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Community Involvement: Shelter

ag手机投注 Arcadis and UN-Habitat contribute to one of the most urgent challenges in the world: sustainable urbanization. UN-Habitat’s mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities by improving the quality of life of citizens around the world. Arcadis supports UN-Habitat in facing these urban challenges by providing pro bono expertise through the Shelter program, a global partnership that makes a real difference.

The Shelter program 

ag手机投注The Shelter program, the partnership of Arcadis with UN-Habitat has been set up in 2010 Habitat with financial support of the Lovinklaan foundation. Over 100 missions, trainings and other Shelter activities have been organized in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and more than 500 Arcadis experts from a range of disciplines have been actively engaged in the Shelter program by sharing their knowledge and expertise. This combination of expertise from a wide variety of backgrounds is aimed at improving living conditions in cities around the world, especially for the urban poor. Moreover, Arcadis is a main sponsor of the , an initiative of UN-Habitat designed to increase public awareness and to address the social, economic and environmental challenges of urbanization through the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

The challenge

As our towns and cities grow at unprecedented rates, urbanization is one of the most pressing challenges facing the global community in the 21st century. Making sustainable improvements to the urban environment is critical to delivering lasting results for all our communities. Arcadis is well positioned to support UN-Habitat and to address this urgent challenge.

The talent

Arcadis’ talents span the fields of infrastructure, water, environment, buildings and urban planning at the highest levels. Moreover, the partnership with UN-Habitat integrates fully with our strategic ambition to play a meaningful role in our communities and to use our services and expertise in ways that positively impact the world. By combining the global reach of Arcadis and the humanitarian mission of UN-Habitat, we can make a real difference in the world.

Our partners

 is the lead United Nations agency for housing and urban development. Its mandate is to promote socially, economically and environmentally sustainable urban development and adequate housing for all. It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

ag手机投注 mission is to promote the interests of Arcadis employees, to provide for the continuity of Arcadis and to stimulate employee ownership. The Shelter Program is financially supported by the Lovinklaan Foundation, Arcadis’ largest shareholder.

The Promise of Shelter

Read our book The Promise of Shelter (2010-2016) which is created because of the celebration of six years of UN-Habitat and Arcadis partnership to improve quality of life in emerging cities. Please be patient while loading (10MB).

Shelter Program activities

The Shelter program activities focus on three main activities, the Shelter Academy, the Shelter missions, and the Shelter workshops.

Shelter Academy

The Shelter Academy is an annual program of a week in which high-level local officials from Asia, Africa and Latin America will make an implementation and action plan looking at case studies on climate adaptation and mitigation in their region. They do this with the help of Arcadis experts, workshops and concrete examples of Arcadis’ projects worldwide. The Academy promotes learning and capacity building on the topic of cities and climate change and fosters a meaningful dialogue on how cities are responding to these challenges. The Shelter Academy is part of Arcadis’ commitment to the World Urban Campaign which is undertaken jointly in partnership with UN-habitat’s Research and Capacity Building Branch.

Shelter Missions

ag手机投注The shelter missions aim to address urban challenges that face world’s cities and help them to meet each challenge safely, securely, build their resilience and improves quality of life. Arcadis send experts to urban areas worldwide on request of UN-Habitat on missions in order to share knowledge, offer training, capacity building sessions, and provide theoretical and technical support to UN- Habitat projects.

Shelter Workshops

ag手机投注Arcadis is organizing many workshops each year to raise awareness, promote participation and generate knowledge on the implementation of the new urban agenda. The workshops are divided by three different workshops:

  • Urban Thinkers Campuses (UTC’S): Arcadis sends experts to UTC’s worldwide to actively participate at those Campuses and to contribute in this way to the implementation of the new urban agenda. The Urban Thinkers Campuses are an initiative of the World Urban Campaign, an advocacy and partnership platform, which is organized by UN-Habitat and sponsored by Arcadis as part of the Shelter program. The Urban Thinkers Campuses are two- or three-day meetings where urban stakeholders gather to discuss problems and solutions for better cities.
  • Shelter Arcadis workshops:ag手机投注 the Shelter Arcadis workshops are organized internally by Arcadians focused on the best way to implement the new urban agenda in the city or region of the Arcadis office, promotion of the Shelter program and the opportunity to join the Shelter activities and/or to gather information for a Shelter mission. The Shelter Arcadis Workshops are lunch meetings that take around 2 hours.

  • Shelter External Workshops:ag手机投注 The Shelter External Workshops are organized on request of UN-Habitat with external parties. The Workshops are organized by Arcadians in order to share knowledge and expertise on topics related to the Shelter program.


Picture: Location of Shelter activities in 2010-2019



In response to the worldwide Covid19 crisis, the Shelter program discussed with UN-Habitat how best to support in several initiatives:

1. Rapid Response Help Desk for UN-Habitat staff and UN-Habitat partners, who are able to get instant, rapid technical advice on COVID-19 related issues in the areas of water, buildings and mobility.

2. Conversion of hotels and other buildings to medical facilities:  A team with a variety of expertise helps to decide how buildings, especially in the hospitality industry, can be converted to medical facilities. A checklist is available and remote support can be provided to guide the process.

3. Pandemic resilient citiesag手机投注: The COVID-19 proves that cities should be planned and managed taken health resiliency and pandemics into account. The lessons learned from this crisis are valuable to be better prepared in future, beyond the crisis. Information is gathered and a set of recommendations and guidelines for pandemic resilient cities is developed.

4. Shelter Academy alumni network: In 9 Shelter Academies over 80 directors of municipal planning offices and mayors of cities in relation with UN-Habitat participated in a knowledge transfer program on resilient cities. We reached out to the alumni, and activated the network to share experience and help with urban questions related to COVID-19.

ag手机投注Please contact the Shelter team if you require any more information on the Shelter program and its COVID-19 support to UN-Habitat


Keep up-to-date on developments in the Shelter program by following us on  , , or .

Questions about this content

Bert Smolders

Shelter Program Manager


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