World Urban Forum (Vancouver) – day two

It’s day two at World Urban Forum III in Vancouver. As the Wellesley Institute’s representative, I’m meeting colleagues working on housing, health and other urban issues from around the world. Some of the stories are sobering, some are inspiring.

WUFIII is hosted by UN Habitat, the housing and human settlements agency of the United Nations. It’s not a formal decision-making meeting, which means that there is less bureaucracy and more of a chance for exchanges between people. Some of the pairings are quite astonishing: The vice-president of the Phillipines (which recently ordered the mass eviction of 150,000 families) confronted by a slum-dweller from that country.

The buzz among delegates is powerful. As stories are shared, people find common concerns as well as common solutions.

It’s not such a big world, after all.