Deep Dive Discussions

Deep Dive Discussions 1.3 on Urban and Territorial Planning

Moving beyond Business-as-Usual: The Future of Public Spaces in Asia-Pacific Cities

Day 1 – Tuesday, 15 October 2019
16:30 - 18:00
Ballroom 3
Mr. Jose Chong
Programme Management Officer
Nora Steurer
Ms. Celine D’Cruz
Block by Block
Vice President
Mr. Hitoshi Ara
Urban and Regional Development, JICA
Group Director
Mr. Hannes Juhlin Lagrelius
World Blind Union
Program Officer
Ms. Thi Kieu Than Ha TRAN
HealthBridge Foundation
Manager of Liveable Cities Programme
Dr. Kalpana Vishwanath
Mr. Xavier Castellanos
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Regional Director for Asia Pacific
Dato' Ar. Yew Tung Seang
City Council of Penang Island
Ms. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi
United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG-ASPAC)
Secretary General
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Lead Organization
Partner Organizer(s)
Lead Organizer(s)

Jose Chong, Programme Management Officer, UN-Habitat

Rogier Van Den Berg, Programme Management Officer, UN-Habitat


Public spaces are a key component to achieve socially inclusive, integrated, connected, accessible, environmentally sustainable and safe cities as recognized in the New Urban Agenda and SDGs. At the same time, the amount of land allocated to quality public spaces is reducing while rapidly urbanizing and transforming Asia-Pacific cities, replaced by commercialized private or semi-public buildings leading to segregated accessibility to public spaces at the city-wide level.

In this Deep Dive discussion, experts, local government officers, and urban practitioners will present different approaches and examples on integrating public spaces have contributed to achieve more accessible, safe and inclusive cities for all. More specifically, the participants will have the opportunity to (1) discuss challenges, good planning practices, and innovative tools to create public spaces in the Asia-Pacific context; (2) create alternative visions for what an authentic, inclusive, integrated, and safe public space means in 2030 in the context of Asia-Pacific cities.

Given the challenges of spatial segregation, social inequalities, populational growth, limited municipal finances, and the substantive role informal economy play, what are the strategies society should undertake to promote urban revitalization and create inclusive public spaces?

Which kind of innovative approaches to create safe and inclusive public spaces in the context of limited availability of finances and land, high populational density, and informality?

Participants are welcomed to this discussion on regional models that reflect the local cultures and economies, instead of trying to replicate models and principles from other regions.

The lead organizers for these thematic tracks were:
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat)

Objectives of the Session
Introduction of the Topic
Guiding Questions

Save the date!
Join us at the seventh session of the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF7) in Penang, Malaysia from 15 to 17 October 2019