Why Global Public Space Programme?

Public space is crucial for sustainable cities and communities: providing ecosystem services, improving health and wellbeing, ensuring social inclusion and economic exchange. It offers an opportunity to enrich the quality of life of all urban dwellers, leaving no one behind. In collaboration with partners, UN-Habitat demonstrates how to turn public spaces around, transform communities and change mind-sets through innovative community-led approaches and scalable catalytic pilots.

UN-Habitat’s Global Public Space Programme was launched in 2012 with the objective to support local governments in creating and promoting socially inclusive, integrated, connected, environmentally sustainable and safe streets and public spaces, especially for the most vulnerable, promoting a better quality of life for all. The programme has developed an integrated, multi-sectoral and iterative approach to support local governments to create vibrant and inclusive public space networks, long-term urban strategies and national policies, focusing on the most vulnerable groups. Starting from the national and regional scale, the Programme provides technical support and capacity building in public space assessments, policy guides, strategies and design principles, management and maintenance frameworks and using innovative participatory tools. The outcomes of this approach inform city planning frameworks, monitoring of the 2030 New Urban Agenda, SDG 11.7 and thematic aspects such as inequality, prosperity, accessibility, resilience and health.

News and Stories

In 2020, UN-Habitat completed 26 public space interventions that helped
134,847
people access safe and inclusive public space.
Since 2012, over
1.85 million
people enjoy safe access to more than 134 public spaces designed and upgraded through UN-Habitat’s global public space programme in 88 cities.
More than
20,000
people including youth, children, women and girls engaged in the co-design and co-building of their public spaces.

Related Sustainable Development Goals

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SDG 5 logo
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Donors and partners

The success of UN-Habitat’s public space programme is anchored in our wide network of local government, civil society, academia and private sector partners – now numbering more than 100. Our public space regeneration projects are usually completed in collaboration with the local government and a civil society partners. Through placemaking networks, UN-Habitat engages with and supports communities to take action towards reclaiming and transforming their public spaces. Since 2016, we have organized regular meetings of the UN Public Space Network to encourage other UN agencies to take action on public space as a way of achieving sustainable development

Our Experts

Cecilia Andersson
Urban Planning and Design Branch
Urban Practices Branch, Global Solutions Division