On September 16, Penn IUR co-hosted “Thinking Inside Out: How Cities Contribute to Solving Global Problems,” an event that brought together academics and professionals from a range of fields to discuss the important role cities play in the United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). Other sponsors included: UN Habitat, The New School, and the Observatory on Latin America.
The event kicked off with a talk by Robert Buckley, Penn IUR Scholar and Studley Visiting Fellow at the Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs, who spoke about the inequality of housing in major cities, specifically in New York City. Following Buckley’s talk, Don Chen, Director of the Just Cities Initiative at the Ford Foundation, conducted a discussion with Buckley that touched on the importance of the social function of land in equitable development.
Karen Seto, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, then gave a talk on how cities can contribute to mitigating global climate change. David Satterthwaite of the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, and Aromar Revi, Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and Coordinator of the Campaign for Urban SDGs, spoke about the importance of SDGs in international sustainable development. Penn IUR Co-Director Genie Birch wrapped up the discussions with a call to action for the UN Habitat III’s upcoming conference by saying that civil society can have a huge impact in making cities more sustainable globally if we as citizens act as a cohesive unit and prioritize the issue.
Other speakers included Michael Cohn, Director of the Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School; Gulelat Kebede, Chief of the Urban Economy Branch at UN Habitat; and Shagun Mehotra, Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy and Sustainable Management, the New School. Poster presentations were held after the event by doctoral candidates in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania.