With the recent launch of the Habitat UNI network webpage, UN-Habitat has reinvigorated its main mechanism for partnerships with the global academia and researchers. Adding to a count of six currently established and operational thematic hubs, the initiative will see the creation of three new hubs.

UN-Habitat hubs are consortiums of universities that agree to work on the same thematic priority under the principles of mutual collaboration, exchange and learning, producing educational and research outputs that strengthen the role of universities in sustainable urban development and their partnership with UN-Habitat.

Safer Cities Hub

The first, the Safer Cities Hub, led by the University College London, will provide a platform for exchange and cross-institutional integration for academics studying the phenomena of safety and violence in cities, investigating and proposing appropriate processes of engagement for academics and professionals to improve safety in cities and anticipate crime, ultimately seeking to build a confluence of knowledge and practice between the mainstay focus on prevention of urban crime, urban crime trends and responses with inter-related and often overlapping areas of safety including the prevention of urban violence, urban conflict and peace-building.

Urban Regeneration Hub

The second, the Urban Regeneration Hub, led by the University of Naples Federico II, will work to develop creative approaches, tools and solutions for planning, designing and implementing "regenerative strategies" of port cities - centers of economic activity, innovation, social exchange, built and cultural heritage, and environmental sensitivity.

Urban Form Hub

The third, the Urban Form Hub, led by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, will drive morphological and typological studies of existing and new urban environments and patterns. The partnerships are open, inviting all levels of academia to engage.

UNI (previously HPUI – Habitat Partner University Initiative) was introduced as a means of promoting cooperation between UN-Habitat and institutions of higher education, as well as facilitating exchange and cooperation among universities globally.

UNI promotes universities becoming closer partners of cities, actively engaged in problem solving, thus closing the gap between academia and practice and encouraging collaborative learning (see the UNI Charter for further information on the operation and focus of UNI).

Visit our website in order to find out more on the work of UNI and how to become a member. And, in case you haven’t yet, take a look at the Global Urban Lectures Series - 15 min video lectures by internationally renowned academics, urban professionals and urban actors associated with the work of UN-Habitat. The Global Urban Lectures are freely available here.