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Architects Urged to Help Improve Slums

UN Urban Development Programme Chief Urges Architects to Help Improve Slums

New York, Jul 5 2005 1:00PM

With major cities becoming more and more crowded, the head of the United Nations programme for sustainable housing and urban development has challenged architects to use their expertise and take the lead in the global race to improve living conditions of nearly 1 billion slum dwellers around the world.

"Despite significant efforts by the international community, governments, the private sector, civil society and professionals, living and housing conditions, particularly in developing countries, have not improved," said Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).

There were now more slum dwellers in the world today than three decades ago, and their number was rapidly increasing, she said in a statement delivered on her behalf by the head of UN-HABITAT's Global Division, Mr. Lars Reutersward, at the 22nd World Congress of the International Union of Architects, in Istanbul, Turkey.

"This is the great challenge for us all. UN-HABITAT considers architects and planners, both in their policy-making and professional capacities, as key partners in taking up this challenge," she said, adding: "We believe that the International Union of Architects, representing nearly one-and-a-half million professionals worldwide, has a significant role and contribution to make in raising awareness of these trends and in bringing about change."

Mrs. Tibaijuka said that the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing world were not limited to developing countries. Many cities in the North were also witnessing inner city decline, persistent unemployment, social exclusion, and urban sprawl. These issues could not be taken lightly because they undermined decades of achievement and social and economic progress. They represented patterns in the use of land, water and energy that were simply unsustainable.

ENDS

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