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Meeting Our Metropolitan Challenge
By Shaun Donovan and Judith Rodin


[Jon Bon Jovi]
Jon Bon Jovi
[Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs]
Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs. gives opening remarks a the Forum on Livable Communities held at Howard University for World Habitat Day 2009
[Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs]
Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs, gives opening remarks at the Forum on Livable Communities held at Howard University for World Habitat Day 2009
[Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs]
Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs, gives opening remarks at the Forum on Livable Communities held at Howard University for World Habitat Day 2009
[Dr. Sidney A. Ribeau. President of Howard University]
Dr. Sidney A. Ribeau. President of Howard University gives welcome remarks at the Forum on Livable Communities for World Habitat Day 2009
[Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, United Nations Habitat]
Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, United Nations Habitat enjoys commentary at the Forum on Livable Communities held at Howard University for World Habitat Day 2009
[Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, United Nations Habitat and Ron Sims]
Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, United Nations Habitat and Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development greet one another at the Forum on Livable Communities held at Howard University for World Habitat Day 2009
[Antoinette Perry-Banks, HUD Public Affairs greets Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State, International Organizations, State Department and Dr. Sidney A. Ribeau]
Antoinette Perry-Banks (on the left), HUD Public Affairs greets Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State, International Organizations, State Department and Dr. Sidney A. Ribeau, President of Howard University at the WHD 2009 Forum on Livable Communities at Howard University.
[Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs and Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development]
Adolfo Carrion (left), Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs and Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the Forum on Livable Communities at Howard University for World Habitat Day 2009
[Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Dr. Johannes F. Linn, Senior Fellow Director, Wolfensohn Center for Development, The Brookings Institution]
(Left to right) Adolfo Carrion, Director, White House Office of Urban Affairs Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Dr. Johannes F. Linn, Senior Fellow Director, Wolfensohn Center for Development, The Brookings Institution at the Forum on Livable Communities at Howard University for World Habitat Day 2009
[World Habitat Day 2009 Scroll of Honor Award Winners and speakers]
World Habitat Day 2009 Scroll of Honor Award Winners and speakers
[Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity, Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Dr. Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, Jon Bon Jovi, and Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development]
(Left to right) Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity, Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Dr. Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, Jon Bon Jovi, and Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the World Habitat Day 2009 Opening Ceremony.
[Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity, Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Dr. Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, Jon Bon Jovi, and Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development]
(Left to right) Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity, Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Dr. Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, Jon Bon Jovi, and Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the World Habitat Day 2009 Opening Ceremony.
[Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Jon Bon Jovi to the left) answers questions]
Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Jon Bon Jovi to the left) answers questions after the World Habitat Day 2009 Opening Ceremony held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[The wife of late Peter Oberlander shaking hands with Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development]
The wife of late Peter Oberlander (shaking hands with Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) accepts the scroll of honor award on his behalf at the World Habitat Day Opening Ceremony held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Jon Bon Jovi, Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the World Habitat Day 2009 Opening Ceremony]
(Left to right) Jon Bon Jovi, Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the World Habitat Day 2009 Opening Ceremony held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Jon Bon Jovi, Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development having a brief conversation]
(Left to right) Jon Bon Jovi, Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development having a brief conversation at the World Habitat Day 2009 Opening Ceremony held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Representatives from the Rizhao Municipal Government]
Representatives from the Rizhao Municipal Government (Scroll of Honor Award Winners) at the World Habitat Day 2009 Opening Ceremony held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner]
Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner]
Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner]
Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT]
Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner]
Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner]
Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Ann-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning, State Department]
Ann-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning, State Department speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Ann-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning, State Department]
Ann-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning, State Department speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Valerie Jarrett, Sr. Advisor to President Obama speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner]
Valerie Jarrett, Sr. Advisor to President Obama speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Valerie Jarrett, Sr. Advisor to President Obama speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner]
Valerie Jarrett, Sr. Advisor to President Obama speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation]
Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation speaking at the World Habitat Day 2009 Dinner hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
[Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Valerie Santos, Deputy Mayor, District of Colombia, and Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-Habitat]
(Left to right) Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Valerie Santos, Deputy Mayor, District of Colombia, and Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-Habitat participate in the WHD 2009 Forum on Livable Communities at Howard University.
World Habitat Day Brochures
[World Habitat Day Brochure]



World Habitat Day 2009 Brochure

At the United Nations General Assembly this month, President Obama called on each of the world's countries to shoulder its share of responsibility for a "global response to global challenges." Few of these challenges are more daunting or imbued with possibility than the global demographic shift taking place in metropolitan regions.

Consider this: A century ago, one of ten people lived in cities. This year, for the first time, a majority does. By 2050, the United Nations projects, almost three-quarters of the world's population will call urban and metropolitan areas home. Most of this increase will occur in developing countries, where nearly three of five people will live in cities by 2030.

In the United States, this trend is long underway. Today, America's largest 100 metro areas—that is, cities, suburbs, and the rural areas that surround them—cover only 12 percent of the country's land, but account for 65 percent of our population, and 75 percent of our economic output. America's cities are growing, but their suburbs and exurbs grow twice as fast, and the success of all three is increasingly interconnected.

In emerging economies, urbanization is more pronounced as megacities of Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America anchor dynamic industries, burgeoning markets, and attract enormous numbers of immigrants. Every day, thousands of people journey from village to city and farm to factory. In many places, processes of industrialization that took two centuries will transpire in just two decades.

As a consequence, increasing numbers of people are within reach of dramatic social and economic progress, but also vulnerable to overburdened infrastructure, inadequate housing, and outmoded health systems. In fact, UN-HABITAT projects that within three decades, one of three people will live in near total despair - lacking sanitation and clean water, exposed to the imminent effects of climate change, fueling the spread of disease and possible pandemics. In a globalized world, the impact is clear for America's security and economy alike.

To help coordinate a global response, the United States today hosts World Habitat Day for the first time, with crucial support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Rockefeller Foundation, and fifty other organizations. This year's theme, "Planning our Urban Future," reflects the inescapable facts that life in the 21st century will be markedly more metropolitan and interdependent. It represents the extraordinary opportunity for communities to become field laboratories for new solutions - to grow more resiliently, equitably, and sustainably. It sets a simple question in sharp relief: Will we shape the historic forces driving billions of people to metro regions or will we let these forces shape us?

The time has come for renewed American innovation, investment, and leadership. President Obama is pursuing a robust sustainability agenda: creating green jobs and products, facilitating energy efficient homes and buildings, and implementing policies that tie the quality and location of housing with access to good jobs, quality schools, and safe streets.

But in the 21st century, effective action also counts on and catalyzes the ideas, resources, and civic capital of others. Washington has neither a monopoly on solutions nor the desire - let alone the ability - to solve these challenges alone. Instead, we must lead by listening and learning.

Think about advances underway. Durban, South Africa, incorporates ongoing climate change assessments, adaptation, and mitigation into long-term city planning. Stockholm, Dublin, Singapore, and Brisbane are developing smart transportation systems that reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.

America is breaking new ground too. Denver's new multi-modal transit system, for instance, links downtown to surrounding communities. Rejecting traditional city-suburb tensions, it demonstrates that cities and suburbs not only share problems, but can also collaborate on solutions.

In our own partnership during the last several years, we have shown what can happen when local governments and foundations establish laboratories of urban reform. In New York City, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bloomberg Administration, and others created the Affordable Housing Acquisition Loan Fund to build and preserve 30,000 affordable housing units over 10 years. Starting with only $8 million in government funding, this alliance raised more than $24 million in foundation funding to leverage $190 million in private capital - connecting private developers who want to provide affordable units with hard-to-find seed financing to bring their plans to life. It earned a coveted "Innovation in American Government" award from the Ash Institute at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government this past fall and is now being replicated across the nation.

As World Habitat Day welcomes leaders from around the globe to the nation's capital in advance of the World Urban Forum in Rio in 2010, we face a decision: Either we watch idly as the world transforms around us - depleting natural resources, jeopardizing national security, and impeding access to global markets - or we lead by example. Working together, America will make the right choice.


Shaun Donovan is Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and was Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development from 2004 to 2009. Judith Rodin is President of the Rockefeller Foundation.

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