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Inclusive urban development at the UN Habitat governing council meeting in Nairobi

The UN Habitat Governing Council Meeting takes place in Nairobi from 15-18 April 2013. In collaboration with the European Commission and the Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels, as well as GoDown Arts Centre, ArchiAfrika and Wolff Architects, AAmatters is organising a workshop and a consequent presentation in the ‘off’ programme of the council meeting.

At the invitation of UN Habitat, the EC/BOZAR project Art at Work (expanded since the Kampala Regional conference into Art § Architecture at Work), will advocate in this high-level official forum the role of artists and architects for urban resonance: dream, inclusiveness, and creativity for urban welfare.

Since independences, African artists, particularly photographers, have documented urban life on the Continent, from daily pleasures and struggles, to critical urban, political and environmental issues affecting city life. New aesthetics have emerged, as well as a conscious will by artists to engage in urban development. The growth of contemporary art centres and art biennials in the last 20 years all over the Continent, and their urban programs, attest to this thirst for expression and commitment to the city. A new young generation of African architects is equally socially, culturally and environmentally conscious, placing priority on Africa-relevant resources, design, employment, and sustainability. They offer new approaches to urban planning and development, in tune with urban cultures and environmental issues.

A few best practice cases - researched and compiled by Berend van der Lans of African Architecture Matters and BOZAR - are presented, in the form of an exhibit and a side event, as inspirations for urban planning approaches that enhance social cohesion and stability in the city. A publication has been prepared that can be downloaded as pdf as well.

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