Our Added Value

UN-Habitat is the UN Secretariat mandated to support on the delivery of SDG Goal 11 – “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

We provide a unique integrated and inclusive approach that, reflecting the UN system, is underpinned by a human rights-based approach.

Research shows that urban centres that undertake inclusive approaches for shared prosperity are more likely to deliver the necessary sustainable urbanization required for SDG Goal 11.

We provide a fit-for-purpose planning approach that integrates design, regulation and financial dimensions and engages all key stakeholders to ensure relevance, ownership and effectiveness.

This approach requires all levels of government – from local to national governments – as well as other key stakeholders, including local communities, to invest in urban planning and design and, in the spirit of the New Urban Agenda. It requires a trans-disciplinary and multi-pronged approach by working in partnership with a range of stakeholders and organizations. UN-Habitat’s highly qualified technical teams work alongside partners and help foster new partnerships to ensure sustainable urban planning goals are delivered.

Our Urban Planning and Design Policy Guidance, Tools and Programmes:

UN-Habitat has a diversity of normative policy guidelines, tools and specific programmes that promote integrated and inclusive urban planning and design.

Key Programmes:

UN-Habitat LAB

UN-Habitat’s Urban LAB acts as the integrative facility of the Agency in which spatial planning is used as the tool coordinating economic, legal, social and environmental aspects of urban development. The LAB develops citywide strategies, planned city extensions (and new towns), and planning guidelines. It focuses on capacity development, urban infill, densification and renewal and climate change.

Global Public Space Programme

Our Global Public Space Programme works to achieve Target 7 of Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] 11 by committing to, “by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible and green public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.”

It does this by promoting public space as an important element for creating sustainable cities, consolidating knowledge on public space for local government partners, engaging a broader network of partners and public space practitioners, and demonstrating the importance of public space in achieving social, economic and environmental benefits to cities through pilot projects and city partnerships. The programme focuses on providing public space assessments, collaborating with civil society and partners, conducting public space upgrading projects, developing technology for public space creation and developing frameworks for strategies and implementation policies for public space.

Integrated Projects Programme

Beginning with local projects in Kenya, our Programme has over the years developed a growing portfolio to support planning and development of human settlement projects in various conditions including humanitarian set-ups globally. These projects focus on “Leaving No One Behind”, aligning to the NUA and Agenda 2030, emphasizing on the integration of various aspects such as inclusivity in communities, cross sectoral programming, focusing on coordinated approaches. The team works in partnerships with other branches, regional and country offices to support planning, urban development, and institutional and local capacity building. The programme has also worked in collaboration with other UN, international agencies, and non-traditional partners (i.e. private sectors) to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus as well as to ensure sustainable urbanization locally.

The programme focuses on deploying a wide range of spatial assessment tools and participatory methodologies for planning and design to bring together diverse actors, leading technical expertise aligning to national and local response, project implementation, spatial planning frameworks, investments and technology development, institutional building, knowledge management and community integration.

Urban Planning Knowledge and Guidance

UN-Habitat provides a range of policies, tools and frameworks to support stakeholders in their quest to strengthen their inclusive urban planning approaches.

Policy Guidance:

We have a series of policy guidance notes and detailed, evidence-based documents to guide stakeholders in their effort to engage with sustainable urban planning.

Legal and Regulatory Frameworks:

Tools and Methods:

Our tools and methodologies are used throughout the Agency to promote inclusive, integrated urban planning and design.