UCL Grand Challenges


UCL at UN Habitat III

UN Habitat III Logo

UN Habitat III: United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development

The UN Habitat III conference was held in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. It was the largest summit on cities in the history of the United Nations, with 30,000 participants from all over the world. UCL had a strong presence at the event, organising and attending a range of events at the conference.

Habitat III brought together a wide range of participants including researchers, civil society organisations, representatives from regional and local government and the private sector. 

The summit aims to encourage a new model of urban development that is not only sustainable but also promotes equity, welfare and shared prosperity. You can read the resulting    here The New Urban Agenda


The City Leadership Laboratory (UCL STEaPP) ran a series of events that related to the conference themes. Visit the City Leadership Lab's website for more details.

  • Safer Smarter Cities for Women and Girls The City Leadership team worked with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to deliver this workshop which looked at the challenges faced by girls and women when they move through urban areas. The session will presented findings from the UN-Habitat's Technical Working Group on Safer Smarter Cities, giving practical examples of how digital technologies are promoting safety outcomes in cities across the world. Download the report: Safer Smarter Cities for Women and Girls
  • Shaping informed cities An URBAN FUTURE presentation with the Gauteng City Region Observatory (GCRO). This event looked at the role played by urban observatories in the generation and analysis of data to support urban decision-making.Download the report: Shaping informed cities
  • Linking knowledge to policy How can the scientific community contribute after Quito?
  • HESI Global meeting of Universities Action Plan for Universities to maximize impact of higher education in the sustainability of urbanization.
  • Transforming research into practices and policies

UCL Development Planning Unit

The Development Planning Unit (UCL Bartlett) also had a strong presence at the conference, participating in over 15 different events, with topics ranging from reducing relocation risk to urban economic development strategies.

  • Professor Adriana Allen chaired an event on an event on disrupting urban risk traps
  • There was a three-day public exhibition of the cLIMA sin Riesgo project, exploring the connection between urban development and the production and re-production of everyday risks. 
  • An event on urban learning alliances led by the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre considered the potential for partnerships between universities and civil society groups to research and produce action-oriented knowledge together.
  • DPU director Julio Davila presented a multidisciplinary view of urban transport and social development.

Further links