UCL News


Council co-chaired by UCL Professor launches to progress urban policymaking post-Covid

21 October 2021

Urban leaders, activists and global policy makers are joining with city mayors from around the world to launch the Council on Urban Initiatives (CUI), co-chaired by Professor Mariana Mazzucato (Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose - IIPP).

supporting urban policymaking

The CUI is a collaboration between UCL IIPP, UN Habitat and LSE Cities, and was formed in response to UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ call to see the pandemic as an “opportunity to reflect and reset how we live, interact and rebuild our cities.” It will work to empower cities to become healthier, fairer and more environmentally responsive.

The CUI inugural session will take place at the British Academy in London on Wednesday 3 November 2021 – coinciding with COP26 – and will be opened by Mr Guterres. Speakers at the launch will include Professor Mazzucato, co-chair Professor Ricky Burdett (Director of LSE Cities at the London School of Economics) and mayors from cities including New Orleans, Barcelona and Bogota, with Maimunah Mohd Sharif (Executive Director of UN Habitat).

The CUI’s mission is to bring urban issues to the forefront in global debates, influence agenda at the highest levels of the UN and the international community and promote experimentation to overcome barriers to innovation and progressive policymaking at city level. Work will be organised around three ambitious challenges: the just city; the healthy city; the green city.

Professor Mazzucato said: “Cities sit at the heart of delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals – but are held back by out-of-date governance structures and economic reasoning. The Council on Urban Initiatives will reimagine the tools, practices and governance frameworks cities need to address society’s most urgent grand challenges, from climate to health and digitalisation.” 

Professor Burdett said: “Bringing together urban leaders who have transformed their cities – from Barcelona to Bogota – with activists, thinkers and practitioners, creates a real opportunity to reimagine the way cities are planned and decisions are made to make cities fairer, healthier and greener.” 

Maimunah Mohd Sharif said: “The success of society in the 21st century depends on our collective response to interlinked global crises. We need a bold new narrative now. We need to bring visionary Mayors to the table to help address these interlinked global crises and reframe the discourse on the role of cities, urban governance, design and planning. It will provide big-picture insight to front-line urban decision-makers around the world.” 

The CUI initially comprises 16 mayors, academics and policy stakeholders from cities around the world including Mumbai, Stockholm, Mexico City and Accra.




Media contact

Kate Corry

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 6995

Email: k.corry [at] ucl.ac.uk