UN-HABITAT on Wednesday launched its new URBAN GATEWAY , an online community to help cities and urban practitioners across the world unite to share knowledge and take action for sustainable cities in a rapidly urbanising world.
The website, www.urbangateway.org was officially launched by UN-HABITAT Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos during the twenty-third biennial meeting of governments in the Governing Council which oversees the agency.
The website is the first internet based platform of its kind that will enable everyone involved in cities, urban planning, and urban management, policy makers, academics and neighbourhoods to keep abreast of developments as the world urbanizes faster than ever before.
"With half the global population now living in towns and cities, and with projections showing that in little over a generation from now two-thirds of humanity will be living in towns and cities, this new Urban Gateway is designed to help us remain closely up to date with the latest, the smartest and most innovative ideas to ensure a sustainable urban future," said Dr Clos.
Users of the Gateway, which has been supported by the Swedish International Development Agency, and PublicZone, a British company that helps organizations use digital technology to improve people's lives, will be able to find and contact other members, form common interest groups, offer and apply for opportunities, share experiences and get the latest local and global news on urban issues in their language.
The website is expected to maintain the momentum, discussions and networks developed at the World Urban Forum meetings, strengthen partnerships and highlight the impact of UN-HABITAT's World Urban Campaign for better, greener and more equitable, more livable and safer cities with better opportunities for all.
"It enables us at UN-HABITAT and our outside partners to network, exchange knowledge, discuss issues and share opportunities related to sustainable urbanization worldwide," said Dr Clos.
Spatial features are expected to be added in the next phase of the Gateway to allow users to zoom into a particular city and find out about the urban conditions, such as access urban services, and innovations to tackle city problems, said Ms. Jane Nyakairu, Chief of UN-HABITAT's Information Services Section.