Peoples are moving quickly around the urban areas across the Earth. War, climate change and poverty are forcing people to leave our homes and move to safer places to live and raise our families.
In responding, the private sector is delivering goods and services. But it is not delivering communities. Governments are facilitating private sector responses, and not all are not safeguarding communities and ensuring future communities can flourish.
Communities evolve. They grow among people with common background and common experience. They emerge, and dissipate. And they are necessary for our soul.
Human settlements, their sustainability and the housing within them, combine communities. And women make communities as do men.
Yet, in our haste to build new accommodation, are we making decisions that deprive women and our children of access to housing and to services? Where are the childcare services in the new apartment blocks? How can we raise babies in apartments with thin walls that require us to keep our babies quiet lest they disturb our neighbours? Why are places for children to explore the outdoors not prioritized in our urban designs?
How can we afford to live in cities when costs are so high and everything: power, water, waste disposal, sanitation, transport; costs so much?
Do urban planners unintentionally push women and children out of cities? Are women with children put on the waiting lists for community housing? Or is it easier to provide housing to older, single and active women? Are services to us our whole lives given priority?
How can women and children access housing that meets children’s needs? How can we provide our children with opportunities to play and explore the world around us, to engage with nature?
New York has built child-friendly areas into the design of its apartments. They have built in childcare and children activities to compensate for the loss of green space. They provide recreation for families and children.
Livable cities are socially cohesive if they provide housing from early childcare through to old age. In designing our urban areas, we need to plan for people to live in their homes all their lives. Livable homes make for vibrant communities and safe spaces.
For further information see the Habitat III Issues papers:
1. Social cohesion and equity: Livable Cities
a. Inclusive Cities
b. Migration and Refugees in Urban Areas
c. Safer Cities
d. Urban Culture and Design
2. Urban Frameworks
a. Urban Rules and Legislation
b. Urban Governance
c. Municipal Finance
3. Spatial Development
a. Urban and Spatial Planning and Design
b. Urban Land
c. Urban-Rural Linkages
d. Public Space
4. Urban Economy
a. Local Economic Development
b. Jobs and Livelihoods
c. Informal Sector
5. Urban Ecology and Sustainability
a. Urban Resilience
b. Urban Ecosystems and Resource Management
c. Cities and Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management
6. Urban Housing and Basic Services.
a. Urban Infrastructure and Basic Services, including Energy
b. Transport and Mobility
d. Smart Cities
e. Informal Settlements.