Habitat Unit

October 20, 2016 | Quito, Ecuador

Co-producing Knowledge for Action. What new partnerships are needed to build capacity for implementing the New Urban Agenda?

Urban experts and academicians all too often belief that cities and urbanisation processes are by now thoroughly conceptualised and understood, pointing fingers at politicians for not applying available knowledge properly to more effective urban policies. But is it really just a matter of empowering and resourcing existing knowledge institutions to deliver more training and capacity building?

The New Urban Agenda acknowledges the need for capacity development as precondition and driver for successful implementation. It does not discuss how. This panel would like to take the challenges posed by the New Urban Agenda as an opportunity to question and think beyond current capacity building formats. If we appreciate that cities are dynamic sites of coproduction, which are shaped by the rationalities and actions by a multitude of actors, privileging technical knowledge alone will not suffice to produce truly “integrated solutions” as demanded by the New Urban Agenda. Instead we should transcend traditional hierarchisations and sectoralisation of knowledge and seek now formats of “co-producing” urban knowledge and policies. What transdisciplinary formats of knowledge production and dissemination are needed to absorb different approaches and languages – where the knowledge and expertise of residents, local initiatives, civil society as a whole is brought into conversation with that of technicians and administrators.

Can traditional knowledge trusts such as universities and training centres respond to the challenges posed by the NUA? What new knowledge partnership arrangements need to be put in place post-Quito to build in civil society not as a target group, but as a co-producer of urban knowledge? What role could these new partnerships assume in the Follow Up and Review of the New Urban Agenda and the urban dimension of the Agenda 2030?


  • Gabriela Suárez Buitron, CITE FLACSO, Quito
  • Sonia M. Dias, Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), Belo Horizonte/ Manchester
  • Günter Meinert, GIZ/ Frankfurt
  • Jason Prince, Concordia University, Montreal
  • Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

Panel discussion at the "World Stage“, Next City stand (Section B booth 30) with support from the Ford, Kresge and MacArthur Foundations, and in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Technische Universität Berlin.

October 20, 4 – 4.50pm; The World Stage, Next City (Section B booth 30).