As the world’s governments, leading businesses and foremost NGOs head to Quito, Ecuador for progrss is pleased to announce its official Side Event at the historic Habitat III Conference. With global leaders congregating to agree and sign the New Urban Agenda, the conference is the single most influential event designed to influence positive urbanization across cities around the world. Focusing on our concept of ‘urbanovations’ we have invited inspiring urban and civic innovators from across the world to share their experience.

We define urbanovation (oun \ər-bə-nə-ˈvā-shən\) as a new idea, device, process or model designed to solve an urban problem or contribute to building better cities. We believe that traditional model of top-down urban planning and city building is no longer sufficient in coping with population growth, demographic shifts and a changing global economy. With that in mind, our event will put a spotlight on the entrepreneurs and social movements succeeding in solving urban problems and contributing to the creation of liveable cities. The event will be held on 20 October 2016, between 12.30pm-1.30pm local Ecuador time at Room MR19 at the official venue of the Habitat III Conference: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana Benjamin Carrion.

progrss founder and CEO Mohamed Helmy will be leading the seminar with an introduction on urbanovation and the importance of bottom-up urban innovation and civic engagement in transforming cities and the urban experience.

Next, Dele Adeyemo, director of Pidgin Perfect – an award-winning multi-disciplinary creative studio based in Glasgow, Scotland – will present his experience in creating and engaging communities. The architect and social entrepreneur will share his studio’s unique approach combining research, participation and design around the built environment, placing the community at the heart of their projects which span the UK, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Ecuadorian entrepreneur Roberto Arroyo will then showcase his many projects focusing on human-centric urbanism.  Named Ecuador’s most influential young entrepreneur in 2013 by President Rafael Correa, Arroyo is the founder of the country’s first car-pool app, Autocompartido, which has since expanded to Colombia and Peru. He is also the founder of Construex, a digital platform for the construction industry. Most recently, Arroyo has achieved success in helping democratize urban art with street photography platform Bluestreets; a digital gallery and network of photographers spanning 300 cities across the world.

Finally, Masterpeace’s Global Communications Manager Raghda El Halawany will be discussing the peace-building organization’s headline-grabbing Walls of Connections project. With a presence in over 45 conflict zones across the world, the award winning NGO recently completed a landmark artistic intervention in 30 cities, activating physical walls which usually divide communities, to instead bring them together by inviting artists to create striking murals, while hosting simultaneous concerts and cultural activities around the hostile architecture.

Following the presentations, the three panellists will be asked for their insights on the challenges facing the cities they work in, and how social enterprises are working with, against and despite local governments to solve pressing urban issues. The opportunities afforded by the gaps left by traditional modes of urban development will also be discussed, as each speaker will be called upon to discuss some of the most innovative solutions coming out of their cities, before the floor is opened for questions.

progrss’ Emerging Urbanovations event will be held on 20 October 2016, between 12.30pm-1.30pm local Ecuador time at Room MR19 at the official venue of the Habitat III Conference: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana Benjamin Carrion.