This week, planners, policymakers and urban practitioners from across the world are gathering in Kuala Lumpur for World Urban Forum 9. This story is part of Next City’s coverage of the Forum. For more stories, visit our World Urban Forum 9 page here.
Each day during World Urban Forum 9, Next City is inviting attendees to visit the World Stage for wide-ranging conversations about the principles enshrined in the New Urban Agenda. On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the topics discussed included how conservation can coexist with development in George Town, Malaysia; the importance of making cities accessible to older people and people with disabilities; and a tool to help cities prevent “resilience” from being just a buzzword.
Gallery: World Urban Forum 9, Day One: Conservation, Children’s Cities and More
From left, Think City Program Director Neil Khor, George Town Councilwoman Khoo Salma, and investment banker turned hotelier Chris Ong debate the tension between conservation and modernization in the World Heritage City. "Heritage cities have to continue to be living cities," said Khor, stressing the need for such cities to seek "harmonization between conservation and development."
Sachin Bhoite, an urban designer from the independent design firm Arup, explains the City Resilience Index, a tool to make resilience tangible, practical, and globally applicable to cities. "Resilience has become a buzzword," said Bhoite, adding that a calculated, measurable approach to the concept can help bring it back to earth.
Jens Aerts, an urban planning and policy expert at UNICEF, talks about the need for more child-friendly cities. "I believe we are on the verge of a discipline," he said of the movement to merge children's rights with urban planning. "A lot of cities have space, but if you're a child, you can't use it."
In a conversation about building cities for older people and people with disabilities, (from left) World Enabled President Victor Pineda, Katherine Klein of S.E.R.R., and Sion Jones of HelpAge International stress the importance of building accessible cities from inception rather than trying to fix them later. "It's so much more expensive to retrofit a city after you've made those mistakes," said Klein.