Cities are home to over half the world’s population, consume a majority of its resources and cause a large share of its waste. Cities are a challenge for global sustainability. They are also crucial for its solution. Their settlement density and networks of creativity provide the space and the ideas for improved resource management. Above all they epitomize the needs and aspirations of their citizens. They are spaces of longing and belonging with promises of social equitability, individual freedom and political participation.
Together with over a dozen think tanks from around the world CIDOB launched the Wise Cities research and action platform in 2016. It builds on existing concepts of city planning and management such as “sustainable city”, “green city”, “eco-city”, “ubiquitous city” and more recently “smart city”, but adds non-technocratic angles that are inspired by citizenship, such as socio-economic development, political participation and cultural diversity.
Cities on the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean belong to the oldest in the world and can draw on a rich tradition of architecture, urban development and municipal administration. With all their differences, these cities share common pressing challenges such as environmental degradation, climate change, mass urbanization, migration, growing inequality and the fourth industrial revolution, just to name a few.
Against this backdrop the Kuwait Chair at Sciences Po holds a conference on 8-9 March 208 in Paris in collaboration with CIDOB on “Wise Cities” in the Mediterranean? The Challenge of Environmental and Social Sustainability.
The policy-oriented conference will gather city planners, policy makers, academics and representatives of NGOs and international organizations. It seeks to discuss alternative pathways of urbanization, engage citizens and develop ideas for the localization process of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).