Nora Libertun de Duren: 3x3x3–Myths, Challenges, and Opportunities for Inclusive Cities in the Global South

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I am a leading expert on sustainability, social inclusion, and affordable housing in urban areas. I have experience working in multilateral development banks, local government, and academia. I have managed a portfolio of $1.5 billion in sovereign loans for affordable housing and urban development projects in Latin America, $1 billion in federal and municipal funds for urban parks in New York City, and $2.5 million in research grants for climate change, gender, and diversity. I have published 20 peer-reviewed papers and more than 30 chapters and monographs, and I am a member of various technical committees.

I have a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from MIT, a Master's in Urban Design from Harvard University, and a Master's in Architecture from the University of Buenos Aires. I have taught urban planning and international development at various universities and I am an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University. I am a member of various technical boards, including the Steering Committee of Harvard Mexican Cities Initiative. Previously, I was the Director of Planning and Natural Resources for New York City. My publications focus on Social Inclusion and Cities, Local Development, and Affordable Housing. My papers have been published in a range of academic journals, counting the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Housing Policy Debate, International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, Cities, Urban Studies, World Development Perspectives, and City & Community, among others.


Social unrest, environmental concerns, and the spread of the pandemic have placed cities and their territories at the center of the global development agenda. But cities can only lead countries to prosperity if they are able to deal with their profound levels of socio-spatial inequalities. This inequality is most evident in the presence of urban slums, which are home to more than one in four urban households. Against this background, this lecture explores three myths, three challenges, and three opportunities that present slums today with the purpose of understanding which can of theoretical frameworks and urban policies transcend social inequality in cities.


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