Message of the UN-Habitat, Executive Director, to the15th Festival of Research and Innovation in Urban Management, Tehran, Iran



Honorable Mayors, distinguished representative, colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

Urbanization is one of the most significant trends of our time. More than half of the world’s population now live in cities and this figure is expected to rise to almost 70% by 2050. Cities are the engine of economic growth innovation and social progress but they also face many complex challenges. We are vulnerable to climate change and natural hazard. They are affected by population density, pollution, congestions, economic and social inequality, inadequate housing and inefficient urban fabrics. We need to address these challenges and create more sustainable resilient and inclusive urban environments for present and future generation by employing Innovative tools based on research and knowledge sharing. We have to harness the potential of cities as complex system that consume energy, process information and adapt to the environment. Our plans actions and endeavors should direct us on how to engage citizen in co-designing the city and its changes especially in the current era. We urban planners and managers need to embark on this task with creativity, rigor and vision. We need to adopt trans-disciplinary and holistic approach that integrates different perspective, disciplines and scales of analysis. We need to use the latest tools and technologies such as BigData, artificial intelligence and multi-layer network modeling to understand the dynamics and interdependencies of urban system. We need to collaborate with other stakeholders such as government, businesses, civil society and academia to develop and implement such Innovative and integrated solution to tackle such complex urban issues.

UN-Habitat has cooperated with the authorities and experts in the Islamic Republic of Iran in diverse areas including, in the development of a National Urban Policy and in the improved resilience of critical urban facilities in Iran. I believe that Iran has an admirable rich history, culture and identity as well as a dynamic and diverse society, economy and environment that can be leveraged for positive urban change. There are valuable heritage and indigenous methods and techniques that can inspire today’s approaches to managing environmental and climate issues not only locally but also globally. So I encourage you not only to develop Innovative solution to urban challenges but also to apply the valuable local knowledge, experience and solution and to document and share them with other expert communities. We have the responsibility and the privilege to shape the future of our cities and our planet. We have the knowledge and the skills to make differ. We have the passions and the motivation to make it happen. I invite you to strongly continue this exciting and rewarding journey together. We can create the cities that we want and need. Together we can make the world a better place. I would like to express my gratitude to all distinguished guests who have participated in the 15th Festival on Research and Innovation on Urban Management in Tehran and I wish you all a fruitful event.

Thank you


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