Three Projects: 2005-2020

Promote equitable and sustainable development

Projects Director: Anna Rubbo
Center for Sustainable Urban Development, The Earth Institute, Columbia University

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

2005-12 | Global Studio
The GLOBAL STUDIO grew out of the work of the UN Millennium Development Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers (MDG 7) (2002-2004). Founded to support MDG 7 (environmental sustainability) 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). Global Studio engaged in a people as partners hands-on educational experience in four countries, and worked with local residents on locally proposed projects that could help alleviate poverty and improve their lives. Global Studio shared processes and outcomes at Habitat and/or UN World Urban Forums in Vancouver, Nanjing, Rio de Janiero, Naples and Quito.

2013-15 | People Building Better Cities
People Building Better Cities (2013-15) built upon the work of Global Studio.  A traveling exhibition made up of 23 panels, PBBC was shown in 10 countries and 18 cities, including Medellin (World Urban Forum) and Durban (Union of International Architects). PBBC disseminated lessons learned in Global Studio, and encouraged debate and action on major issues confronting urbanization in the context of climate change, citizen engagement. PBBC is available in English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Chinese and Hindi.

2018-20 | Agenda 2030 Design, Planning and Policy Studio: Local Project Challenge
The Local Project Challenge builds on the Global Studio and People Building Better Cities.  The Sustainable Development Goals, heralded as ‘goals to transform our world’ are the centrepiece of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, build on the MDGs. With the adoption of the SDGs (2015) and the New Urban Agenda (2016), the Local Project Challenge aim is to accelerate awareness of the SDGs and NUA and to help mainstream the SDGs worldwide.  The project begins with a survey  (November 2018) and asks the question, ‘How are the SDGs traveling in your world?’ Survey responses will feed into the Local Project Challenge, and throughout 2019, professionals, universities, local authorities and civil society will be invited to form local partnerships to develop local projects that are useful, and respond to the SDGs. Projects and survey outcomes will be shared online, with winning projects displayed at UN Habitat’s World Urban Forum 10, to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2020.  Interactive events with winning teams will be held during WUF10 to communicate inclusive and innovative approaches to people centered sustainable development. Post WUF,  publications  and peer to peer city and regional events are planned.


Global Studio Films

Global Studio Istanbul (2005)

SOUTH AFRICA (2007-09)
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, interviews with speakers at the GS international conference ‘Reimagining Inclusive Urbanization’; interviews with GS participants

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