The Role of Urban Commons in the New Urban Agenda: Interview with C. Royez and B. Varnai

An interview of Martin Schwegmann (URG) with Bea Varnai and Cyril Royez from UrbaMonde (, an international platform for initiatives working on the social production of habitat.

Hear the whole Interview:

The question, if urban commons or related thinking plays a role in the New Urban Agenda (NUA), was discussed. Royez and Varnai point out that articles 107 and 31 include thoughts of collective and cooperative use of urban resources, which go beyond state and market mechanisms (see excerpts below). However ideas of anti-speculative, inclusive and collaborative production of habitat and cities are not prominently represented in the NUA.

Therefore, UrbaMonde issued a commitment on the Habitat III website, „Supporting Community-Led Habitat“ and the implementation of art. 31 and art. 107 of the New Urban Agenda. Please support this commitment actively by signing in to the Habitat III online platform:

„We will encourage … cooperative solutions such as co-housing, community land trust, and other forms of collective tenure … This will include support to incremental housing and self-build schemes, with special attention to slums and informal settlements upgrading programs.“


„…while enabling participation and engagement of communities and relevant stakeholders, in the planning and implementation of these policies including supporting the social production of habitat…“

article 31

Cyril Royez, coordinator, UrbaMonde, is an architect and urbanist of the EPFL-SIA-FSU school in Lausanne. He has formerly worked as a project manager at the architecture studio Charles Pictet Architecte, as a real estate expert at the Office for Building Appraisal of Geneva, as a sociologist in the development of management instruments for real estate at Estia+Epiqr, as well as at the civil engineering company in wood construction „Guajard Technologie“.

Bea Varnai, project manager, UrbaMonde-France, is passionate about community-driven processes shaping contemporary city-making: community-led housing models, cooperative financing strategies, innovative partnerships in area development and civic participation and cooperation. Her personal and professional background have provided her with valuable insights into innovative, sustainable and inclusive habitat solutions across Europe and Latin America. She holds an MA in International Development (Graduate Institute Geneva) and coordinate UrbaMonde’s activities around the Social production of habitat platform.