Open Sessions

SOU 102 - Creating Safe, Inclusive and Accessible Public Spaces in urban Africa: From inventory to implementation

23 Nov

23 November

9:30 to 12:30

Venue: Tanger



Tel: +254 20 7621234




Public Spaces in urban Africa are so complex, especially so against the backdrop of rapid urbanisation, informality, migration, climate change and increasing socio-economic volatility. In principle, they are accessible to all people, regardless of their income and personal circumstances. They are places where people meet and interact; socialize and discover common passions, fears and aspirations; and where they affirm their shared rights to the city. In practice, however, many cities, sub-national and local governments are struggling with competing needs and priorities, making universal access to quality, safe and inclusive public spaces an elusive idea.

This training session seeks to reflect on challenges and opportunities for implementing SDG 11.7 in urban Africa. Goal 11.7 is a call to action on national governments and city leaders to provide universal access to safe, inclusive, inclusive and accessible public spaces, particularly for women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities by 2030.  The training will cover best practices from various cities, showcasing innovations on building urban safety, and city resilience through public spaces, and sharing experiences and strategies on how to provide, improve and secure safe, inclusive, vibrant, and accessible public spaces. Furthermore, it will provide city leaders with basic steps on conducting citywide inventories and assessments of public spaces. It draws from the experiences UN-Habitat’s Global Program on Public Space’s work in Nairobi (KE), Kisumu (KE), Durban (SA), Addis Ababa (ET) and Bamenda (CMR), KTH Future of Places’ work on public spaces and placemaking, and Johannesburg’s experience in enhancing quality of life through public spaces. This training is envisioned as a learning exchange that brings together city leaders and new players in the urban development agenda including the academia, development partners and civil society organizations.

  1. To gain an insight into what safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces are, and their co-benefits in cities.
  2. Have an overview of citywide inventory and assessment of public spaces, and introduce city leaders to low-cost tools.
  3. To have a shared understanding of general needs of cities and towns in urban Africa to implement safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces in line with SDG 11.




Time Activity and Description Lead
9.30 – 9.40 Introductions and opening remarks UN-Habitat and KTH
9.40 – 9.50 Ice breaker – Map Game


9.50 – 10.20 Basics of Public Space

·       Definition & typologies

·       Why Public Space

·       Public Space in the Global Agenda (Africa 2063)


Mark Ojal – UN-Habitat

10.20 – 11.00 Co-creation and co-production of public space

·       Benefits of community involvement.

·       Placemaking

·       Minecraft



What are the challenges of community involvement in your city?

How do you engage the community in your city/town?




Ayanda Roji – City of Johannesburg

11.00 – 11.20 Knowing where you are to know where to go?

·       Why carry out an inventory & Assessment of Public Space.

·       Measuring the quality, quantity and distribution of public space.

·       Introduction to the Community led City-wide Assessment and Inventory tool: Case of Nairobi, Addis, Durban, Kisumu, Wuhan and Bamenda.




Mark Ojal – UN-Habitat

11.20 – 11.45 Exercise  
11.45 – 12.20 Open Session

·       What tools do local and sub-national governments need to implement/create safe, inclusive, successful, vibrant and accessible public spaces.

·       What are the challenges and opportunities related in the realisation of safe, inclusive, accessible and vibrant public spaces.




Michael Mehaffy

12.20 – 12.30 Closing remarks