• Tuesday 18 Oct 2016
  • Bellagio Accord on Public Spaces in Africa

    Side Events
    Venue: R13
    Lead Organization:
    • HealthBridge Foundation Of Canada.
    Partner Organizations:
    • ACTogether,
    • UN-Habitat,
    • United Cities For Local Government (UCLG),
    • Women In Informal Employment: Globalizing And Organizing (WIEGO).

    In Africa - like in many other places in the world - streets and public spaces are used for public life, commerce and interaction. However, lack of funds, planning, and maintenance, as well as priority for motorized vehicles, has turned them into unsafe, unforgiving and unconnected places that are, hence, difficult to access. Streets and public spaces are a critical strategy for the implementation on the New Urban Agenda. Streets and public spaces are the places where both active transportation and recreational physical activity occur, thereby reducing risk of NCDs, which will be the number one cause of death and disability in Africa by 2020; public spaces provide the locations necessary for informal workers to ply their trade, and for people to meet; and, public spaces can provide the necessary green and open spaces in cities to maintain a wide diversity of species and landscapes within an urban context, while streets connect these spaces and function as public spaces in their own right. But, ultimately our work is related to transforming cities. Streets and public spaces are a key element of individual and social well-being and are critical for the historic, environmental, social and economic functioning of cities. In June 2016 a group of researchers, policy makers and civil society met at the Bellagio Centre in Italy to generate innovative strategies for providing public spaces in African cities and begin preparing a road map for how to address streets and public spaces as an essential service. With this side event at Habitat III we launch the Bellagio Accord on Public Spaces, which is the official summary of the event. In addition, we will continue our work to further develop the platform and begin networking with additional African partners.