Under the Patronage of HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces
Emirates Palace - Abu Dhabi - UAE
VISIONARY VALUES FOR SUSTAINABLE CITIES
The role of values and identity for sustainable growth and cities’ success
In our increasingly globalized world, competition for resources among cities is
strong as destinations are competing to attract citizens, tourists and investors.
By focusing on their identity, values, symbolism and image as crucial success factors,
cities can improve their attractiveness. That’s why several major cities worldwide
put the promotion of their identity and values high on their public and budget agenda.
Several conditions and processes shape identity—such as the quality of the
urban realm, the performance of the local economy, residents’ satisfaction,
community identification, and sense of cohesion—and these factors, taken as
a whole, are strongly linked with sustainability of the city’s success and
The challenge for city leaders is the selection of their private and public partners
and strategies that enable them to implement the 4 crucial components of sustainable
The inclusive city
City identity is the identification with a particular place, its space, people,
community, culture, traditions, and heritage: City identities are rooted in city
The city, as a shared symbolic universe and a community, is a social entity that
connects the dwellers with their surroundings, strengthening the identity of the
group and the self.
As such, city identity gives citizens a sense of belonging and a sense of pride
when they participate in it - or social malaise when they are excluded from it.
The competitive city
The unique character and identity of many cities are increasingly threatened by
the pressures of standardization. City identity is however also a major driver for
the attractiveness and economic competitiveness of a city and should therefore be
included in any strategy for the economic restoration and development of a city:
a city is in fact only as attractive as it is distinctive.
The livable city
Public space design, green infrastructure, public services, accessibility and mobility
are important variables of a city’s distinct identity and image.
The cultural city
Culture and the vital contribution of the arts to society can serve as a catalyst
for cultural development and transformation, with considerable beneficial
socio-economic impact for cities and their citizens.
For this reason, cities should invest in shared cultural spaces to build communities
and connections between people and in delivering programmes that use creativity
and culture as drivers of social and economic change.