Three Projects: 2005-2020

Promote equitable and sustainable development

  • 2005-12: Global Studio
  • 2013-15: People Building Better Cities
  • 2018-20: Agenda 2030 Local Projects Challenge

2005-12 | Global Studio

The Global Studio was spearheaded by the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers (MDG 7) in 2004. Founded to support Millennium Development Goal 7 (environmental sustainability and the slum dwellers target) and MDG 8 (develop new partnerships), over 600 students, educators and professionals from 35 countries, 66 universities and 11 disciplines participated in Global Studio Istanbul (2005), Vancouver (2006), Johannesburg (2007, 08, 09) and Bhopal (2012).

Led by Anna Rubbo at the University of Sydney, Australia, Global Studio engaged in a ‘people as partners’ hands-on educational experience in four countries, and worked with communities on local, co-produced projects to help alleviate poverty, reduce inequality and improve lives – and at the same time counter the narrative that ‘urban professionals don’t listen’ to the urban poor.

Global Studio shared processes and outcomes in communities, in universities, at UN World Urban Forums in Vancouver, Nanjing, Rio de Janeiro, Naples and Quito, and other conferences, It produced some 37 short films (see below) as well as a number of academic publications.

Post Global Studio: In Diepsloot township, Johannesburg, work in water and sanitation, arts and culture that began with Global Studio (2007-09), community-led development by young people continues to make good progress.

2013-15 | People Building Better Cities traveling exhibition

People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization (2013-15) built on the work of Global Studio. A  traveling exhibition, PBBC  was developed by a team led by Anna Rubbo at the Center for Sustainable Urban Development, NY, and consists of 23 panels. PBBC was shown in 10 countries and 18 cities, including Medellin, Colombia (World Urban Forum7) and Durban, South Africa (Union of International Architects Congress). PBBC shared lessons learned in Global Studio, profiled the work of people-centered urban professionals SE Asia, Australia, and the Caribbean.

PBBC encouraged debate and action on issues confronting cities in the context of climate change, poverty and inequality,  citizen engagement, as well as education modes. PBBC is available in English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Chinese and Hindi.

2018-20 | Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals

This effort builds on the Global Studio and People Building Better Cities. The Sustainable Development Goals (2015-30), heralded as ‘goals to transform our world’ are the centerpiece of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The 17 goals build on, expand and improve the 2000-15 MDGs. Goal 11 (‘make cities and human settlement, inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ ) shines a very bright light on cities; so does Goal 10 (‘reduce inequality) and many others.

The project is in three parts:

  1. ASK+ learn (City Maker survey, 2018)
  2. ACT+ learn(Local Projects Challenge, 2019)
  3. SHARE+ learn (in local, national and international arenas, 2020)

With the adoption of the SDGs by 193 countries (2015) and the New Urban Agenda  (NUA) by 167 countries (2016), the AIM of this project is to accelerate awareness of the SDGs and NUA, and to help mainstream them.

Stage 1ASK + learn
The survey asks  ‘city makers’ in education, the urban professions and civil society, ‘How are the SDGs traveling in your world?’ Available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, and Mandarin. The Survey is still open.

If you haven’t taken survey already,  and would like to, please click here

Stage 2: ACT + learn
LOCAL PROJECTS CHALLENGE. During 2019 urban professionals, (including local authorities, trades etc), universities (teachers, researchers, students) and civil society are invited to form local partnerships to develop local projects that are useful, creative and respond to some SDGs and , as relevant,  the NUA. Projects can be of any size or type. Project Ideas by August 1; full projects by December 1, 2019.

Stage 3: SHARE + learn
All CHALLENGE projects will be posted online, with awarded projects printed and displayed at UN Habitat’s World Urban Forum 10, Abu Dhabi, February 2020.  Representatives of awarded projects will be invited to discuss their innovative approaches and processes at associated events . Post WUF, co-publications and peer to peer city and regional events are planned, including attendance at the UIA (Union of International Architects) Congress, Rio de Janeiro, June 2020.

Center for Sustainable Urban Development
The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA

Global Studio Films

Global Studio Istanbul (2005)

New Mindsets (2007)
Small Change, Big Difference (2007)
A student made film about insulating shacks
SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) (2007)
Academic Acupuncture (2008)
Diep Salute (2009)
A student film made to promote hip hop artists

INDIA 2012
Short films and interviews with “Reimagining Inclusive Urbanization” conference speakers and Global Studio participants.

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