Visitors to the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures in the Spanish city of Barcelona can now see some of the world’s latest developments in urban innovation at a dazzling exhibition of best practices and ideas from countries around the world.
The Best Practices City and Water Exhibit, officially opened on 9 May, features over 50 ideas representing examples of proven solutions to common social, economic and environmental problems of an urbanising world. The objective of the Best Practices City is to display the innovations in a way that is stimulating and easy to understand.
Each display at the Best Practices city is portrayed by a photograph, a graphic or an object, requiring a minimal amount of explanatory text. The practices are grouped in three broad categories – solutions that each and everyone of use can initiate within our respective communities, those that require partnerships with other stakeholders, and those that point to what is possible when there is an enabling policy framework. The Best Practices team and the UFC worked together for several months to identify the best ideas with a potential for a compelling visual display. They also developed a short three-minute audio-visual presentation known as the Oracle.
The Water Exhibit is entitled, “Water Talks – Are You Listening?” It is designed to raise awareness in 15 key areas related to fresh water usage. It shows where the water we use every day comes from, how we use it, and what happens to it. The graphic display portrays this in the form of 15 large transparent columns. One side of each column presents some facts and figures, while another side is inscribed with a proverb that serves to remind us how different cultures have perceived and respected fresh water. The exhibition was conceived and designed jointly by the Best Practices team of UN-HABITAT, the International Secretariat for Water, the UFC and Green Cross.
The Universal Forum of Cultures, a five-month urban extravaganza of festivities, music, and art on Barcelona’s newly refurbished waterfront, will culminate in September with the world’s first international hip-hop concert and UN-HABITAT’s World Urban Forum. More than five million people, including figures such as the Dalai Lama, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, national and local government representatives and some of the world’s most popular music and film stars, are expected to visit the Spanish Mediterranean port city for during the festival 9 May to 24 September.