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LSA LAB Director Lara Kinneir chairs UN HABITAT workshop on ‘New Urban Agenda’


Lara Kinneir, the newly announced Director of LSA LAB, this month chaired a UN-Habitat organized a virtual write shop with a wide range of stakeholders to provide inputs for the 2022 Report of the Secretary-General on progress on the implementation of the ‘New Urban Agenda’.

The New Urban Agenda seeks to provide the global principles, policies and standards required to achieve sustainable urban development, to transform the way we construct, manage, operate and live in our cities. It will guide the efforts around urbanisation for a wide range of actors including nation states, city and regional leaders, funders of international development, the private sector, the United Nations programmes and civil society for the next 20 years.

The New Urban Agenda takes into account the synergies that exists with other global agreements namely the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global climate agreement reached at COP21 in Paris, Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries, SAMOA and the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries to provide a holistic transformation approach for addressing urbanisation.

Every four years, the nations report on its implementation. Lara Kinneir, LSA Lab Director, was asked to facilitate the production of the current report by creating and producing a write-shop to produce a document in real time, drawing together participants knowledge, evidence and experience of implementing the New Urban Agenda.

The write-shop was held across various timezones, bringing a real sense of global collaborative working, facilitated and energised by a small team sitting in the LSA studios in Hackney.

We heard from human rights experts, to national governments to gender and youth organisations, who shared a host of examples of sustainable urbanisation alongside the challenges that remain. Developments in green financing models, participatory planning from grassroots organisations to governments and new urban policies were cited, under the very challenging global circumstances of climate, conflict and Covid.

Final year LSA student Jake Obichere, had the opportunity to join Lara and her team in delivering the write-shop, gaining valuable knowledge to inform his interest in applying the Sustainable Development Goals to his work at the LSA. Lara has remained involved in the final editing of the document, which is now on its way to UN Headquarters in New York, to be presented to the Secretary General in February 2022. The LSA’s relationship with UN Habitat continues through their University Network Initiative, where Lara leads the research group on Urban Governance