Sustainable Urban Development SYMPOSIUM

Panel 2 

> Participation & Inclusivity < 

2 November 2021
> 14.30-16.00 <
Saudi Arabia Pavilion + ONLINE

/ Participation and Inclusivity  

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The New Urban Agenda was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador, on 20 October 2016. At its very core it was a call for fostering “social cohesion, inclusion and safety in peaceful and pluralistic societies.” It sought to promote an urban environment, where the needs of all residents are respected and where all forms of discrimination, violence and harassment against the most vulnerable member of society are countered. Arab countries were quite keen to integrate these calls within their respective urban policies. Numerous visions, masterplans, and development projects adopted a rhetoric that was in line with these noble directives. And yet looking at the reality on the ground it seems that for the most part such orientations were largely sidestepped in favor of a neoliberal urbanization policy which favored the interests of investors at the expense of the majority of city inhabitants. Whether it is the erasure of a slum to be replaced with a high-end development in downtown Cairo; the redevelopment of a riverfront, in the process displacing a fishing village in Rabat; or the proliferation of outdoor markets, masquerading as inclusive public spaces in Dubai – notions of participation and inclusivity seem to be far off from official urban policies. And yet if one pays closer attention, there are efforts which aim at mitigating such tendencies. Through the work of NGO’s and even government organizations, trend have emerged which seek to accommodate a more inclusive urban policy which does not favor the few at the expense of the many. This panel, through the contributions of academics and practitioners aims at providing examples of cases which are indicative of such a trend and thus provide a beginning of sorts for a dialogue that will eventually lead to an urban environment that is open and accessible for all. 

The Panel/

Prof. Yasser Elsheshtawy

Keynote: Participatory Urbanization in Riyadh: Humanizing the City 

Yasser Elsheshtawy, architect and urbanist, is an independent scholar and an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Columbia University and Non-resident Fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, DC. In addition to numerous publications, including his latest, Riyadh: Transforming a Desert City, he is one of the lead authors for the UN-Habitat’s “State of the Arab Cities 2020” report where he looks at infrastructure in Arab cities 

Prof. Asmaa Ibrahim
Dean of the College of Architecture and Design/ Effat University

Participatory Approaches between Theory and Practise: Reflections on Case Studies by International Organizations in Egypt

​​​​​​​​​​Asmaa is originally a Professor of urban development at the Arch. Dep. Faculty of Engineering, Cairo Univ. with 18 years of academic and professional experience. She was the Humphrey Fellow at MIT, USA (2018/2019). She has fourteen years of experience in strategic regional and urban planning projects in UN HABITAT, GOPP, and GIZ with a focus on community development, gender programming and regeneration policies in historic districts and slum areas.    

Dr. Aida Robbana 
Head of UN-Habitat in Tunisia

Ingenious women in old villages of Tunisia : intangible heritage and research of innovation 

Aida Robbana holds a degree from the Institut des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (IHEC) Carthage in Tunisia and a PhD in International Economics and Management from the University Paris IX Dauphine.
She worked as an economist for seven years in an urban planning consultancy in Tunisia where she was senior economist.
She then joined the United Nations in Tunisia in UNDP and  as the Head  of the Resident Coordinator Office.
As of February 1, 2021, Aida joined UN-Habitat as Head of Office in Tunisia. 

Samantha Cotterell
Executive Director, Design, Royal Commission for AlUla 

Presentation Title (TBA)

Samantha is currently the Chair of International Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects and a member of the Venice Biennale 2020 Architecture Committee for the Australian Pavilion and Advisor to the Australia Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai.