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7/1/21, 12pm - 1pm


Lutske Newton works for the City of Tshwane in the City Sustainability Unit in the Office of the Executive Mayor. She is responsible for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Programmes. She has a Master’s Degree in Development Studies and had 15 years consulting to the public sector before joining local government. Her choice to join local government was influenced by her desire to understand the true impact of policies and programmes, often developed at a national level, at a local level.

Stanley Blessings Nyanyirai is Director of Strategy and Research Development for the City of Tshwane. He has a MPhil in Sustainable Development Planning and Management from the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbach University and an MBA from the University of Zimbabwe where he also received a Bsc(Hons) in Natural Resources Economics. While working for the ASPIRES SA Project of Save the Children International he provided oversight and management of economic strengthening and health programmes, partner capacity building, enterprise development, workforce labour market development, and job placement policy. Previously he served as Managing Director of the Tshwane Leadership Foundation.

Rick Bell, FAIA, is Deputy Director of the Center for Buildings, Infrastructure and Public Space at Columbia University where he is also an Adjunct Associate Professor. He previously served as Executive Director of Design and Construction Excellence for the NYC Department of Design & Construction (NYC DDC) as well as DDC’s Assistant Commissioner for Architecture & Engineering. On leave from DDC, he served as Executive Director of AIA New York where he helped create and animate the Center for Architecture.


The focus of the discussion will be the establishment of the City Sustainability Unit of the City of Tshwane in 2013, key milestones and successes, and opportunities and barriers to mainstreaming sustainability and climate action in the Tshwane context.


The Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization is a New York based, not-for-profit organization formed to promote a better understanding of the role of sustainable urbanization and resilient design in the planning of our cities. Our purpose is to advocate for responsible and enlightened planning and design. We connect the global thought leaders concerned with urbanization in order to exchange ideas. Our focus is on replicable ideas and concepts, best practices, and speculative proposals.”

In her introduction over a decade ago to the CSU book Planning Sustainable Cities: Global Report on Human Settlements 2009, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, then Under Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director, wrote “that future urban planning must take place within an understanding of the factors shaping 21st century cities” including climate change, demographic challenges, economic challenges, social and spatial inequalities and “increasing awareness of social and economic rights among ordinary people.”

Fast forward to the present day, and we are still confronted with the impact and circumstance of carbon emissions, multicultural composition of cities, uncertain future growth and unexpected financial crises, urban sprawl and peri-urbanization and efforts to achieve increasing democratization of decision-making and racial justice. Many cities on all continents are confronting endemic problems and achieving success in improving the quality of life and of the physical and social environment.

In addition, we are confronted with a global pandemic, which has further exacerbated the fiscal and logistical constraints we are facing together. As UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif noted in her remarks on World Habitat Day this year: “We need to join forces to respond to the current crisis, share solutions, and create cities of the future for everyone.” In regard to the COVID-19 emergency she stated: “Urban areas account for 95 per cent of all confirmed cases and have been at the epicenter of this pandemic. We have seen hospitals overflowing, jobs disappearing, schools closed, and movement restricted. But we can and we will recover and use our experiences to build back better and greener.”

To do so, a monthly series of CSU urban profiles by leading figures in ten cities worldwide will catalyze discussions leading to replicable actions. The CSU virtual talks, called “Green Cities” is scheduled for the first Thursday of the month through 2021. The lectures will take place by Zoom at noon Eastern.


UN Habitat New York Office
AIA New York Chapter
AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee
Habitat Professional Forum
NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY

Organized by
Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, UN Habitat, and AIA New York
7/1/21, 12pm - 1pm
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