In February 2020, one of the most important events for urban planners took place: The 10th World Urban Forum. This year, it was Abu Dhabi’s turn to host the conference with an attendance of about 13,000 international guests and the theme “Cities of Opportunity: Connecting Culture and Innovation”. While one might argue that cities have more pressing issues to tackle these days, such as climate change, inequality, or immigration, there were some interesting lessons to be learned, Laura von Puttkamer reports from Abu Dhabi.
An integral part of urban culture, the form of cities' built environment has considerable impact on the quality of urban life. Elaborating on the case of Khartoum, Sudan, Khalafalla Omer makes a case for a new approach in urban planning policies.
In Halle, a collective of urban planners, teachers, artists, students, and volunteers painted a whole district with street art and graffiti, demonstrating that these techniques can lead to positive social, cultural, and economic impact in shrinking and neglected areas.
Rebuilding cultural sites that were destroyed in armed conflict needs to be an essential part of urban reconstruction policies. However, as Shadia Touqan argues, rebuilding these sites cannot be addressed in isolation from what should be any policy's priority: protecting the lives of the people who live there.
With an ever bigger urban population being affected by both natural hazards and armed conflict, policy makers and practitioners need to develop effective strategies for the reconstruction and recovery of cities. Ahmed Eiweida, Christianna Brotsis, and Yuna Chun argue that it is imperative for such strategies to take culture into account.