CARING FOR OUR COMMON HOME:
SUSTAINABLE, HEALTHY, JUST CITIES & SETTLEMENTS
The International Making Cities Livable conference is in Rome this year, only a hop, skip and a jump from Gaza.
The conference might as well be on the moon, as far as my colleagues in Gaza are concerned. I wrote about the travel blockade here.
Earlier this year, Eman and Yaser (an architect and an engineer) joined me in cyberspace to write a paper about how to make Gaza livable. We submitted our paper to the conference organizers, and it was accepted. Al-hamdulillah!
I’m on my way to Rome to deliver our paper. . . . . alone.
I feel an awesome sense of responsibility to ‘get this right’ and to give a strong and convincing presentation on Tuesday. I’ll only have 20 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes for Q & A. My powerpoint presentation has been vetted and improved with the help of a good review by friends. Thank you!
My goals for this conference:
- Introduce the reality of Gaza to a new audience of professional planners, architects and urbanists who may not know much about it.
- Generate discussion about Gaza both during my short presentation, but also with as many people as I can throughout the 5 days of the conference.
- Learn from others and share what I learn with my colleagues in Gaza.
- Find a way to return to Gaza. Maybe someone in Rome will help me open the gates to Gaza.
The conference organizer writes:
If we do not change the way we plan and construct our cities, the social inequity we are fomenting is likely to cause a “precipitous collapse” of the global industrial civilization, according to a NASA-funded study, a collapse that cannot be avoided by improved technological efficiency. Even the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, warned that a failure to tackle inequality risked huge social unrest.
The UN, as well as Pope Francis’s wise and visionary encyclical, Laudato Si‘, and the Islamic Climate Change Declaration urge the world to take action NOW to combat climate change and social inequity.
Our paper mentions both the Pope’s encyclical and the Islamic Climate Change Declaration. If you’d like a copy of our paper, please send me a message with your email.