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Urban Strategic Planning

Urban Strategic Planning

Rural territories cannot be reduced to ‘serve’ as an asset for urban growth, for they would disappear and important resources would be lost, such as land, water, oxygen and food.

“It is not enough for intermediary cities to just ‘be between’ they must act as ‘go-betweens’"

Josep Maria Llop
Chair CIMES (UNESCO), Lleida

“Local economic development is a way of territorializing development. Moving from typography to topography is essential.”

Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi
UCLG Africa

“Public Space is about land and is about promise! Park and leisure are key elements of the city’s quality of life and of the city’s economy”

Cristo Swarts

"Do we take into account the importance of planning for the economy?"

Nassar Fakihlanjiri
Chamber of Commerce, Chefchaouen

The Urban Strategic Planning Commitee facilitates cooperation among cities and local governments sharing expertise & knowledge for sustainable urban development.


The sharing of urban management experiences among cities and local institutions has accomplished transformations, with positive and significant impacts on the quality of life of citizens. CUSP raises the visibility and worldwide appreciation of such experiences and enables cooperation with among our network of local governments. We also act as a platform for consolidating innovative solutions for housing and urban management.


Our long-term goal is to improve local governmentsknowledge of planning policies and tools and their relationship with international development partners. Aiming to link and localize the new urban agenda towards Habitat III, we develop tools for inclusion urban rural linkages, planning, capacity buildingand public space among others. We support UCLG in the development of universal urban planning guidelines.


We place a particular emphasis on South - South and Triangular cooperation to respond to the need to share experiences of pro-poor polices and strategies to deal with urban informality.




Specific Objectives

  1. Creating a collaborative platform for discussion, exchange and promotion ofgood practices and lessons learnt that contribute to local urban planning policies.
  2. Increase the visibility and worldwide appreciation of how management can have a positive and significant impact on quality of life in cities.
  3. Facilitate the transfer of technical assistance from cities that have had successful urban planning experiences.
  4. Channel the inquiries that cities bring into the Committee and represent the cities' perspective in the international scenario.
  5. Consolidate links with other UCLG committees and/or working groups on issues that intersect with the work of the Committee on Urban Strategic Planning.


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People About Us

Committee chairs

Committee chairs

Mohamed Sefiani

Mayor of Chefchaouen, Morocco

A recognized leader in Mediterranean city networks. Since he became associated in the work of the Committee, Mayor Sefiani has advocated for the important role of intermediary cities in the global agenda. He has led the UCLG Working Group on Intermediary Cities since 2013.

Jose Fortunati

Mayor of Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Co-chair)

As co-chair of the Committee since 2013,Mayor Fortunati has been active in contributing to a new urban agenda for cities and in raising the global profile of participatory urban planning.

Cllr. James Nxumalo

Mayor of Durban – eThekwini, South Africa (Co-chair)

A believer of strategic visions, Mayor Nxumalo has a broad experience of African cities and governance and has led the Committee since 2010. He also champions the South-South learning agenda through Municipal Institute of Learning - MILE.

Technical chairs

Technical chairs

Maria Regina Rau

Maria is an architect and has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. She is professor of Architecture and Urbanism at Feevale University, and works in urban planning at Porto Alegre City Hall. She contributes her experience in strategic planning, public space developments, and architectural and urban renewal studies to the work of the Committee.

Puvendra Akkiah

A registered Professional Planner with over 15 years’ experience in local, national and international planning, Puvendra is passionate about strategic planning and is one of the lead facilitators of the Strategic Planning Master Classes supported by the Committee on Urban Strategic Planning. Puvendra was the recipient of the South African Planning Institute National Award for Professional Excellence in 2014



Lina Gast

Lina is an anthropologist and architect with an MSc in International Cooperation and Urban Development and in Sustainable Emergency Architecture. She is currently based in Barcelona, where she works for the UCLG World Secretariat as part of the UCLG Learning Team, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and practices between local governments worldwide. Lina is also co-founder of Cities+, a bi-annual publication that explores urban issues through specific, changing themes.

Sara Hoeflich

Program Manager

Sara Hoeflich de Duque has a diploma in engineering from the University of Aachen and is an architect and urban planner. She has been active in international cooperation and urban development and strategic planning for 20 years. Previously she worked in German development cooperation in Indonesia and Colombia, as well as in urban design and social housing enterprises in her home town of Cologne in Germany.