Seven years ago Marc Weiss, former college professor and official in the Clinton administration, founded Global Urban Development (GUD). The organization describes itself as a worldwide network of expert thinkers and practitioners. The accomplishments of GUD over this relatively short period are impressive.
GUD has a Board of Directors composed of men and women from 25 countries as well as a 200 member Advisory Board where no less than 50 countries are represented. Outside of the United Nations structure, there can’t be many international NGOs with this broad a base geographically.
The GUD network is organized around seven major issue areas: Building Gender Equality in Urban Life, Treating People and Community as Assets, Facing the Environmental Challenge, Global Urban Development, Improving Public Health, Metropolitan Economic Strategy, andCelebrating Our Urban Heritage.
This last committee I am most pleased to co-chair with Luigi Fusco Girard of the University of Naples and Belinda Yuen of the National University of Singapore. Through these associations I have been fortunate to have participated in events at both of those institutions in the last few years.
One of the products of GUD is Global Urban Development Magazine, an online magazine that is published periodically. Just out is the most recent special issue which focuses on Urban Heritage. Included are articles on successful heritage strategies in Tunisia, Spain, Laos, the US, Russia, China, Lithuania, Morrocco and projects focused on the aboriginal peoples of Australia and New Zealand.
There are innovative programs taking place in heritage conservation around the world, and Global Urban Development has spotlighted several worthy of celebration.