The ex-director of UN-Habitat between 2010 and 2017, and former Minister of Industry, Tourism and Commerce of Spain between 2006 and 2008, Joan Clos, advocated today in Guatemala for having an urban policy to guide the growth of cities.
During his conference "Urban Development and Housing", given within the framework of the XV edition of the National Encounter of Entrepreneurs (Enade) "Here we are living: Houses, neighborhoods and development", Clos insisted on the need for "urban planning" and urban development, because these affect the location value and the agglomeration value of a city.
For this expert, who was mayor of Barcelona, cities can increase these two values with the intervention of man and said that one of the paths is establishing an urbanization plan, but people will always move towards the largest city.
"If we want to avoid macrocephaly and megalopolis, we have to have an urban policy," added the expert, who during his tenure as head of UN-Habitat, the United Nations program responsible for the promotion of sustainable, resilient and prosperous cities, led the elaboration of the New Urban Agenda and was named Secretary General of the Habitat III Conference.
Closs, born in Barcelona, graduated in Medicine from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and specializing in Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, was convinced that sustainable development is possible.
And this, he continued, is one of the most urgent challenges of society along with peace, human rights, climate change and the change of production and consumption model, although he emphasized that the plans must be different for each city, taking into account, above all, if they are rich or poor.
According to their estimates, it is expected that in the coming years the number of people in the world will rise from 7,500 to 11,000 million people, of which 75 percent would be "urbanized population", figures that assume "a planetary change never before seen "and difficult to be able to see sensibly what the consequences of this transformation will be.
But Clos, twice elected mayor of Barcelona – from 1997 to 2006 – and councilor between 1983 and 1987, insisted on sustainable development, because the "development to dry" can generate the exhaustion of the human ecosystem and the planet.
"It can kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, the planet, so we want a development that can be compatible with the viability of the ecological system of our species and in general of all the species that live with us," he proclaimed.
Closs, president of the international network of cities Metropolis in 1998 and president of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities in 2000, was the last speaker of this event, which intends to analyze the population growth in Guatemala and its capital, It is expected that between 2080 and 2085 will be 27 million inhabitants compared to 16 today.