Sharing design, innovation and technology for the city prosperity

Urban Thinkers Campus

25 Oct 2017 to 27 Oct 2017

Avenida de Alfonso XIII, 97. 28016 Madrid (Spain) (ESNE building)


Angel Luis Fernández. PhD Professor.
ESNE - Escuela Universitaria de Diseño, Innovación y Tecnología.

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Description of the Campus

The Urban Thinkers Campus model is an initiative of UN-Habitat conceived as an open space for critical exchange between urban researchers, professionals, and decision-makers who believe that urbanization is an opportunity and can lead to positive urban transformations. It is also intended as a platform to build consensus between partners engaged in addressing urbanization challenges and proposing solutions to urban futures.

The first Urban Thinkers in Campus was organized in October 2014 on the theme The City We Need, and brought together urban thinkers and established UN-Habitat partner organizations and constituencies to reflect on current urban challenges and trends and to propose a new paradigm. Building on the previous deliberations of the World Urban Campaign (, this Campus was meant to gather new thinking and strengthen the first campaign position entitled The Future We Want - The City We Need that was prepared from September to December 2013 and launched in March 2014 in New York prior to the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum (April 2014, Medellin). The First Urban Thinkers Campus was acknowledged by participants as a model to pursue for further debates in order to bring partners around the table to negotiate principles, policies, and action planning on key issues that need to be addressed at the Habitat III Conference and built up in the New Urban Agenda.

Subsequently, the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee at its 11th Meeting in October 2014 recommended that other Urban Thinkers Campuses be solicited in order to amplify the urban thinkers’ movement towards Habitat III. Those new campuses would allow strengthening The City We Need position of partners further. From 29 June 2015 to 20 February 2016, Urban Thinkers Campuses have been organized around the framework of The City We Need. engaging 7,847 men and women from 124 countries and 2,137 organizations, representing fourteen constituent groups: Local and Subnational Authorities, Research and Academia, Civil Society Organizations, Grassroots Organizations, Women, Parliamentarians, Children and youth, Business and industries, Foundations and Philanthropies, Professionals, Trade Unions and Workers, Farmers, Indigenous people and the Media.

These constituencies have gathered in 26 Campuses to converge and debate in multiple Urban Thinkers Sessions, Urban Labs, Plenary Debates, Exhibitions, Media and Cinema Sessions organized, under the leadership of the WUC partners. The journey which started in Caserta drove us to Stockholm (Sweden), Kampala (Uganda), Hong Kong (China), New Delhi (India), Palermo (Italy), Nairobi (Kenya), New York (USA), Geneva (Switzerland), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Omaha (USA), Barcelona (Spain), Mexico City (Mexico), Recife (Brazil), Dubai (UAE), Paris (France), Vancouver, Kuching (Malaysia), Chitungwisa (Zimbabwe), Melbourne (Australia), Mannheim (Germany), and ended in Alghero (Italy)

The recommendations made by the Urban Thinkers Campuses were then compiled and distilled by a Drafting Committee which concluded its work on 12 March 2016 to deliver The City We Need 2.0. The manifesto was then adopted unanimously by the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee on 16 March 2016 in Prague/Czech Republic, where they acknowledged the Urban Thinkers Campus as an unprecedented consensus-building process whereby everyone was given a voice through a decentralized model. Never before in the history of UN-Habitat has such a decentralized process been able to engage participants on that scale in a structured dialogue, giving a voice to everyone to build a joint manifesto. The UTC process offers a structured model of participation in multiple locations, allowing people to contribute in a longer time frame while bringing to the table the specificities of different contexts. It builds on both global and local engagement, allows participation from diverse regions, at different times and in different types of sessions allowing dialogue, showcasing, experimentation and consensus building among structured constituent groups and following an agreed format and the same reporting framework for all UTCs.

The City We Need 2.0 presents a new urban paradigm for the 21st century, a vision that was shared with the world before the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), before the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda to disseminate compelling messages around key principles, drivers of change, solutions, and generate commitments.

At the 16th session in Quito in October 2016, the WUC Steering Committee has recommended that a new series of Urban Thinkers Campuses be organized in order to continue engaging stakeholders in the post-Habitat III era. WUC Partners have endorsed a new generation of Urban Thinkers Campuses to be used as platforms for action bringing together all partners to implement the New Urban Agenda towards The City We Need (#TheCityWeNeed)


The Madrid-ESNE Campus

Comparative indexes between cities reveal that there is an intimate relationship between the quality of the life of citizens and the prosperity of them. The proposed Campus aims to explore the role of the different branches of design in improving the living conditions of our cities that directly influence the guarantee of their prosperity.

It also aims to establish what should be the parameters whose control must be developed through concrete actions to monitor and evaluate the maintenance and sustainable growth of urban prosperity.

The areas of consideration and proposal of actions will be all those linked to the activity of advanced design applied to cities. Therefore, these will be the general objectives of the Campus:

  • To identify specific areas of design that can be linked to the prosperity of our cities
  • To define actions combining the improvement of the living conditions of citizens through design with the guarantee of prosperity of our cities
  • In the definition of actions on the city, to formulate programs of "Smart specialization" as an instrument for the transformation of inherited realities, avoiding the generalist processes
  • To explore mechanisms that use design also as an engine of social innovation for the generation of more cohesive societies
  • To stimulate actions to define the future of cities as ecosystems that favor innovation, concentration and transmission of knowledge, initiatives and entrepreneurship.
  • To characterize all actions with a common bottom-up profile to ensure the empowerment of citizens

The areas of consideration and proposal of actions will be all those linked to the activity of advanced design applied to cities.

Specific actions should consider:

    • Changes in planning design
    • Design of processes to improve resilience
    • Proposals for the optimization of urban mobility
    • New tools that promote safe and healthy cities
    • Create new channels to make our cities more affordable, accessible and equitable
    • New instruments for the monitoring and evaluation of the actions


UTC Programme

The meeting will be held at the ESNE facility in Madrid.

There will be 4 Thematic Areas with urban thinkers sessions, urban labs and partners groups sessions:

. Empowering Citizens

. Big Data & Smart City

. Innovations on the Citizens’ Mobility

. The Design of the Urban Regeneration

Urban Thinkers sessions will be organized on key issues of the central theme of the Campus, in which urban thinkers will debate and freely present their proposals. These sessions should produce detailed and complete solutions, frameworks, processes and innovations that can support the Campus action-oriented final result.

In a spirit of learning, the Campus will include Urban Labs to experiment with new practices and models that can inspire participants in their proposals.

The laboratories will focus on new ideas and innovation while simultaneously questioning the viability of the new models being implemented on a significant scale. Participants will always seek the feasibility, verification and implementation of new models. In their capacity as sessions of urban thinkers, they will feed the round tables.

The Campus will include sessions of Partners that will allow an intense exchange of information between the most relevant and significant groups of the city. These sessions will be dedicated to specific discussions and discussions on the key points for the implementation of concrete actions, also feeding round tables. These sessions will be organized in limited groups, with a number of participants that is small enough to allow a discussion oriented to precise results.

The round tables will be crucial for the Campus process as they will mean the point of articulation where the priority areas will be negotiated, the commitments will be put on the table and the roles of each group will be discussed and agreed, agreeing the action plans and the sheet of route. Several round tables will be organized in different areas of action of the UTC.

All results from urban thinkers sessions, urban labs, partners group sessions and round tables will be reported in plenary sessions, at least daily, depending on the action areas and groups involved.

The so described sessions of the 4 thematic areas will take place simultaneously, spread over the course of the three days.

The detailed program is as follows:


Madrid City Council

Alcaldesa de Madrid

Área de Gobierno de Desarrollo Urbano Sostenible

Área de Gobierno de Medio Ambiente y Movilidad

Área de Gobierno de Políticas de Género y Diversidad

Área de Gobierno de Coordinación Territorial y Cooperación Público-Social

Área de Gobierno de Participación Ciudadana, Transparencia y Gobierno Abierto

Área de Gobierno de Equidad, Derechos Sociales y Empleo

Empresa Municipal de Vivienda y Suelo

Medialab Prado

Grupo Político Municipal Ahora Madrid

Grupo Político Municipal Popular

Grupo Político Municipal Socialista

Grupo Político Municipal Ciudadanos

Madrid Regional Government

Dirección General de Urbanismo

Dirección General de Vivienda y Rehabilitación

Consorcio Regional de Transportes. Dirección de Planificación Estratégica y Explotació

Grupo Político Popular

Grupo Político Socialista

Grupo Político Ciudadanos

Grupo Político Podemos

National Government

Ministerio de Fomento. Dirección General de Arquitectura, Vivienda y Suelo

Ayuntamiento de Palma de Mallorca

Universities, educational and research centers

Departamento de Urbanismo y Ordenación del Territorio. Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Instituto "Pascual Madoz" del Territorio, Urbanismo y Medio Ambiente. Universidad Carlos III

Universidad de Málaga

INAP. Instituto Nacional de Administración Pública

IDAE. Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía

ACADE Asociación de Centros Autónomos de Enseñanza Privada

Civilian society and citizens’ groups

FRAVM. Federación Regional de Asociaciones Vecinales de Madrid

AAVV San Fermín

AAVV Ciudad de los Ángeles

Px1NME.Plataforma por nuevo modelo energético

CECU. Confederación Española de Consumidores y Usuarios

ACA. Asociación de Ciencias Ambientales

GTR. Grupo de trabajo en Rehabilitación

Proyecto MARES

ASA. Asociación de Arquitectura y Sostenibilidad


GBC. Green Building Council

FEMP. Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias

COGAM-Colectivo LGTB+ de Madrid

PAH. Plataforma de afectados por la hipoteca

Paisajes Transversales

Young and women

Fundación Mujeres

Consejo de Mujeres del Municipio de Madrid

Fundación Woman's Week

Dirección General de Educación y Juventud. Ayuntamiento de Madrid

Old aged people

UDP. Unión Democrática de Pensionistas y Jubilados de España

Fundación Pilares para la Autonomía Personal

Fundación Amigos de los Mayores

Disabled people

FAMMA. Federación de Asociaciones de Personas con Discapacidad Física y Orgánica de la Comunidad de Madrid

CEAPAT. Centro de Referencia Estatal de Autonomía Personal y Ayudas Técnicas

ONCE. Organización Nacional de Ciegos de España

Food production

Programa Municipal de Huertos Urbanos Comunitarios

Cooperativa Germinando


Ethnical groups






Fundación Secretariado Gitano

Trade Unions

UGT Madrid. Fundación Francisco Largo Caballero

CCOO Madrid. Responsable de Política Social

Economical organizations

Cámara de Comercio

CEIM. Confederación Empresarial de Madrid

ASPRIMA. Asociación de Promotores Inmobiliarios de Madrid


Fundación Rafael del Pino

Fundación ICO

Fundación Montemadrid

Fundación Tomillo

Fundación CONAMA

FUHEM. Fundación Hogar del Empleado

Professional Institutions

Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid

Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos de Madrid

Colegio de Ingenieros Industriales de Madrid

Colegio de Politólogos y Sociólogos de Madrid

Colegio de Geógrafos. Delegación Territorial Madrid

Asociación de Diseñadores de Madrid

ASA. Asociación Sostenibilidad y Arquitectura

GEA21. Grupo de Estudios y Alternativas 21

Private Companies






















. Caecilia Pieri. Associated Researcher. Institut français du Proche-Orient. Paris-Beirut

. José Luis Vallejo. Co-founder of ECOSISTEMA URBANO. Madrid

. Sergio Álvarez Leiva. CPO (Chief Product Officer) CARTO. Madrid

. Salvador Rueda. Director of BCNECOLOGIA. Barcelona

. Silvia Villacañas. General Director of Strategy and Urban Regenaration. Department of Sustainable Urban Development. Madrid City Council

Expected results

The Campus aims to give a new dimension to the solutions identified in the first round of the WUC, exploring the relationship between them and the Urban Prosperity Initiative promoted by UN-HABITAT. Therefore, the UTC will propose actions to develop "solutions", adding others to meet the demands of the "initiative" on the design of tools to monitor and evaluate urban development. The field of action will always be the world of Design in its different modalities and how to apply it to four of the detected solutions.

The activity will focus on how to empower citizens through actions to define the future of cities as ecosystems that foster innovation, concentration and transmission of knowledge, initiatives and entrepreneurship. This is a key point for the resilience of cities.

It will also seek actions that guarantee mobility as one of the central problems of cities that slow their development, threaten their prosperity and generate inequality and damage to social cohesion.

The design has led solutions in the field of exchange, sharing and citizen participation. Solutions that are only at the first level of their possibilities and therefore still allow a wide range of developments, some of which are expected to be seen here

Data are, of course, the key to any evaluation of prosperity, so actions will also be proposed on the best, most creative and safe use of them.

Finally, design is closely related to planning, and planning is the key tool to enable any regenerative process in our cities. It also translates the best aspirations of cities, how they will achieve prosperity and the goals of prosperity in urban developments or reforms. This is why the UTC will seek actions to achieve new design behaviors in planning, more respectful of the environment, citizens and the prosperity of the city itself.

About ESNE

ESNE is a university center for comprehensive training in the fields of design, innovation and technology, contributing to the dynamization and advancement of the creative and digital industry. With a history of more than a decade, currently 1,200 students receive official and specialized university education. The education in our classrooms, meets criteria of academic excellence and its members have a proven track record in the creative, technological, architectural and urban worlds. It also develops intense research and technology transfer activities through its research groups and its links with leading companies in each area of design. Our passion for creativity, combined with new technologies, also materializes in specialized and state-of-the-art facilities, making ESNE a leading university center in the training of future designers.

General Manager: Rafael Díaz

Secretary-General: Alberto López Rosado

The Campus is a Project of the Urban Design Research Center of ESNE (Head: Ángel Luis Fernández. Ph.D Architect)


Registration (free):