On June 24-26th, 2013, Placemaking leaders from around the world will gather together with UN officials, representatives from international government agencies, NGOs, designers, change agents, mayors, local politicians, and other place-centered actors for The Future of Places, the first of three linked conferences that will develop a ‘Future of Places Declaration’ to influence the discussion at the Habitat III gathering in 2016. We are excited to be participating in the organization of this very special series of events, in partnership with the UN-Habitat and the Ax:son Johnson Foundation, which will host the event at the Stockholm City Conference Centre in Stockholm, Sweden.
The conference begins with the premise that the world is at a crossroads. We have a choice: cities can continue to grow haphazardly, without regard to human social needs and environmental consequences, or we can embrace a sustainable and equitable process that builds community, enhances quality of life, and creates safe and prosperous neighborhoods. We are convinced that in the future, the cities that utilize the social capital-building potential of their public spaces to the fullest will be the ones with the most dynamic local economies. The Future of Places will survey the field, and map out a path to a more people-centered urban development model for the globalized future.
Habitat III, the third United Nations (UN) conference to be held on Human Settlements, will bring together actors from across the globe, including local governments, national governments, the private sector, international organizations, and many others. This gathering, the largest of its kind in the world, will build on the first Habitat conference in Vancouver in 1976 and the Habitat II conference in Istanbul in 1996. The conference will re-evaluate the Habitat agenda and look at the role of UN-Habitat and sustainable urban development in the upcoming decade. It is therefore vital that the dialogue that will influence the Habitat III outcomes—and thus the future global urban agenda—commences today.
As many of you already know, the timing of the launch of this conference series is particularly exciting as, just three weeks ago, we announced the formation of the Placemaking Leadership Council, which will meet for the first time this April in Detroit to begin developing a global agenda around Placemaking in cities. To ensure a diverse, multifaceted group of attendees for The Future of Places conference in June, each of the three organizing partners for that event will be bringing a delegation of leaders from their respective realm of expertise. As such, PPS will be selecting members from the Leadership Council to attend the Future of Places conference.
This allows us to form a truly international Council by providing those who cannot travel to Detroit in April with an equally exciting opportunity to gather with peers for the discussion of the transformative agendas that are at the heart of this evolving movement. While the Detroit meeting will lay the groundwork for the Council’s future work, the role that Council members will play at The Future of Places conference will be critical in expanding the understanding of that work on the global stage. Due to this unique perspective, we will be looking for delegates with experience working internationally, and particularly in the cities of the developing world—people with a passion for addressing human, social, and community needs in ways that transform long-struggling areas into sustainable neighborhoods defined around vital, welcoming, and affirming public spaces.
If you believe that you would be a good fit for the Placemaking Leadership Council, and you are interested in attending either or both of the meetings in Detroit and Stockholm, we encourage you to review the criteria for joining the Leadership Council. Once you are up to speed on the agendas and criteria, you can then click here to tell us why you feel you’d be good addition to the Placemaking Leadership Council between now and April 1st, 2013. (Please note that, if you have already filled out this form, you do not need to do so again.)
If you want to stay up to date with news about the Stockholm conference, you can follow @FutureofPlaces on Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you. Perhaps we will see you soon, in Stockholm!