Poor cities: no inclusion, no integration

Reporting from Habitat III, Quito

Monday 17th -After a quick lunch in Quito, running to Room 3 for the CAF-Development Bank of Latin America Networking Event about pro-inclusion policies for Latin American Cities. Inclusion is in a way the heart of the Habitat III conference and Latin America has transitioned in the last 25 to 30 years, when it had a more rural composition, to be one of the most urbanized regions of the world. If we focus our attention on how to generate inclusive cities we can assure that citizens benefit from all aspects of urban life. Inclusion facilitates the development of agglomeration economies, stronger labor markets and an improvement of the investment climate not to mention the improvement of quality of live and well-being on every day activity.

The CAF approach was useful mainly because their territorial and integrated view to develop and plan inclusive cities, focus pragmatically on axes related to strengthening connectivity through multi-modal public transportation systems, increasing social cohesion through public spaces, bolstering capacity through education and training, universalizing public services such as water, sanitation, healthy environment and supporting institutional strengthening.

The most interesting part was that all the axes were presented with practical interventions in different cities from Latin America, we had the chance to listen how mayors from Buenos Aires, Argentina; Fortaleza, Brazil; Medellin, Colombia; Loja, Ecuador; Panama City, Panama; are changing their cities step by step and how they are open to share knowledge of best practices. Such recipes can reinforce the relationship between urbanization and development, keeping as an ideological underpinning the emphasis on the need for democratic development, respect for human rights, and the importance of inclusive cities.

Our favorite quote on this event was related to public spaces:

Public space is fundamental, since is the only place in cities where we are all equal.