In December 2016, the New Urban Agenda was adopted by acclamation by all 193 member nations of the UN General Assembly.  This watershed document contains important language about compact and resource efficient urban form, about social capital and capacity development, about polycentric governance, participation and subsidiarity, and about the importance of public space.

The New Urban Agenda contains nine paragraphs that deal with the key role of public spaces as “drivers of social and economic development,” “enhancing safety and security, favoring social and inter-generational interaction and the appreciation of diversity” as well as “promoting walkability and cycling towards improving health and well- being.”

The Future of Places Research network will ask key questions about implementing the New urban Agenda, and it will disseminate solutions as they are identified. What are the benefits of public space systems, including benefits for different sectors of society, notably disadvantaged populations? What are the consequences of their loss, through privatization, or through inadequate planning of both quantity and quality? What are the strategies and mechanisms by which public space systems can be improved? Who are the actors that can bring about positive change, from public, private and civil sectors? What are the next steps in implementing this part of the New Urban Agenda?