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On the way to Habitat III: Ecocity identity and sense of place

Presented at Ecocities World Summit 2015. Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. - 11-13 Octobre - . 2015
Abstract As stated in the fifth City We Need principle, promoted by UN-HABITAT, the future city we need has a singular identity and sense of place. Within this framework, this presentation highlights experiences of the Ecocity movement to advance methods, practices and tools to inform the new urban agenda of UN-HABITAT III. Based on three case-studies – Los-Angeles, Abu Dhabi and Geneva – this study aims to understand the roles that identity and sense of place play in the formulation of a successful Ecocity. These three cities are as much alike as they are different. Even though they have different climate, population size and culture, they share common characteristics, such as the fact that they are international hubs: Los Angeles is a hub for the entertainment industry and Abu Dhabi is a fast-growing financial hub, while Geneva is well-known for hosting many international organizations. This research draws upon numerous field works, particularly in the spearhead projects of each city: (i) L.A. River Project, which is based on local initiatives implying citizens and promoting eco-literacy as well as eco-neighborhoods through private-public-partnerships; (ii) Masdar City as for Abu Dhabi, which is a planned city project that combines eco-friendly innovations and cutting-edge technologies with traditional Middle-Eastern architectural techniques; (iii) Carl Vogt neighborhood for the city of Geneva, which is a neighborhood in which innovative ways to involve and bring together citizens and academics to create a new sustainable identity of the neighborhood are being implemented. Throughout several observations on the ground, this practical study presents the differentiated paths that these three cities are taking in order to shift towards an Ecocity and to develop a strong identity and sense of place around it. Moreover, it introduces the best practices that are associated with this shift, each of these practices playing an important role in the formulation of an Ecocity. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all Ecocity model, this work emphasizes on the fact that cities could and should learn from each other, exchange ideas and best practices but also worst practices and mistakes done by others. In conclusion, this presentation draws attention to the crucial need for knowledge sharing and underlines that it should be established as a long-term process, because building Ecocity identity and sense of place is a never-ending and iterative process.
Keywords EcocitiesHabitat IIICity we needIdentitySense of place
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Research group Pôle/Institut Gouvernance de l'environnement et développement territorial (PI-GEDT)
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CHARRIERE, Elodie, ROHAT, Guillaume Thibaut. On the way to Habitat III: Ecocity identity and sense of place. In: Ecocities World Summit 2015. Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. 2015. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:76265

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Deposited on : 2015-10-19

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