agency
Related Sustainable Development Goals
Donors and partners
As part of our public space work, we work with a wide range of partners – including local and national governments, civil society academia and the private sector. The UN-Habitat public space network includes more than 100 organizations that regularly meet to bring the public agenda forward. Our public space regeneration projects – so far in 35 countries - are usually implemented through a collaboration between UN-Habitat, the local government and a civil society organization, but in some cases also with other UN agencies, for example with UNICEF in Mozambique and with UN Women in Tunisia. Since 2016 we have organized regular meetings of the United Nations Public Space network.