UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP leads on-the ground research in Turkey and Colombia launched at the World Urban Forum

28 June 2022

In advance of the Council on Urban Initiative’s upcoming major engagement at the UN-Habitat conference, the Council’s Secretariat conducted field research in two cities to identify and analyse lessons on urban transformation for an upcoming publication.

Turkish spice market

Following its launch in November 2021, IIPP has been a core partner leading the Council on Urban Initiatives, an independent body established in collaboration between IIPP, the UN-Habitat, and LSE Cities. The Council is co-chaired by IIPP Founding Director Mariana Mazzucato and LSE Cities Director Ricky Burdett and includes sixteen additional Council members made up of pioneering mayors, practitioners, designers, activists, and academics. The Council’s mission is to position urban issues at the heart of global policy debates and influence agendas towards advancing public purpose at the highest levels of the UN and international community.  

In preparation for the UN-Habitat's World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland – a premier bi-annual conference for urban leaders from across the globe - The Council of Urban Initiatives will host its second public event and also release its second publication during a Special Session focused on two examples of urban change and analyse lessons that other cities around the globe can draw from. To develop this publication, a team of researchers supporting the Council from IIPP and LSE cities conducted fieldwork in Gaziantep, Turkey and Bogotá, Colombia. 

In Gaziantep, the team explored how the city has sought to socio-economically integrate Syrians that have had to flee from their homes during the country’s 11-year civil war. The approach undertaken by leaders in Gaziantep is distinct from conventional urban approaches to managing refugees and migrants, where displaced people are kept in temporary camps on the periphery of the city. Meanwhile in Bogotá, the team explored the city’s ‘District Care System’ - a new programme launched in 2020 intended to address gross inequalities in the distribution of care work between women and men. Approximately 30% of the city’s female population spends 10 hours per day or more on unpaid domestic care work. In both Gaziantep and Bogotá, the cities have had to develop new capabilities, design new institutions and create new services and procedures whilst attempting to enable transformative change. The IIPP research team has used IIPP's cutting edge conceptual frameworks to analyse lessons about how each city has perused different forms of experimentation and urban innovation that other cities can learn from.  

Gyorgyi Galik, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose Head of Strategic Partnerships and member of the Council’s research team highlighted: 

“There are key insights emerging from the Council’s research and clear common challenges that cities need to address when enabling effective and transformational change in practice. Political will, shared responsibility, tenacity, and collaborative approaches for national, regional, and local governments to work together in more effective coalitions will be essential to implement the necessary interventions and regulatory frameworks that can institutionalise new and innovative programmes in cities. Urban decision-makers also need to develop sustainable financing mechanisms, and bold institutional tools and dynamic capabilities to understand and produce broader social and environmental value for just, healthy, and green urban futures.” 

More information about the Council’s upcoming publication and activities at the World Urban Form will be announced in the coming weeks. If you would like to learn more about the Council or our work with cities, please contact Gyorgyi Galik

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