The Urban LAB is an initiative from UN-Habitat to respond to the growing demand from cities to find transformative solutions to complex urban challenges. It drives innovative ideas, processes and partnerships to steer tangible and transformative urban solutions that contribute to sustainable urbanization, the achievement of the SDGs and the implementation of the NUA.
Established as an integrative facility, the LAB facilitates collaboration between a multidisciplinary set of partners, stakeholders and experts. It thereby integrates the necessary expertise to develop tangible, catalytic and transformative solutions to complex urban challenges in developed, developing and emerging countries. As an innovation LAB grounded in UN values, it supports cities and Member States to find new pathways for sustainable urbanization.
Taking a holistic and integrative approach, the LAB focuses on a diverse range of topics and themes including the identification of responses to rapid urbanization, urban renewal, urban extension; supporting cities to effectively integrate new technologies and innovation; developing guidelines for strategic planning; addressing the spatial dimension of climate change and resilience; and contributing to embedding the urban and development perspective within the humanitarian and urban crises field.
"Not only are we proud of the content and outcome of the Spatial Development Framework, but also of the process through which it was developed. UN Habitat was a key partner that assisted us greatly in all aspects of preparing the plan, from the broad and through public
participation process, to analyzing the city, conceptualizing the plan and drafting and finalising the document. We also received the National Planning Award 2016 for a municipal plan from the South African Planning Institute for the Spatial Development Framework."
Trevor Fowler, City Manager, Johannesburg
Related Sustainable Development Goals
Donors and partners
The LAB develops tailored partnerships for the definition and implementation of multi-scalar projects and programmes. Through participatory approaches, the LAB facilitates integration across institutional departments, different levels of government and civil society. The LAB connects governments with a diverse range of partners relevant to the different phases of the project cycle to develop tangible, realistic and impactful projects and programmes. By linking multilateral banks and financiers to transformative and feasible projects, financing mechanisms are identified that support implementation. The active building of partnerships between different experts, professionals, knowledge and academic partners, allows the LAB to provide suitable, evidence-based technical assistance and support to governments.