The Joslyn Institute has been selected by UN–HABITAT to host the Urban Thinkers Campus on Monday and Tuesday, November 16 and 17, 2015, as part of the World Urban Campaign initiative, The City We Need.
Our conference, The City We Need: The Role and Opportunities in Urban Sustainability for Small and Mid-Size Cities, centers on the understanding that more than 70 percent of the world’s population lives outside urban areas of more than 500,000 residents. While ample attention has been paid to the expected enormous growth of the world’s mega cities and global urbanization, comparatively scant attention has been focused on the enormously relevant small- to medium-sized urban centers during this period of transformative urbanization, as well as on the rural areas that are significant sources for this growth.
These non-urban areas are wellsprings from which we derive myriad resources. From Alaska’s vulnerable commercial and subsistence fishing, to loss of farmland in Nebraska, underutilized farmland in Colombia, and loss of both farming and fishing habitats to pollution in China’s Pearl River delta, it has become abundantly apparent that urbanization is inextricably linked to the health of rural communities and their natural resources.
With local governments leading the vanguard of climate change policy, small- to medium-sized cities are uniquely positioned to explore, promote and exemplify policies supporting sustainable urban-rural interconnections, such as regional food systems and integrated planning, while mitigating the effects of a changing climate.
JISC’s focus will be on the role and opportunities for sustainable planning and policy for small and mid-size cities – from urban centers of fewer than 100,000 people up to 3,000,000, and focus on the rural-urban synergy and necessity of sound natural resource conservation management in a time of unprecedented growth. This campus will address the following City We Need principles: The City We Need has a unique identity and sense of place, and the City We Need is well planned, financed and governed.
The event on November 16 and 17, 2015 will be a forum at the Thompson Alumni Center at UNO, 6705 Dodge Street, with a number of focus groups exploring various aspects of the overall prospectus. Through web-based conferencing with our partners in Alaska, Colombia, Guangzhou, and elsewhere, we will connect our proceedings to urban thinkers and researchers and other participants in synthesizing recommendations and insights for the overall UN–Habitat’s World Urban Campaign initiative.
We have enlisted the help of many partners in this endeavor: CitiScope, Design Intelligence, University of Nebraska College of Journalism, Prairie Fire Newspaper, and others. We plan to utilize media throughout Colombia, the United States, Guangzhou and China, to build public awareness and momentum around the program and enhance the opportunities from rural networks via social media.