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Urban Culture Habitat 3 Urban Culture Habitat 3

Habitat III Issue Papers 4 – Urban Culture and Heritage

Culture, according to the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001), is “the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of a society or a social group that encompasses art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs”. Urban culture thus covers the notions of culture within an urban setting, from both a functional and anthropological perspective.

While cities as hubs for migrations have been enriched by a more culturally diverse population, new types of challenges to social cohesion have emerged. Social and spatial segregation, already underlined in Habitat II, have become a key issue in many cities of the world. The historical function of cities as melting pots and catalysts for intercultural dialogue is now jeopardized, as wealth generated by urban growth is unevenly distributed.