polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

World Urban Forum

by Jordi Sánchez-Cuenca

The World Urban Forum (WUF), organized by UN-HABITAT every two years, is today's premier conference on cities. The fifth session of the WUF this year will take place in Rio de Janeiro, for the first time in Latin America. Before it was Nanjing, Vancouver, Barcelona and Nairobi. The WUF in Nanjing had 8,000 participants.

Participants in the previous World Urban Forum. Source: UN-Habitat

The WUF is THE opportunity for authorities involved in urban development from all countries, professionals, communities, academics, NGOs and the private sector to meet and debate a whole range of issues about cities. The debates are primarily on rapid urbanization linked to burgeoning urban poverty, access of the urban poor to basic facilities such as shelter, clean water and sanitation and to achieve environmentally friendly, sustainable urban growth and development. The main purpose of this event is for UN-HABITAT to get to know from first-hand sources the main concerns, pressing needs, trends, innovations, opportunities that will guide its Governing Council in defining the Habitat Agenda for the coming years. In turn, all participants also get an update on all these issues; it is also an excellent opportunity for networking.

The city where the WUF is taking place this year, Rio de Janeiro, is a perfect set for the event, for the urban challenges that it faces, its history of urbanization, and the privileged natural site where it stands. The event is free, with advance registration the only requirement.