Position Papers are due on February 5th to be considered for the Best Position Paper Award, and February 12th to be considered for any committee award. Submit them to HABITAT@bmun.org.
UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
Head Chair | Patty Midy
Vice-Chairs | Eric Cherwin, Shayna Kothari
Topic 1 | Sea-level Rise & City Planning
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Regardless of personal opinion, data from the past centuries show that sea levels have been rising quite steadily. Many scientists have confirmed that we should expect to continue to see this sort of rise for the next generations. Human settlement regions such as coastal areas, low lying lands (eg: floodplains) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are all at greater risk of damage from sea level rise than inland areas. These damages come in the form of natural disasters, disappearance of coastlines, economic challenges and many more casualties. Unfortunately, we’ve become stuck in a cycle that has done the very opposite of slowing down this rise: we live in a world that is becoming increasingly urbanized, UN-Habitat predictions state that by 2030, 6 out of 10 people will be living in urban areas. Consider all of these cost of building our grandest cities: loss of greenery, increase of pockets of CO2 aiding in the depletion of our ozone layer, increase of pollutants in water runoff, strain on sanitation leading to health issues, the list can go on! So, what can we do to fix any of these issues? UN-Habitat aims to change this story. To change the way we are building and living in our cities.
Topic 2 | Building the Progressive City
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As technology and science continue to move forward in increasingly rapid succession their inclusion in our cities have gained just as much importance as their usage in our daily personal lives. “Engagement” and “participation” have become important vocabulary that must be addressed in discussing evolving cities of the 21st century. While these new technologies are great in increasing mobility, making daily life more efficient, etc, certain parts of their practices often leave out marginalized communities. This eventually leads to greater problems, as cities work best when all residents feel as if they hold stakes within the city itself, when all feel included and listened to. Pierre Clavel was one of the first to discuss the Progressive City, in his book “The Progressive City: Planning and Participation” which made several observations on several American cities (including Berkeley!). In the 21st century it’s important to ask questions such as: would setting city planning policies focused on turning private corporations’ problems (such as reducing carbon footprints) as public government issues ? How can we use our understanding of increasingly globalizing technologies and programs to prepare for such issues? These are the questions we will attempt to discuss and answer as a committee.