Between 29 June 2015 and 20 February 2016, 26 Urban Thinkers Campuses took place all over the world, involving more than 7700 participants from 113 countries representing more than 1600 organizations (figures to be confirmed) in an unprecedented consensus-building process.

The UTC model is unique initiative developed by UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign (WUC) to solicit input to The City We Need (TCWN) 2.0 involving 14 constituent groups: 

  1. Local and sub-national authorities
  2. Research and Academia
  3. Civil Society Organizations
  4. Grassroots organizations
  5. Women
  6. Parliamentarians
  7. Children and Youth
  8. Business and Industries
  9. Foundations and Philanthropies
  10. Professionals
  11. Trade Unions and Workers
  12. Farmers
  13. Indigenous people
  14. Media

The Urban Thinkers Campus model was in 2014 conceived as an open space for critical exchange between urban actors who believe that urbanization is an opportunity and can lead to positive urban transformations. It is also intended as a platform to build consensus between partners engaged in addressing urbanization challenges and proposing solutions to urban futures.

The inaugural Urban Thinkers Campus, which took place in October 2014 in Caserta/Italy, was organized on the theme The City We Need, and brought together #UrbanThinkers, established UN-Habitat partner organizations and constituencies to reflect on current urban challenges and trends and to propose a new paradigm. The new paradigm will be a contribution to the New Urban Agenda, the main outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), to be held in Quito/Ecuador in October 2016.

Building on the previous deliberations of the WUC, the inaugural gathered new thinking and strengthened the first campaign position titled The Future We Want – The City We Need that was launched in March 2014 in New York prior to the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum (April 2014, Medellin). Through an inclusive debate and review process driven by partners sessions focused on The City We Need, the Campus in Caserta allowed all participants to express their views. It opened space for debate, learning, consensus building, and drafting between a large number of participants. The meeting outcomes were a second version of key principles of The City We Need, agreed upon in the drafting session of all constituent groups, as well as distinct The City We Need positions from each constituent group.

The Urban Thinkers Campus in Caserta was acknowledged by participants as a model to pursue for further debates in order to bring partners around the table to negotiate principles, policies, and action planning on key issues that need to be addressed at the Habitat III Conference and built up in the New Urban Agenda. Simultaneously, the WUC Steering Committee endorsed the concept of a the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) composed of partner constituent groups representing Major Groups, Habitat Partners and other relevant stakeholders.

At its 11th Meeting in Caserta, the WUC Steering Committee further recommended that other Urban Thinkers Campuses be solicited by the WUC Secretariat in order to amplify the #UrbanThinkers movement towards Habitat III. Those new campuses would allow strengthening The City We Need position of partners further. By holding future Urban Thinkers Campuses, this space could be opened to new regions, partners, and themes in order to facilitate comprehensive and diverse feedback from as many constituent groups and perspectives as possible before Habitat III.

Following three Calls for Proposals to host Urban Thinkers Campuses, a total of 28 UTCs were approved by the WUC Standing Committee and took place between the end of June 2015 up to February 2016. Over time, 2 UTCs were cancelled by the organizing partners, which left the total number at 26.

As decided during the first meeting of the GAP held in Nairobi/Kenya on 13 April 2015 and during the 13th WUC Steering Committee Meeting held on 3 October 2015 in New York City/USA, the outcomes of these 26 Urban Thinkers Campuses are the basis for The City We Need 2.0, the main contribution of the World Urban Campaign to the Habitat III process. For more information on the Urban Thinkers Campuses, please visit:

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