Habitat III is now part of history, and it remains to be seen how the urban futures that figured so prominently in the official discourses will be shaped by the new urban agenda, well-intentioned but vague as it is. As someone who worked for several years in a UN initiative related to Habitat II’s program of best practices in urban policy, I know well the sheer amount of energy and optimism invested in these projects, but also the tremendous limitations given the weak regulatory framework behind the proposals. We will see, but meanwhile, let’s hope for the best.
In the meantime the UN office in Spain has uploaded a nice synthesis of the event it held a month ago in Madrid, including a full report (in Spanish) and a short communiqué (in English), as well as several videos (with subtitles) from the talks and debate sessions. The discussions addressed the topic of justice —especially spatial justice— in relation to the implementation of the new urban agenda. The colloquium of city mayors —including Asunción, La Paz and our Manuela Carmena from Madrid— with Joan Clos —whose interventions were mainly related to his time as mayor in Barcelona— was particularly interesting and revealing of the difficulties and contradictions of contemporary urban policies.