In August 1932, the streets of Quito witnessed one of the world’s briefest and least-known conflicts. Supporters and opponents of president-elect Neptalí Bonifaz Ascázubi fought what has been dubbed the Four Days War. As with much civil strife, historians blame the fighting on trigger events elsewhere. Shockwaves from the Wall Street crash three years beforehand had set the people of Ecuador on an economic collision course that determined their future.
The streets of Quito will see a different kind of four-day event next month, but the implications for the country and the wider world could be just as decisive. From 17 to 20 October, experts in sustainable development, planning and urban science will gather for the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development.
Yes, the third. Habitat III, as the meeting is known, comes after two little-remembered (beyond the specialist community) prequels — in 1976 and 1996. Which means that countless millions of city dwellers have been born since Habitat II closed its doors two decades ago./.../