RMIT hosts the first Ethical Cities Event Series in Barcelona

RMIT is setting the agenda on what it means to live in environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable cities through a series of workshops, symposiums, talks and forums in Barcelona.

The first Ethical Cities: Urban Innovation Forum took place in Barcelona on 6 July.

The series, which ran throughout June and July, included the flagship event of the Ethical Cities:Urban Innovation Forum.

It was delivered by RMIT Europe, the University’s hub in Barcelona.

RMIT Europe’s Executive Director Marta Fernandez said the flagship event fostered dialogue and debate on the issues surrounding transparent, accountable, respectful, democratic and inclusive cities.

“At these events, we asked critical questions such as what makes cities ethical, who is driving the sustainable development of cities, and how can we scale-up innovative solutions that enhance urban living,” she said.

Over 200 attendees from industry, academia and the public sector, including participants from UN-Habitat, the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, the City of Barcelona, the City of Madrid, Agile Ageing Alliance and Neighbourhoods of the Future, took part across the six events, which included:

  • 15 June: General assembly of the Urban Europe Research Alliance (UERA) hosted at RMIT Europe.
  • 16 June: Book launch of Planning for Public Transport Accessibility – An International Sourcebook by RMIT and Curtin University researcher Jan Scheurer and Curtin University researcher Carey Curtis.
  • 6 to 17 June: A two-day symposium on Moving beyond conflict in planning: Towards a critical consensus politics? organised by the Critical Urban Governance Program at the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT and the AESOP Planning/Conflict thematic group.
  • 17 June: An afternoon talk on Know your terrorist credit score, an examination of the way lives are being changed through the rise of machine learning, big data and predictive analytics. Presented by Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research.
  • 5 July: A one-day event for ADAPT-r Day: The public role of design, an initiative designed to answer questions around the role of the creative practitioner within society.
  • 6 July: A one-day event for the Ethical Cities: Urban Innovation Forum, a platform to introduce the concept of ethical cities for the first time in Europe.

Fernandez said the forum on 6 July, the final event of the series, saw participants take on the debate across key urban challenges such as affordable housing and financing, urban energy transitions, and public spaces and inclusion.

“At the end of the day, we delivered innovative, practical and scalable solutions for the local context,” she said.

The recommendations of the day will also feed into UN-Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. They will also be built into the European reference framework on active ageing, which will inform H2020 calls from 2018 in ageing and the built environment.

RMIT Europe’s Ethical Cities: Urban Innovation Forum, is the second time the ethical cities concept has been brought into the global spotlight by RMIT.

Earlier this year, the University hosted the Ethical Cities: Locking in Liveability Urban Thinkers Campus in Melbourne, Australia, an event organised by the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme and World Vision.

And now, it is being presented by RMIT as an urgent objective in Europe.

“At the event, we saw members of the European Union as well as national and local stakeholders gather together for an open discussion on key urban issues,” Fernandez said.

“It resulted in a replication of innovative, plausible solutions that pass the test of practicality.

“We are also aiming to create a model for other forums grounded in the ethical cities concept to take place across Europe.”

Originally published on RMIT News 11 July 2016