Baku Urban Agenda was a 2-day event organizedby the Eurasia Partnership Foundation/Baku IdeaLab (EPF/BIL). It brough together for the first time stakeholders from across the spectrum of civil society, urban planning professionals and public sector representatives to debate and better understand the urban challenges facing Baku.
Urbanists predict that by 2060, 66% of the world’s population will live in cities. Baku is no exception – projections tell us that 3.9 million people will live in Greater Baku by 2035 (up from today’s official 2.7 million) and over 40,000 extra square meters of living space will be needed. Add to that an increasingly acute crisis in road safety and congestion in the city, and we see the challenges begin to pile up. Creative solutions must keep up with the explosive growth, to ensure that the city develops not only to make room for skyscrapers, but for people, and on a ‘human scale’.
Baku Urban Agenda was designed to look at the city and its development from a number of angles – not only using workshops and presentations by local professionals and civic actors, but also urban photography, urban poetry, “urban visions” collages, and even a graffiti installation. The idea was to spark fresh thinking about what we love about Baku, what needs to change, and where we should start. Baku Urban Agenda began with a film screening of Andreas Dalsgaard’s Human Scale and informal networking reception on Friday 26 January. The main event took place on Saturday, January 27 where, following a plenary session, participants could attend workshops on the following topics:
- A workshop and recommendations on ‘Polycentric City’ by young local architect-activists.
- A workshop on ‘Ending Baku’s love affair with the car: sustainable transport in the capital’.
- A data-centric workshop on ‘“Thinking spatially”: GIS 101 for Budding Urban Planners’ by Adem Tunca.
Participants also signed up for an off-site excursion to a select location in the city to discuss urban challenges and solutions in real city context.
Baku Urban Agenda was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Baku.