As a recently graduated urban planner, there is a conference that is currently underway that I was interested to hear about.
The 3rd World Urban Forum aims to bring delegates from around the world, including urban planners, academics, politicians and business people, to take part in discussions and networking sessions designed to promote positive dialogue and co-operation between key players in urban development and city management. These collaborations will be necessary to come up with solutions to make city life sustainable against a backdrop of rising urban populations.
Figures from the United Nations estimate that by the end of 2007, the majority of the world's population will be living in urban areas. The BBC has a interactive map of Urban Growth from the 1950's onward that highlights why this is becoming such an important issue on a global scale.
On the agenda for discussion are items that associated with the trend toward urbanism, including issues of poverty, pollution and urban growth. This five-day meeting is sponsored by the UN Habitat agency and is being held in Vancouver, the western Canadian city that is widely lauded for its high quality of life. This is the third such meeting of its kind, and it occurs 30 years after the first UN-backed meeting, also in Vancouver, to discuss human settlement.