World Urban Forum

World Urban Forum

In February of 2018, global leaders came together in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the World Urban Forum, a UN-Habitat conference that examines urbanization and promotes sustainable development. 

Penn research centers partnered across disciplinary boundaries to provide an authoritative voice at the conference with timely research. Representatives from the Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR), the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, and Perry World House made up the delegation of a dozen faculty and staff members. Penn’s participation included an exhibition highlighting each center’s initiatives, a white paper series and presentations by experts from their extended networks. 

Professor Eugénie Birch, co-director of Penn IUR, was instrumental to establishing the New Urban Agenda—the thematic framework for this year’s Forum, during the United Nations’ landmark Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador. 

Birch, also the Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research at PennDesign, is an influential scholar and educator whose books Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina and Slums: How Informal Real Estate Markets Work are key texts in understanding the biggest threats facing cities in developing nations. 

By showcasing research that considers urbanization from a variety of angles, PennDesign is driving global policy conversations and helping to shape sustainable cities of the future.