9 February 2018
WUF9 Event: Ethical City Projects – Principles & practices for cross-sectoral projects to implement NUA objectives

Date: Friday 9 February 2018

Time: 11:00 – 14:00

Place: Room 306, Level 3 Kuala Lumpur Convention Center

Event Overview:

The key objectives of this session are:

  • To increase knowledge of the interdependency of New Urban Agenda objectives
  • To apply knowledge to worked examples of project design and evaluation
  • To strengthen networks of a community of practice of Ethical City project development specialists
  • To gain input from participants in shaping more ethical project design

The New Urban Agenda (NUA) and SDG11 set out clear objectives for city projects to be equitable, sustainable and accountable in intent and outcome. What is now needed are tools, practices and processes that bring this ambition to fruition? When potentially conflicting commercial, public, local and sectoral interests are around the table in cross-sectoral projects, how can we ensure that NUA objectives are maintained?

Projects are conceived, developed and designed in the ‘normal’ way in terms of collaborative planning and traditional cost-benefit tools, but with one key difference; the problems of inequality, climate change, and accountability are placed centre stage and projects are designed and evaluated according to these principles. Often, projects designed to tackle climate change may unintentionally exacerbate inequality or democratic governance, similarly, those aimed at tackling inequality can undermine attempts to tackle climate change and democratic governance.

The NUA risks contributing to the dangers of silo-isation caused by focusing on one key urban issue at the expense of others. For example, it divides initiatives into 3 separate areas:

  • Sustainable urban development for social inclusion and ending poverty
  • Sustainable and inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all
  • Environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development.

We argue that these ambitions must not be split but instead must be combined in order to protect NUA progress. ‘Ethical City Projects’ will show how project co-design can be refined to bring the NUA centre stage and maximise the benefits of cross-sectoral urban projects.

Experts in the field will introduce the topic and process for co-designing ethical city projects. They will also address the questions:

  • What are the capability needs of NUA project designers and participants?
  • What are the common problems of urban project development and delivery, producing unforeseen consequences for sustainability, inequality and/or accountability?

A workshop exercise will involve all participants in the room. Each group will work with a case study scenario from Australia, Brazil and South Africa, lead by experts.

Partners and Facilitators:

Professor Ralph Horne, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Michael Nolan, UN Global Compact – Cities Programme International Secretariat

Rosane de Souza and Keli Guimaraes, UN Global Compact – Cities Programme Regional Office (Brazil) and Southern Brazil Centre – with Joana Corriea

Bongumusa Zondo, Municipality of EThekwini (Durban), South Africa

Professor Dave Adamson, Compass Housing, Australia

Simon McPherson, Global South, Australia


Professor Ralph Horne, ralph.horne@rmit.edu.au