Design & consultancy firm Arcadis and the UN-Habitat have extended their collaboration, which runs under the name ‘Shelter Programme’, to improve urban quality of life of people worldwide with two more years, up to 2017.
Urbanisation is one of the most pressing challenges facing society. Where currently half of the world’s population is living in cities, many researchers foresee this number to grow in the coming years. According to Roland Berger, 60% will live in an urban setting by 2030, PwC expects the percentage to grow to 70% by 2050, while Arcadis believes 70% will already be reached by 2045. Over 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Current cities are not built for these numbers, and as a result, the urban environment needs to be flexible and versatile. UN-Habitat is the United Nations agency which is focussed on housing and urban development. It contributes to the improvement of urban quality of life by promoting socially, economically and environmentally sustainable urban development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.
In 2010, UN-Habitat partnered up with consulting firm Arcadis by setting their ‘Shelter programme’, aimed at to improving the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. Under this programme, Arcadis supports UN-Habitat with pro bono expertise and financial sponsorship to its World Urban Campaign, set up to promote dialogue, sharing and learning about how to improve the urban future.
In the past five years, the Shelter Programme has organised over 80 missions, trainings and other Shelter activities in Asia, Africa and Middle America, and more than 800 Arcadis experts have shared their knowledge and skills. Shelter’s most recent support consists of urban recovery and planning in Nepal after the April 2015 earthquake. “The application of Arcadis know-how in UN-Habitat projects, has been instrumental to the success of our missions. We consider the Arcadis Shelter programme as a role model for such technical partnerships,” comments Joan Clos, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director.
Following the successful partnership, Arcadis and UN-Habitat have decided to extend their collaboration with two more years until the end of 2017. “I am very pleased that we have extended our partnership. Shelter shows our long term commitment to share our knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life with the skills and expertise of our people,” says Neil McArthur, CEO of Arcadis.