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People, Human Settlements, Built Environments, Sustainability, Networks


This book is the illustration of a patient collective work conducted by voluntary professionals representing the member organisations of the Habitat Professionals Forum in the last 18 months. It is not an encyclopaedia of all urban settlements areas of practice. It does not pretend to be exhaustve. Better Professionals! Better Cities! stands as a contribution to the Habitat Agenda, a piece of the puzzle on the way to the Habitat III Summit. It is a work based upon the Forum’s Charter which has been discussed during WUF V in Rio in March 2010, a work based upon a collective analysis and understanding of contemporary urban development trends and challenges, often contradictory and complex.

I wish to address my sincere thanks to Louise Cox, Chair of the Habitat Professionals Forum, for her confidence and constant will to carry on, building on the achievements of Derek Martin, General Secretary of IFHP and former Chair of the Forum.

I also wish to address my sincere thanks to Xavier Crépin for his support and interest in showcasing the role of professionals as part of the global urban agenda, as well as Marcel Belliot, current president of AdP, and Claude Jamati, Immediate Past President.

I wish to extend, on behalf of the Forum, our thanks to UN-Habitat, former Executive Director Anna Tibaijiuka, who has always considered very seriously the issue of engaging professionals worldwide, as part of the urban game, Paul Taylor, chief of the Office of the Executive Director, Eduardo Moreno, chief of the global Urban Obersvatory, as well as Christine Auclair, dedicated focal point for the professionals, and many others at UN- Habitat who believe in urban progress. I also wish to thank Dr Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN Habitat, for carrying on the task of his predecessor and give voice to professionals.

This book has been made possible thanks to the precious and fruitful support of Les Ateliers, their president, former French Minister for Housing Pierre-André Perissol, their director, Nicolas Detrie, and Claire Vigié-Helie who has carried out a wonderful work in adjusting the different bits and pieces which constitute this book.

I also wish to heartily thank my partners at Renaissance Urbaine for their esteem and their enlightened confidence, Dr Phan, as well as Bertrand Lemoine, CEO of the Atelier International du Grand Paris, and Jean- Marie Duthilleul and Etienne Tricaud at AREP for their outstanding vision and understanding of contemporary urban issues.

At last, this book will not have existed without the engagement of planners who, such as Paul Farmer, CEO of the American Planning Association, have understood the value of open-mindedness when dealing with urban issues. He and the founding partners of the Global Planners Network in Africa, and elsewhere, must be credited for this urban humanism, which I hope, will be reflected in the following pages.

Nicolas Buchoud
Renaissance Urbaine
Paris, July 2012