Urban Thinkers Campus Planning the African metropolis for Climate resilience



Lead organizer

FNAU-MTPA, partner of WUC, member of Habitat professional Forum: Brigitte Bariol



Institut Paris Region, member of the World urban Campaign: Fouad Awada


Other Partners

Metro-Hub of UN-Habitat




Timing of the Campus

14:00 – 17:00 Dakar Local time






Metropolises are today at the center of global production and the social and political transformation of contemporary societies. Their role as important nodes of global networks has expanded. Tertiary activities have developed in poles dedicated to service companies, while industrial production has tended to develop in new strategic centers for the mobilization of specific products. Thus, the metropolises ended up representing distinct, often sprawling regional spatial formations, after undergoing a major transformation brought about by this new globalized world economy. Their organization today obeys a principle of polycentrism, their center being extended by new urban extensions linking different poles of centrality capable of attracting economic, social and political activities.


While all metropolises share common problems, these problems are posed differently in Africa with varying intensity depending on the context: rapid urban pace, lack of financing to deliver public services and infrastructures. The objective of this urban campus is therefore to report on the knowledge derived from the experiences of metropolises in Africa and to identify specific issues based on existing differences such as the different responses to climate change, adaptation to technological and environmental transition, resilience in complex organizational systems, etc.


The Urban Thinkers Campus will be organized in September 2021 during the Climate chance congress and the CODATU congress to be held in Dakar.   


Relation to the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs

The UTC is connected with several SDGs:

  • SDG 10 Inequalities: metropolises are the place where we find the highest inequalities. Planning metropolises should mitigate the impacts on the most vulnerable, limit real estate speculation, offer economic activities based on social interaction, culture and innovation.
  • SDG 11 on cities. Planning resilient metropolises for the climate is one of the biggest challenge of our century. Compact city model to reduce carbon footprint of cities, Net Zero land take, Net Zero GHG emission and Circular economy are key orientations to take into consideration when planning metropolises.
  • SDG 13 Climate: Climate affect metropolises. Metropolises affect the climate. Mitigation and adaptation are crucial to face risks due to climate change and to reduce human activities impact on climate change. Climate challenge changes the priorities and the approach to reach a new paradigm for planning metropolises.


Climate Action (how relates and contribute to Climate action)

Climate change adaptation and mitigation is the biggest challenge for the current century. Crisis represent opportunities to make cities different, to make decision makers aware on innovative ways to plan metropolises and to create conditions for a change of paradigm in the way to manage and develop metropolises in Africa.


Strategic projects can make the city more resilient to face climate change with new green spaces and new urban planning regulation to cool the city, reduce energy consumption, manage better water resources, reduce flooding risks, adopt new mobility patterns.


The session on Planning the metropolises in Africa will focus on Climate resilient planning to fix principles to be adopted by institutions, professionals and all actors in planning metropolises.



Relation to The City We need

The City We need focused on 10 principles that cross planning metropolises at different levels :

  1. The City We Need is socially inclusive and engaging: the preparation of planning at the scale of metropolises is a huge challenges, but is covered by very large metropolises like Paris, Buenos Aires, New York or Sao Paolo showing the way to make planning an engaging process for citizen engagement and inclusiveness
  2. The City We Need is affordable, accessible and equitable: metropolises are facing the highest inequalities and planning can contribute to mitigate inequalities by providing better access to affordable housing and public services.
  3. The City We Need is economically vibrant and inclusive: metropolises are the engine of the world economy. They offer more flexibility for job accessibility but should be more inclusive to avoid leaving vulnerable people behind.
  4. The City We Need is collectively managed and democratically governed: metropolises are based on very complex governance systems that cross multilevel governments, multi actors and multi sectors. This complexity should be at the service of citizen representation and find the way to offer the voice to citizens, inhabitants and users.  
  5. The City We Need fosters cohesive territorial development: this is the spirit of planning.
  6. The City We Need is regenerative and resilient: this is the core of the webinar, to show resilient solutions through policies, strategies and actions provided by metropolises for the climate
  7. The City We Need has shared identities and sense of place: the question of metropolitan identity is linked with the metropolitan heritage concept and the legitimacy of metropolitan governance. Planning the megacity cross directly the question of power, territory and sense of place for citizens
  8. The City We Need is well planned, walkable, and transit-friendly: quality of life and of planning will be discussed
  9. The City We Need is safe, healthy and promotes well-being: metropolises are the most affected areas by pandemics. Then health is now considered as top priority to take into consideration to change planning methodology and contents.
  10. The City We Need learns and innovates: innovative solutions are crucial to change the paradigm of planning to tackle with the climate change challenges


Anticipated results

The panel discussion will highlight the innovative approach adopted or in preparation by metropolises to face climate change through adaptation and mitigation. Planning is a key tool to mobilize actors and territories around a common vision and dedicated tools for the medium and long range.

The discussion will launch an international working group of metropolises planning agencies to develop innovative approach based on best practices and shared experiences. It will be managed by MTPA, the global network of metropolitan and territorial planning agencies with the support of UN-Habitat, and Metropolis.



Core list of moderators (tbc)


Marianne Malez, FNAU-MTPA

Eric Huybrechts, Institut paris Region



Introduction: Eric Huybrechts

Keynote speaker: Octavi de la Varga, general Secretary of Metropolis


Panel with several large cities (Dakar, Greater Abidjan, Algiers, Lagos, Kinshasa, Casablanca, Gauteng, Cairo)


Round table

Question & answers


Conclusion: Remy Sietchiping, Metro-Hub, UN-Habitat


For more information about this event,  please contact with Ms. Agnès Charlotte Bickart Senior Manager for Institutional relations