World Habitat Day

First Monday in October: United Nations’ World Habitat Day

Earlier this year, when there was still plenty of time to plan, budget, and register for the United Nations’ Habitat, World Urban Forum 7 in Medellín, Colombia, I approached several heads of City of Toronto Departments to attend WUF7.

A number of them wished, yet lamented why they could not go.

To a person, they each worried Toronto Mayor Rob Ford might either drop the axe on them, and they would lose their job, or at the very least, IF they attended the World’s Largest Gathering of Municipal Leaders and City Managers, their City of Toronto Department Budgets would be cut by the amount invested in attending WUF7.

Having attended three of the past five World Urban Forums in 2006, 2010, 2014, the opportunity cost of missing out on global municipal knowledge and urban wisdom lost, is almost unforgivable.

For want of a travel budget far, far less than the Mayor’s Business Boosting Trip to Chicago and Austin, The City of Toronto lost out on learning first hand, the best of what the World’s Great Cities wanted to share and learn from.

— HiMY SYeD, October 6 2014

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