Millier, David

Director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Inc.

Former Mayor, Toronto, Canada

Solved:  How the World’s Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis

Using examples from Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Oslo, Shenzhen, and Sydney and other global cities, David Miller will demonstrate how cities can lead the dramatic reduction of global emissions by 2030, demonstrating that the actions of leading global cities point the way to creating a more sustainable planet.  Drawing on a factual analysis of what cities are doing today to mitigate harmful emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 °C, Mr. Miller will present a roadmap, "how to" guide for combatting climate change by taking the best global actions and showing how they can be replicated at pace and scale.  This call to rapid action will draw on Mr. Miller’s recent book, Solved:  How the World’s Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis.

Sylla, Oumar

Director, Regional Office for Africa, UN-Habitat

Construire des villes résilientes à l'ère du COVID 19 en Afrique

Le thème des crises sanitaires dans les villes a fait l'objet d'une attention croissante ces dernières années en raison de la croissance et de l'urbanisation de nombreuses régions du monde. La concentration des populations et l'inégalité de la distribution/le manque de ressources augmentent le risque et l'impact de ces crises sanitaires. À l'échelle mondiale, la crise COVID-19 a surtout touché la population urbaine. Les réponses inadéquates ont montré les vulnérabilités des villes dans la réponse aux crises sanitaires. En Afrique, les pays sont confrontés à des conséquences néfastes en raison des processus d'urbanisation largement non planifiés et mal gérés qui se traduisent par des établissements informels généralisés et de graves déficits en matière d'infrastructures et de services. Pour relever ces défis, six réponses clés sont recommandées : 1. Appliquer des stratégies de communication locale et d'engagement communautaire ; 2. Soutenir les SME et l'économie informelle ; 3. Approfondir les réponses décentralisées à COVID-19 en renforçant les capacités des gouvernements locaux ; 4. Cibler les établissements informels par des mesures contextualisées basées sur des données ; 5. Établir des mécanismes pour promouvoir un accès rapide au logement et prévenir les expulsions forcées ; 6. Intégrer la planification et la gestion urbaines en tant que priorités clés pour les stratégies de redressement et de reconstruction en vue d'une résilience à long terme.

The topic of health crises in cities has gained increasing attention in recent years due to the growth and urbanization of many regions around the world. The concentration of populations and unequal distribution or lack of resources augment the risk and impact of these health crises. Globally, the covid-19 crisis has impacted the urban population the most. The inadequate responses showed the vulnerabilities of cities in responding to health crises. In Africa, countries are facing the adverse consequences of the crisis due to the largely unplanned and poorly managed urbanization process resulting in widespread informal settlements and severe infrastructure and service deficits. To address the challenges, six key responses are recommended: 1. Apply local communication and community engagement strategies; 2. Support SMEs and the informal economy; 3. Deepen decentralized responses to COVID-19 through strengthening local government capacities; 4. Target informal settlements through data driven contextualized measures; 5. Establish mechanisms to promote rapid access to housing and prevent forced evictions; 6. Integrate urban planning and management as key priorities for recovery and rebuilding strategies towards long-term resilience.

Leilani Farha

Global Director of The Shift, an international movement to secure the right to housing and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing

What a Wonderful World it Could Be!

1.8 billion people across the planet live without a roof over their head, or without access to basic services like water, toilets, and electricity, often living in dangerous locations or on the peripheries of cities. Many more than this live in overcrowded and run-down places, or under the constant threat of eviction because housing in every city is too expensive, used as a financial instrument or for speculation. And in most countries laws and policies fail to protect most people from losing their homes and do nothing to help them access better ones. Who lives this reality? The people who perform all the jobs that make our cities work -- the same people who have taken to the streets to protest gross inequality in Lebanon, Chile, Hong Kong, and Cape Town.

Reflecting on these global housing conditions, Leilani will discuss how the housing landscape has been fundamentally altered over the last decade, resulting in a global crisis and representing both a symptom and a driver of gross inequality in cities across the world. Leilani will introduce the audience to the role that high finance, and global capital play in today’s housing conditions – the subject matter of the documentary film PUSH – and the power financial actors have over governments and legislatures.

Leilani will close by serving up some inspiration, discussing the transformative power of human rights principles like maximum available resources, non-discrimination, community participation and accountability when applied to housing, fiscal and monetary laws and policies. She will close with reflections on the many commitments being made by local governments to use a human rights framework to address poor housing conditions, demonstrating that the implementation of human rights can make the world a wonderful place.

Mimi Sheller

PhD., Professor of Sociology and Director, Center for Mobilities Research & Policy, Drexel University, USA

Building a Thriving Caribbean Future: Resetting policy with international partners

The Greater Caribbean region is closely involved in the economies of Canada and the U.S., with many countries reliant on tourism and the offshore financial services sector, with others sending temporary agricultural workers to the north, and much migration and mobility across the region. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted many of these mobilities, stopping tourism, interrupting migration patterns, and limiting both investment and remittances. The Caribbean region is also highly affected by climate change and the recurrence of natural disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. What does the future hold for the Caribbean region and how can it not just survive, but thrive?

This talk will address the challenges facing the Greater Caribbean and the role that its international partners might play in supporting and advancing more sustainable futures that are being envisioned within the region. China is investing in several major infrastructure and real estate projects throughout the Caribbean as part of the global Belt and Road Initiative. Multinational corporations are pressing for new resource extraction projects around oil drilling and mining. As we all come out of the pandemic crisis and face the ongoing climate crisis, the US and Canada have an opportunity to reset their foreign policy with our neighbors. This talk will argue that this is the time to build smarter, more cooperative international relationships that will support better policies. This requires a re-set around international relations, and new approaches to food sovereignty, sustainable tourism, renewable energy, ecological repair, coastal and ocean protection, gender equity and mobility justice.

Mario Polèse

Professor emeritus at INRS, a research university, Centre Urbanisation Culture Societé in Montreal, Canada

Affordable Housing: What to do and what not to do. Lessons from Montreal and other places

Ensuring that housing is affordable (for most residents, at least) remains of one the main challenges facing modern cities. In many cities in the “developed” world, housing prices have skyrocketed beyond control, further propelled by the Covid pandemic. The pandemic aside, the reason is often bad public polices, a useful waring for cities in the developing world.

Canada presents an interesting case of extremes, Montreal one the hand with a relatively affordable housing market (so far) and Toronto and Vancouver, on the other, with among the highest housing prices in North America. What did Montreal do right and the others do wrong?

We review Montreal’s approach to housing, both with regard to public (social) and market-driven housing, policies that have succeeded in producing a generally “flexible” market where housing supply responds fairly rapidly to demand, middle-scale housing the dominant construction mode. Part of the secret lies in the “socialization” of infrastructure costs, financed via general property taxes, and parallel absence of infrastructure-linked development charges, which in turn facilitates the emergence of small contactors (builders) and real estate developers, creating a more competitive housing market.

Social housing for low-income households is relatively limited; but has generally focused on spatially dispersed small and medium-sized projects, thus reducing both the likelihood of NIMBYs and the emergence of ghettos. However, providing a sufficient supply of publically-financed housing remains a challenge. Other measures include density-friendly zoning and a rental tribunal that avoids the pitfalls of rental control while allowing renters recourse against abusive price hikes.

Zacharias, John

Chair Professor, Peking University, Beijing, China

La nécessaire réurbanisation en Chine face aux nouveaux défis de la santé publique

L’urbanisation de la Chine, sans précédent par son ampleur et sa durée, est en phase de ralentissement. La modernisation des infrastructures et le renouvellement du cadre bâti, qui ont marqué cette urbanisation, ont jeté les bases d’un système urbain bien adapté aux besoins économiques de la Chine dans le contexte de la mondialisation, et a beaucoup amélioré les qualités de l’habitat domestique. Maintenant il faut envisager intervenir de nouveau pour réadapter le tissu urbain à de nouveaux défis humains. La détérioration de la santé publique, issue de modes de vie sédentaires rend la population plus vulnérable aux maladies non-transmissibles, mais aussi aux maladies transmissibles, dont le COVID-19. Le tissu urbain, issu de cette urbanisation, mal adapté aux modes de vie saines, demande une intervention globale pour densifier un espace devenu trop étendu, réorganiser l’aire publique et accélérer la transition vers le transport durable.

Urbanization in China, unprecedented in scope and duration, is now decelerating. Modernization of infrastructure and renewal of the building fabric, that have characterized this urbanization, have set the foundation of an urban system that is well adapted to the economic needs of China in the context of globalization, and has improved the living habitat. It is now necessary to intervene again to readapt this urban fabric to new challenges affecting humans. The deterioration of public health, a consequence of modern lifestyles, has also made the population vulnerable to non-communicable diseases as well as to communicable diseases such as COVID-19. The urban fabric that has come out of this urbanization effort is poorly adapted to healthy lifestyle and requires a global effort to densify, reorganize public space and accelerate the transition to sustainable transport.

Zhi Liu

Senior Fellow and Director of China Program

High-Quality Infrastructure Development in China

The Chinese government recently adopted a new policy to promote high-quality development—a shift in development paradigm from one that emphasized quantity and fast pace. This paper discusses the implications of the new policy to the future of infrastructure sector. The paper first compares the level of infrastructure development between China and a few selected major economies, and identifies the key strengths and more importantly weaknesses that must be overcome in the short to medium-terms. Then the chapter analyzes the economic, technological, demographic, and climate change trends, as well as the global uncertainties that would shape the future of infrastructure demand and supply, and discusses the directions for infrastructure development in the next 20-30 years.