31 October is World Cities Day, designated as such by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2013. This year, the global organisation has chosen the theme “Better City, Better Life: Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities”, in efforts to raise awareness of the challenges facing our urban areas due to the effects of climate change, poverty and economic development.
Against the backdrop of this debate, the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture has organised, for the end of the year, an international academic forum in which experts from various fields are invited to discuss the policies being developed across the globe to make cities more sustainable, secure and resilient. This is the 11th edition of the annual conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU), organised in cooperation with UN-Habitat and the Urban Resilience Research Network (URNet).
According to organising committee members Carmen Mendoza Arroyo, Lorenzo Chelleri and Raquel Colacios, “Unfortunately, many of the initiatives currently under way in the field of urban resilience fail to integrate the local communities or include sustainability targets in their strategies. The need for a more integrated, inclusive approach to the design and management of resilient cities will be the main theme of our conference in December”.
The event will bring to UIC Barcelona scholars from a host of different disciplines to discuss the most relevant research challenges relating to the implementation of urban resilience policies. These include Timon McPhearson, director of the Urban Systems Lab at the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School in New York and a regular contributor to the scientific journal Nature; Adriana Allen, professor in the Bartlett Development Planning Unit at University College London; and Chris Zevenbergen, professor in the Water Engineering Department of the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands and one of the world’s leading experts in urban flood management.
The 11th edition of the IFoU, which UIC Barcelona will host at the end of the year, is an activity organised as part of Barcelona Resilience Days, an initiative of UN-Habitat which, between October and December, aims to raise awareness of the concept of urban resilience and encompasses World Cities Day and Barcelona Resilience Week.