Urban Thinkers Campus Planning the megapolis for climate resilience


on-line webinar and mainly in Dubai Universal Exhibition, Pavilion France



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 ISOCARP, member of the World urban Campaign: Eric Huybrechts (tbc)



Other Partners

Metro-Hub of UN-Habitat




November 2021



Timing of the Campus

14:00 – 16:00 Dubai Local time



Megacities 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 megacities 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 megacities share common problems, these problems are posed differently and with varying intensity depending on the context. The objective of this working group is therefore to report on the knowledge derived from the experiences of megacities 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.

Cities and territories must face difficult challenges: climate change, resilience, energy transition, the emergence of new economic models and the digital revolution. The problems faced by megacities are generally amplified and more complex. They represent a considerable challenge for States and local authorities in terms of management and governance as well as planning. As megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants multiply, some are seeking to strengthen decentralization.

Planning megacities for climate resilience is one of the main challenges of our century.


The UTC will be organized at the beginning of November 2021 at Pavilion France of Dubai Universal Exhibition and online, during the Paris Region Day in the frame of the two weeks dedicated to Sustainable cities.   



Relation to the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs

The UTC is connected with several SDGs:

  • SDG 10 Inequalities: megacities are the place where we find the highest inequalities. Planning megacities 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 megacities 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 megacities.
  • SDG 13 Climate: Climate affect megacities. Megacities 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 megacities.



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 megacities and to create conditions for a change of paradigm in the way to manage and develop megacities.


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 megacities will focus on Climate resilient planning to fix principles to be adopted by institutions, professionals and all actors in planning megacities.



Relation to The City We need

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

  1. The City We Need is socially inclusive and engaging: the preparation of planning at the scale of megacities is a huge challenges, but is covered by very large megacities 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: megacities 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: megacities 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: megacities 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 megacities 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: megacities 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 megacities 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 megacities 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, Metropolis, OECD, World Bank.



Core list of moderators (tbc)


·       Eric Huybrechts, Institut Paris Region, FNAU-MTPA

  • Octavi de la Varga, Metropolis
  • Rafael Forero, Metro-Hub, UN-Habitat


Introduction: Eric Huybrechts

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


  • Greater Istanbul planning institute
  • Tehran Research and Planning Institute
  • Institut Paris Region
  • Moscow: Alexei Muratov (Strelka)
  • Delhi Development Authority
  • Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority
  • Greater Cairo, GOPP
  • Gauteng planning department

Round table

Question & answers

Conclusion: Rafael Forero, Metro-Hub, UN-Habitat


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

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