The challenge

UN-Habitat’s research shows that well-functioning cities have around 50% of the surface area dedicated to public space. Unfortunately, few cities around the world meet this target. Lack of quality public spaces reduces urban quality of life, increasing crime, social tensions, health and congestion. Public space provides leverage to optimize urban performance – build safer and cohesive communities, reduce spatial inequalities, build local economies and bring nature back to the city. Learn more about the impact of the Global Public Space Programme.


UN-Habitat completed
safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces in 90 cities
Since 2021, over
2.32 million
people benefits from access to public spaces designed and upgraded through UN-Habitat’s Global Public Space Programme
More than
people including youth, children, women and girls have been engaged in the co-design and co-building of their public spaces

News and Stories

Highlighted Publications

Annual Report
Global Public Space Programme Annual Report 2021
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
The Block by Block Playbook: Using Minecraft as a participatory design tool in urban design and governance
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
City-wide public space assessment toolkit: A guide to community-led digital inventory and assessment of public spaces
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
Public Space Site-Specific Assessment: Guidelines to Achieve Quality Public Spaces at Neighbourhood Level
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
Designing with Children In Displacement (DeCID) handbook
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
Global Public Space Toolkit: From Global Principles to Local Policies and Practice

Donors and partners

As part of our public space work, we work with a wide range of partners – including local and national governments, civil society academia and the private sector. The UN-Habitat public space network includes more than 100 organizations that regularly meet to bring the public agenda forward. Our public space regeneration projects – so far in 35 countries - are usually implemented through a collaboration between UN-Habitat, the local government and a civil society organization, but in some cases also with other UN agencies, for example with UNICEF in Mozambique and with UN Women in Tunisia.  Since 2016 we have organized regular meetings of the United Nations Public Space network.

Our Experts

Jose Chong
Global Public Space Programme, Planning Finance and Economy Section
Urban Practices Branch, Global Solutions Division
UN Complex Nairobi, NOF 3, L2 NW