Shaping informed cities - Habitat III Urban future event

  • GCRO
  • Date of publication: 19 October 2016

Urban observatories can play critical roles in decision-making, through providing relevant research and analysis for the successful implementation of New Urban Agenda. These institutions can inform specific policy decisions, implementation and monitoring, and promote inclusive approaches to governance. The Urban Future event at Habitat III 'Shaping Informed Cities: Platforms for knowledge generation and use in urban decision-making' showcases, explores and promotes discussion around the functions of existing institutions involved in the generation and analysis of data to support urban decision-making. In particular, the session provides a platform for discussion around tools and approaches for turning urban-based knowledge in to action, through strengthening the awareness of the imperative for evidence-based policy-making.

These are illustrated through a case study that profiles the work of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), which is a partnership between two local universities (University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand), the Gauteng Provincial Government and organised local government in Gauteng, South Africa. The GCRO is unusual in the context of urban observatories in its engagement with multiple governance levels, taking place across a diverse city-region. GCRO helps to build the knowledge base that government, business, labour, civil society and residents all need to to shape appropriate strategies that will advance a competitive, integrated, sustainable and inclusive Gauteng City-Region (GCR). Follow this link for more information about the GCRO.

The case study includes of one of GCRO’s ongoing projects on Green Assets and Infrastructure, which examines the current state of green infrastructure (GI) in the GCR and, in particular, how GI is valued and how ecosystem services can be mainstreamed into planning. A key component of this research project is the Green Infrastructure CityLab, which facilitates the sharing and co-production of knowledge between provincial and municipal officials, as well as other stakeholders from a range of backgrounds. The CityLab provides the platform where a range of stakeholders along with the GCRO can explore existing GI plans and projects, and consider what is required to collectively build the knowledge base to support a GI approach in municipal planning processes. GCRO recently published a report 'A framework for a green infrastructure planning approach in the Gauteng City-Region' (download here) reflects on the stakeholder engagement process that has been undertaken, primarily through the GI CityLab, to deepen understanding of how GI can be embedded in municipal practice. Follow this link for more information about the Green Assets and Infrastructure project.

'Shaping Informed Cities: Platforms for knowledge generation and use in urban decision-making' is a Habitat III Urban Future event co-organised by UCL City Leadership Lab / UCL STEaPP and the GCRO, held at 5pm on Wednesday 19 October 2016.

Contact details related to this event:

Christina Culwick (GCRO):

Carla-Leanne Washbourne (UCL City Leadership Lab):


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