EMBARQ to host “Cities Safer by Design for All” event at UN-HABITAT World Urban Forum
The EMBARQ Network is set to host a “Cities Safer by Design for All” networking event at the seventh annual UN-HABITAT World Urban Forum (WUF7), which will be held in Medellín, Colombia from April 5 - 11, 2014. The event will focus on the potential of urban design to make cities safer and more inclusive for all citizens.
World Urban Forum will convene diverse stakeholders in urbanization
The World Urban Forum (WUF) is a non-legislative technical forum organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) every two years in order to examine the most pressing global issues related to human settlements. As the “world’s premier conference on cities,” WUF gathers a wide range of experts to discuss rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, economies, climate change, and policy. Stakeholders who participate in the Forum generally include national, regional, and local governments, non-governmental organizations – including EMBARQ, the sustainable transport and urban development program of the World Resources Institute (WRI) – professionals, academics, development finance institutions, and various international agencies.
With the theme, “Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life,” this year’s conference is particularly relevant to EMBARQ’s work improving the quality of people’s lives in urban environments by making cities safer by design.
EMBARQ experts to share “Safer by Design” best practices, principles, and research
Experts from across EMBARQ’s global network, including representatives from EMBARQ Brazil, EMBARQ Mexico, and EMBARQ India, will collaborate to host the “Safer by Design” side event on April 11. The event will present the work that EMBARQ and its partners are performing around the world in an effort to make cities safer through urban design and planning for urban residents and visitors alike – including the poor, children, elderly, both men and women, and “vulnerable road users,” defined as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
With traffic fatalities currently claiming over 1.2 million deaths annually – 91% of which occur in low-income and middle-income countries – EMBARQ’s work in cities in emerging economies has never been more critical. And since about half of global traffic fatalities occur in cities, it’s important to focus on urban development interventions that can improve traffic safety for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists. Thus, EMBARQ’s “Safer by Design” event will share best practices, principles, and key research that can help transform cities and transport options by focusing on the needs of people instead of vehicles. The event will also feature the launch of a new EMBARQ publication on the topic.
EMBARQ urban development and accessibility and health and road safety experts prepare for WUF7
Robin King, EMBARQ’s Director of Urban Development and Accessibility, and Ben Welle, Senior Associate for Health and Road Safety, are spearheading the preparation for EMBARQ’s side event at WUF7. Both King and Welle emphasized the importance of the event for the EMBARQ Network and the thousands of urban residents who live in cities where EMBARQ is working.
“UN-HABITAT plays a key role in hosting the World Urban Forum, the largest international gathering of city-related stakeholders from a wide range of sectors and perspectives working to improve the quality of life in cities. We are pleased that the World Urban Forum will focus on equitable urban development, which complements the approach EMBARQ takes to make cities safe, connected, and sustainable, opening opportunities for residents,” said King. “Following the 2013 UN-HABITAT Global Report on Human Settlements, which focused on sustainable urban mobility, it’s impossible to ignore the urgent need at a high level for making cities safer and more accessible through urban design and transport planning.”
“The choices that governments and urban and transport planners make when designing cities don’t take place in a vacuum,” added Welle. “They have real and immediate impacts on the lives of millions of urban residents. The work that EMBARQ will present at WUF7 is aimed towards helping city and national leaders make urban design and transport choices that go to the core of improving quality of life - reducing traffic fatalities, improving the air people breath, and providing active, healthy options to travel and enjoy public space in a city.”