Gateway Portals to the City: Infrastructure for Sustainable Urbanization

United Nations Headquarters, New York May 19, 2017; 10 AM to 6PM

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Every great city has great portals. Often spectacular in scale and scope, these portals are the entry points in cities that create the first impression.  They convey the importance and the magnificence of the city; they define the collective ambitions of the populous; they are important cultural artifacts; they define the character of a city and they tend to last many generations. 

The event organized by the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization in association with UN-Habitat and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter will bring together key stakeholders from the UN system and other international organizations, the private sector and civil society to engage in a dialogue that emphasizes the integrated and cross‐sectoral nature of gateway portals as sustainable infrastructure with multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting will look at gateway portals linked by traditional and new forms of mobility as an organizing concept in support of the New Urban Agenda adopted by UN member states during the Habitat III conference in Quito in 2016.

Speakers: World famous architect Santiago Calatrava will deliver the keynote address. Invited speakers include H.E. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General;  H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President, UN General Assembly;  H.E. Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President, ECOSOC;  Dr. Joan Clos, UN Under‐Secretary‐General and Executive Director, UN‐Habitat);  H.E. Mr. Mpho Parks Tau, President, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG);  Thomas Vonier, FAIA, President, American Institute of Architects; with gateway portals presentations by Grimshaw Global, Foster & Partners, Tishman-Speyer, David Dixon, FAIA, and others.

Agenda (as of 5/10/17)

 9.00 AM            REGISTRATION

10.00 AM            OPENING SESSION

H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, United Nations

H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President, United Nations General Assembly

H.E. Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President, ECOSOC

H.E. Mr. Mpho Parks Tau, President, UCLG


Dr. Joan Clos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
“The New Urban Agenda: a new approach to planning and shaping infrastructure”

Dr. Santiago Calatrava, Founder, Santiago Calatrava Architects & Engineers
“Gateway portals to cities around the world”

11:15 AM           SESSION 1: CASE STUDIES – Gateway Portals to the City    

Chair: H.E. …………………Perm Representative of …………. to the UN

Moderator: Urs P. Gauchat, CSU; Dean Emeritus, NJIT College of Architecture and Design 


  • Christina Tung, Grimshaw Global
  • Michael P.M. Spies, Tishman Speyer
  • David Dixon, FAIA Senior Principal, Urban Design Group Leader, Stantec
  • William Menking, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Architect’s Newspaper; Professor, Graduate Center for City and Regional Planning, Pratt Institute

Audience Q&A

12:30 PM           SESSION 2: The Role of Design Professionals

Chair: H.E. …………………Perm Representative of …………. to the UN

Introduction :  Theodore Liebman, FAIA, CSU; Principal, Perkins Eastman 

H. Oner Yurtseven, CSU; Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, UIPUI

David Piscuskas, FAIA, President, AIA New York Chapter; Founding Principal, 1100 Architect



Thomas Vonier, FAIARIBA, President American Institute of Architects (AIA), and Secretary General, International Union of Architects (UIA)

1:00 PM               LUNCH BREAK

Luncheon for speakers and invited guests

The UN Cafeteria will be open to all participants during the noon break

3:00 PM              SESSION 3: CASE STUDIES – Reshaping cities and the urban rural continuum through Gateway Portals  

Chair: H.E. Maria Emma Mejia, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN

Moderator:  James McCullar, FAIA, President, CSU; Principal, James McCullar Architecture 


  • Feniosky Pena-Mora, Commissioner, NYC Department of Design and Construction
  • Professor Francisco Sanin, Syracuse University (Medellin)
  • Foster & Partners (Droneport Project)
  • Michelle Young, Founder, Untapped Cities

Audience Q&A

4:00 PM              SESSION 4: Gateway Portals in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda: A conversation on the way forward

Chair: H.E. …………………Perm Representative of …………. to the UN

Moderator:  Lance J. Brown, FAIA, CSU; ACSA Distinguished Professor, CCNY Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture 


  • Professor Eugenie Birch, Penn Institute for Urban Research; President General Assembly of Partners (GAP)
  • Filiep Decorte, Acting Director, NYC Office, UN-Habitat
  • Navid Hanif, Director, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination
  • Sarbuland Khan, Former Executive Director, Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies (GAID)
  • Juwang Zhu, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Audience Q&A

5:00PM                CLOSING REMARKS

Aliye P. Celik, Vice President, CSU