Practice examples


woman gathering water

Splash is a social justice organization that is working with the City Level Programme for Action network to reach all 2,000 government schools in Kolkata, India with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes by 2021. Its model encompasses scaled manufacturing, efficient supply chains, and strategic partnerships as well as detailed programme documentation of best practices and is intended for replication across the country. Today, Splash serves 106 schools, 3 orphanages and 3 shelters, reaching 41,681 children. Click here to learn more.

group of children looking out a car window

Sweden’s Vision Zero road safety policy, introduced in the late 1990s, uses car-free play areas, bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and tunnels to protect vulnerable road users. Where it is not possible to separate motor traffic from others on the road, measures such as speed limits are used to safeguard pedestrians. Click here to learn more.

aisle view of city bus

The city of Bogota, Colombia has been implementing strategies to cater to the needs of non-motorized road users, improving public transport and significantly decreasing transit times. Between 1995 and 2002, the city introduced dedicated cycling and pedestrian-only routes, excluded cars from its centre and developed a rapid transit bus system capable of carrying 700,000 people a day. Subsequently, traffic fatalities fell by 50 per cent. Click here to learn more.

group of African women

Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI) is a network of community-based organizations of the urban poor living in hundreds of informal settlements and towns located in 32 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Through Know Your City, a global campaign of SDI and United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A), slum dwellers collect city-wide data and information on informal settlements. This work creates alternative systems of knowledge that are owned by the communities and have become the basis of a unique social and political argument that supports an informed and united voice of the urban poor. SDI’s databases are becoming the largest repositories of informal settlement data in the world. Click here to learn more.

man giving instruction

Map Kibera is an initiative that in 2009 empowered young residents of Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, to create the first digital map of the area, which was previously a blank spot on the map. The initiative has since expanded into a full community information and media project that uses tools like mapping, SMS, blogging and video to give visibility to marginalized communities. The model has been replicated in Mathare and Mukuru slums of Nairobi. Click here to learn more.

graphic of school setting

The Traffic Agent is an app that allows children in Oslo to report on the safety of their streets in real-time. They can report, for example, when they come across a difficult crossing on the street or an area of heavy traffic. Their location is tracked using GPS so researchers can pinpoint exactly where these hazards are. Solutions are reported to have been local and immediate. The app was created by the Research Council of Norway and consultancy Capgemini, Rørholt. Click here to read more about Traffic Agent.

group of boys at computer

Block by Block is a global initiative that uses the popular video game Minecraft to involve youth in the planning process in urban areas by giving them the opportunity to show planners and decision makers how they would like to see their cities in the future. The project is a collaboration between Mojang, the creators of Minecraft and UN-Habitat. The first project was carried out in Kibera, Nairobi, one of Africa’s largest slums. Since 2016, the initiative has also raised funds for the improvement of public spaces worldwide with the support of Mojang and Microsoft. Click here to learn more.

overview of city block

Superblocks provides a new model for mobility that restructures the typical urban road network to improve both the availability and quality of public space for pedestrian traffic without major changes in urban planning. Superblocks are currently being constructed (or approved for construction) in several, topologically diverse Spanish cities, including in different districts of Barcelona. In the district of Gràcia, Superblocks achieved first prize for their innovation from BMW in 2011 and were recognized as a sustainable Best Practice by UN-Habitat in 2010. Click here to learn more.

traffic on highway

Y4E (Youth for Environment) is a social initiative launched in 2014 by college students concerned about environmental protection in Beijing. With the support of local government departments, community volunteers and civil society organizations, the initiative raises awareness of the city’s environmental issues, drawing special attention to the high levels of air pollution. Currently, Y4E works together with Jia Cui Environmental Promotive Center and the UN Environment Programme to promote the “Sustainable Urban Development and Livable Garden Community – China Programme” on promoting sustainable urban technologies, policies and climate change measures in China. Click here to read more about the Y4E initiative.