Professor Martha Schteingart of El Colegio de Mexico, (Mexico City) is the winner of this year’s UN-HABITAT Lecture Award. The Award recognises outstanding and sustained contribution in the field of human settlements.
Professor Schteingart delivered the winning lecture entitled “Urban Problems and Policies in Latin America: Truths and Fallacies” on 4 October, 2007 during the international conference on ‘The State of Safety and Security in World Cities, 2007’ in Monterrey, Mexico.
During the ceremony, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka presented an engraved plaque to Professor Schteingart and announced a prize of US$10,000 as part of the Award. A panel of three human settlements experts composed of Professor Winnie Mitullah of the University of Nairobi, Professor Alfonso Iracheta of the El Colegio Mexiquense and Dr Graham Tipple of Newcastle University, presented their thoughts on Professor Schteingart’ lecture. A plenary discussion followed.
In her lecture, Professor Schteingart highlighted key experiences and findings arising from her extended academic career in the field of human settlements. She explored, within the context of Latin America, historical shifts and key trends in the areas of urban land and housing, irregular settlements, social and urban policies, habitat and health, settlement regularization and upgrading, social division and globalization, urban environment and urban safety.
Professor Schteingart called for a more functional link between the academic sector, poor communities and civil society to contradict existing inconsistencies and contradictions between knowledge and approaches. She also identified the state as a key partner in knowledge generation as well as subsequent action. She emphasised the key role of researchers in providing the necessary knowledge to inform actions for sustainable urban development.