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Welcome to IPS275!

Greetings to all the HABITAT3@Stanford students + checklist to prepare for class

Dear HABITAT3@Stanford Students,

Welcome aboard! We’re excited to have you as part of this experience. An exciting effort is underway globally to address the future of cities. Later this fall, different stakeholders will convene in Quito, Ecuador to finalize the New Urban Agenda. However, creating that international agreement is only part of the journey: how different municipalities, from giant megacities to small towns, actually implement these global ideas at the local level will play an equally important part in humanity’s urban development.

Our class “UN Habitat III: Bridging Cities and Nations to Tackle Urban Development” (IPS275) will focus on intertwining ideas: (1) the international agenda and cooperation among cities and states, and (2) how these international efforts might be translated into local context. We cover diverse urban themes, across different regions of the world—including Asia, Europe, and Latin America—and feature a number of international experts, as we bring the HABITAT III experience to Stanford.

1. Preparing for Kickoff

Since this is a “seminar” style class, you will need to come prepared to discuss the key readings and concepts related to each session. For the first class session on Tuesday, September 27, please complete the following Required Background Readings:

2. Independent Research Project

This quarter, you and potentially other teammates, will work on an independent research topic related to the New Urban Agenda, with the option to focus on particular cities or regions of interest. As you read through the New Urban Agenda, start thinking about the kind of research you might be interested in tackling. If you need something to spark your brain, you can also glance through the list of relevant issue papers.

This project will be a key part of your educational experience, and your final outcomes will be featured in the Human Cities Expo on December 7, an annual conference hosted at Stanford with urban scholars, practitioners, and policy makers.

3. Introduce Yourself on

Please go to, the site we will be using to share reflections and compile a personal portfolio during the quarter. When you sign up, use your own hometown for your city, rather than just filling in "Palo Alto." Complete your profile information on the site and then "Join" the UN HABITAT III Forum.

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, please sign up for IPS 275 on Axess. This class also fulfills requirements for certain Civil & Environmental Engineering, International Policy Studies, Latin American Studies, and Urban Studies programs.

We will start promptly at 1:30 PM on Tuesday in Room 51, on the first floor of Building 50 on the Main Quad. It is directly to the left of Memorial Church, when you face the building. If you come a little in advance, we are eager to chat with you before class begins!


Kevin Hsu & Caroline Nowacki
HABITAT3@Stanford Instructors


1. Sign up on Axess for IPS 275

2. Register on (use your hometown where it asks for your city)

3. Complete the Required Reading

4. If you have time, begin thinking about potential research ideas

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