The Urban Expansion Program was invited to participate in the Conference on Planning for Rapid Urbanisation in the Commonwealth of Nations that took place in London on February 22nd and 23rd. This conference was sponsored by the Prince's Foundation in partnership with UN-Habitat and served as an opportunity to work towards a methodology for implementing the New Urban Agenda.
The Prince's Foundation launched the rapid urbanization project in November 2016, which seeks to address the pressing challenge the Commonwealth is facing in terms of urbanization. According to the UN World Urbanization Prospects (2014), the urban population in the Commonwealth is going to grow from 879 million in 2015 to an estimate of 1.3 billion by 2030. This increase in urban population challenges the planning capacity of many cities.
With this in mind, the conference gathered key actors to work on UN-Habitat's International Guidelines for Urban & Territorial Planning (IG-UTP), in the context of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. With the philosophy of building upon what has already been developed, the assembled working group strove to make the guidelines easier to implement for rapidly growing cities.
The Marron Institute is at the forefront of promoting orderly urban expansion. It has both academic and practical expertise with rapid urban growth, obtained through collecting data and working with city and national governments around the world. The Institute identified that, of the universe of cities of more than 100,000 people (4,231), some 867 are within countries that are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Roughly a third (29%) of cities in the Commonwealth are rapidly growing and will therefore face substantial physical expansion of their urban extent. The initiative of the Prince's Foundation is therefore timely and relevant and the Marron Institute looks forward to further collaboration.