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Habitat UNI is UN-Habitat’s partnership with universities worldwide.

UNI (previously HPUI – Habitat Partner University Initiative) was introduced as a means of promoting cooperation between UN-Habitat and institutions of higher education, as well as facilitating exchange and cooperation among universities globally. UNI promotes universities becoming closer partners of cities, actively engaged in problem solving, thus closing the gap between academia and practice and encouraging collaborative learning. UNI promotes and facilitates the dissemination of educational and research products of its members and involve scholars, researchers and students in a number of activities.

The partnership is open, and invites all levels of academia to engage.

The collaborations aspire to create the next generation of urban leaders, managers, researchers and practitioners. UN-Habitat acts as a catalyst, facilitating partnerships between universities and other agenda partners.

To the right you will find more information on how to become a member, as well as information on current activities and collaborations of UNI.


UNI includes two membership levels: “Individual” and “Institutional”.

The basic requirement for institutions to become partners is to have learning programs focused on sustainable urban development and, for individual members, to be interested and active in the drive towards sustainable urban development.

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Universities and other tertiary institutions and their associations are eligible for institutional membership. It is the aim to have the highest level of the university engaged to facilitate multi-sectoral activities across departments and schools.

The steps to register as institutional members are:

  1. Designate a formal focal point in your institution who will be the main contact person for UN-Habitat communications relating to the partnership.
  2. Fill out the expression of interest and add this to your application here. The Expression of Interest document aims at identifying possible areas of collaboration, align the particular strengths of the potential partner with the goals of UNI, and needs to be signed by the highest possible level at the university.
  3. Should particular elements of the collaboration require a stronger legal framework, a Memorandum of Understanding may instead be developed; the UNI Office will inform whether this is required upon receiving the Expression of Interest.

A UNI Hub is a consortium of universities that agree to work on the same thematic priority under the principles of mutual collaboration, exchange and learning, producing outputs which strengthen the role of universities in forwarding sustainable urban development.

The Hubs established under the umbrella of UNI are to link the ongoing related work of UN-Habitat to the work the Hub does on the subject. Through active collaborations UN-Habitat and these academic consortia are to forward research and action on the thematic target, promoting education, policy advice and professional development which are updated to current urban realities, and which have a strong focus on translating into direct impacts on the city level.

Find a full definition of a UNI Hub, as well as requirements and roles involved here

The active Hubs of UNI are found under Thematic Hubs. Here you can see the current news, related materials, associated partners and upcoming events of each Hub, as well as find out how to become actively engaged in their work.


The Global Urban Lectures were launched in April 2014 as part of UNI’s mission to support the exchange of ideas between urban professionals, academics and experts worldwide.

The series is comprised of lecture packages including a 15 min video, synopsis of the topic, biography of the speaker and links to in depth study.

The lecturers are associated with UN-Habitat, universities, think-tanks, governments, NGOs, and private sector institutions. The series aims to demonstrate a sound evidence-based analysis of a given problem and issues at stake, identify propositions to address them and provide examples that demonstrate how such propositions actually work, are being tested or have been implemented.

All lecture packages are available online, free of charge: Global Urban Lectures

To follow the series and get updates on new releases, do either of the following:

  1. Subscribe to the UN-Habitat YouTube channel
  2. Follow us on Twitter
  3. Like the UN-Habitat Facebook page

David Evans
Head, Capacity Development and Training Unit

Raphaelle Vignol
Habitat UNI Office Focal Point

For general queries, please contact unhabitat-uni@un.org