Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 and Public Spaces

Americas, DIAUD Network, September 1 2017

On August 23, 2017 the DIAUD Network continued its work in utilizing the network to influence global policies, and featured another highly-informative presentation by an urban development professional, Ms. Luisa Bravo. The DIAUD Network’s tasks for this meeting included asking network members to complete a survey on the upcoming World Urban Forum, as well as encouraging members to review a stakeholder mapping document to offer suggestions regarding areas in which the DIAUD Network could improve its scope of representation. Both of these documents will be distributed to network members.

Cheese Board pizza restaurant in Berkeley, CA, Ms. Bravo’s example of an unconventional public space

The DIAUD Network’s survey on the upcoming World Urban Forum meeting in Kuala Lumpur in 2018 will inform the network’s executive committee on the organizations in attendance at this meeting, as well as indicate the different avenues of funding that are being used to finance said attendance.  The stakeholder mapping document, that network members are asked to review, will allow the DIAUD Network to catalog the industries currently represented, and expand the scope of representation to organizations that are currently missing.

The DIAUD Network members also discussed the upcoming United Nations meeting September 5 – 6, 2017 focussed on the New Urban Agenda and UN Habitat and  stressed the importance of participation by network members.  Only very recently were civil society organizations included in these high-level meetings and planning processes, thus making it all the more important for civil society organizations to make their voices heard and ensure that their perspectives are being taken into account.  Alongside this discussion of the UN meeting, the DIAUD Network discussed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #11, which is to make “cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable”.  This goal was also featured in Ms. Bravo’s presentation.

Ms. Bravo is the founder of City Space Architecture, a non-profit cultural organization that focuses on public space in urban environments and works to create a shared platform for academics, civil society organizations, citizens, and government officials to collaborate on. Ms. Bravo has worked as an Adjunct Professor in Urban Planning and Design at the University of Florence, as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor in Architecture at the Queensland University of Technology. Ms. Bravo’s experience and expertise in the realm of public space led the United Nations to ask her to be an advisor on what indicators of good public space is.

In her presentation, Ms. Bravo gave some examples that illustrated what public space is in terms of both positive and negative features.  Ms. Bravo stated that public spaces are simultaneously rich withidentity and diversity and home to exclusions and conflict. Ms. Bravo’s lesson on public spaces made clear the point that public spaces, particularly in urban environments, are a key element of identity-building and the overall dynamic of the environment and thus must be inclusive of and accessible to all persons.

The DIAUD Network’s next meeting will occur on Wednesday September 6, 2017 at 9:00 am EDT.  This meeting will showcase Holger Dieterich and his work as the co-founder of Wheelmap, an online database that utilizes crowdsurfing data-collecting to publicize wheelchair accessible places.

The collaboration between the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) , the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), and World Enabled makes the DIAUD Network possible.  These network meetings are hosted and recorded on a virtual platform by IDPP and the recordings are available to registered DIAUD Network members.  In order to receive updates and further your participation with the Network, join the mailing, go to https://goo.gl/dtxWJf

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