World Urban Forum 10

Mannheim presents its multi-hall concept

"Cities of opportunity - combining culture and innovation" - was the motto of the 10th World Urban Forum (WUF), which took place from 8 to 13 February 2020 in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). This forum, which is organized by UN-Habitat, the United Nations (UN) Human Settlements Programme, is the leading international conference on sustainable urban development. Around 12,000 participants from 168 countries took part in the 10th edition of the World Urban Forum, including, for the second time, a Mannheim delegation headed by Lord Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz.

The 10th World Urban Forum dealt with the question of how to promote sustainable urban development through culture and innovation. A subject area for which the square city is more than just predestined:

"The Mannheim 2030 mission statement process is essentially the implementation of international sustainability goals at the municipal level. With our participation in the World Urban Forum 10 we want to emphasize on the one hand that Mannheim is one of the most ambitious cities in the field of sustainable development. On the other hand, we are promoting the idea that the voice of the cities should be heard more strongly in international politics and international agreements in future", said Lord Mayor Dr. Kurz, explaining the reasons for Mannheim's participation.


Pioneer in the field of sustainable development

Mannheim is one of the cities that play a particularly active role in implementing the 17 global sustainability goals of the UN (17 SDGs - Sustainable Development Goals). Proof of this is not only the mission statement "Mannheim 2030" but also the Mannheim 'Voluntary Local Review', a report on the implementation of the SDGs in the city of squares. The Lord Mayor's remarks on the local implementation of the sustainability goals in the Mannheim urban area were therefore given much attention. It is therefore not surprising that Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who as UN-Habitat Executive Director also bears overall political responsibility for the World Urban Forum, asked the head of Mannheim's city council to join her in launching the UN-Habitat lighthouse initiative "SDG Cities". The aim of this initiative is to accelerate the global implementation of the UN sustainability goals.

In Abu Dhabi, Lord Mayor Dr. Kurz also introduced the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM), which he chairs and which uses the technological advantages of digitization: In virtual form, mayors from all parts of the world can come together, exchange views and debate political issues in order to develop common positions that they can bring to global political decision-making.

"The GPM gives cities a voice in international politics. This is especially true for medium-sized cities and those in developing countries that do not have the resources to represent their own interests," says Mayor Dr. Kurz with regard to this tool of digital democracy.


The sleeping beauty as an example of sustainable development

In keeping with the main theme of the conference, Lord Mayor Dr. Kurz also presented the concept of the multi-hall, which is a best practice example of the combination of culture, innovation and sustainable development. As a special surprise, the Lord Mayor brought the short film "Awakening of a Sleeping Beauty - the Transformation of Mannheim Multihall" to Abu Dhabi, which celebrated its world premiere there and received a very positive response from the audience. In addition, a panel discussion with international experts* offered the opportunity to learn more about the important role of the Multihalle as a nucleus for the culture-driven sustainable transformation of the city and how culture can facilitate and promote a variety of urban innovations.

"The rediscovery of the Multihalle and the participatory development of a utilization concept are an impressive example of the main theme of the World Urban Forum: How can change processes in cities be shaped by means of culture and innovation? Our film presentation in Abu Dhabi proves that the Multihalle is increasingly becoming an internationally recognized landmark in Mannheim. Dr. Kurz stated.

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