What do urban governance and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) have in common? How does it impact citizen engagement and city building?
Those were some of the questions I had in mind when I was invited to give a guest lecture in the Governance Leadership & Ethics (GLE) course at Huron University. GLE goal is to “contribute to the well-being of their local and global communities” and in order to do that they need to understand “new decision-making models” and “the know-how for leadership that is inclusive, accountable and effective”.
You can watch my presentation here and download the slidedeck:
The core principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is integration. In terms of the triple bottom line (social, economic and environmental targets) and cross-sector collaboration.
The SDGs offer a platform for new models of city governance, to enable coordination, partnerships, and new ways of working among multiple community stakeholders, including local businesses, civil society, and universities. This requires a shift in mindset and a collaborative spirit, and can prove useful in overcoming the inherent fragmentation among different sectors within the city.Brookings Institution
This shift is already under way. Not long ago we had in our city:
- An economic roadmap plan and a poverty reduction plan (reports available here). Both created around the same by two parallel networks without much communication. Fast forward a few years and we see the emergence of the Inclusive Economy London bridging that gap
- We declared a climate emergency and even though we still have a $100million budget to subsidize the #1 source of GHG emissions, we also created a screening tool to evaluate infrastructure projects more holistically.
- We mobilized hundreds of local champions in the LCRN. Granted that the solutions address the here and the now not the systemic issues. That is ok, that was the first round. Now we are turning our attention to long-term solutions.
What can we learn about the nature of cities from the nature of man? If the nature of man is self-organizing, evolutionary, developmental, complex, adaptive and co-constructed with his environment, then how does the city reflect this nature …Integral City
Our real challenge is not technical, we mastered technology, we are capable of doing wonderful things. It is also not a matter of resources, we still have abundance and life (although we are destroying it at a fast pace). Our real challenge is human behaviour. It is our relationship with others, with our city and even with ourselves. We need to nurture all those relationships with our heads, hearts and hands.