Students attend Habitat III summit on future of cities

Gloss pageA team of students and academics from the Faculty of Social Sciences recently attended the UN’s Habitat III Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development held in Quito, Ecuador.

This was the most important international event on cities and urban development to have taken place in the past 20 years, following previous events in Istanbul in 1996 and Vancouver in 1976.

Attendance at the Conference was part of the Faculty of Social Science’s Global Leadership Initiative, which is offered to students through the innovative Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences (GLOSS) scheme. The scheme aims to promote student engagement in global learning.

The students who attended Habitat III benefitted from a unique opportunity to engage with a range of global stakeholders from national delegations, local authorities, civil society to business and industry, exploring global urban development. They produced policy briefs on the Conference for the Global Policy Journal, including this policy brief from Aidan Kidder which was recently featured in UN-Habitat's Urban Gateway newsletter.

Dr Tom Goodfellow said: “This has been an incredible experience for both the students and staff involved. The opportunity to engage in debates at such a high level, at an event which takes place only once every 20 years, was a great privilege. The students worked really well as a group, and have produced some excellent analytical work. Look out for their policy briefs in the near future!”

Frances Thompson, studying on the MA Town and Regional Planning, said: “Attending Habitat III in Quito was a fantastic experience, just weeks into joining the Urban Studies and Planning department for my Master's course.

“I was able to learn how the UN operates, how planners can influence the international agenda, experience some of the most fundamental debates about urban spaces play out on the international stage and meet professionals in my field from all over the world.

“It was great to get to know some of my peers and staff members in such an exciting setting and has been a wonderful start to my year at Sheffield.”

Here's the entire GLOSS Habitat III cohort in a 360° degree selfie!