City of Kitchener continues Building Equitable Cities Speaker Series

The City of Kitchener, along with its community partners, has continued its Building Equitable Cities Speaker Series. On Tuesday, April 26 the second session of the series was held, featuring Leilani Farha, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing. This talk explored the human right to housing framework and its implications for local governments.

A recording of the session can be viewed here.

Leilani Farha is the Global Director of The Shift, an international movement to secure the right to housing and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing (2014- 2020). The Shift was launched in 2017 with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Cities and Local Government and works with multi-level stakeholders around the world including with several city governments in North America and Europe.

Leilani’s work is animated by the principle that housing is a social good, not a commodity. She has helped develop global human rights standards on the right to housing, including through her topical reports on homelessness, the financialization of housing, informal settlements, rights-based housing strategies, and the first UN guidelines for the implementation of the right to housing.

She is the central character in the award-winning documentary PUSH regarding the financialization of housing, directed by the Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten. PUSH is screening around the world and to continue its momentum, Leilani and Fredrik now co-host a podcast – PUSHBACK talks about finance, housing and human rights. She also participates with the City of Kitchener on the Right to Home Municipal Working Group with other large cities across the country, focusing on helping municipalities implement and advocate for the right to housing.

Throughout 2022, the City of Kitchener and our community partners are hosting quarterly talks related to addressing inequities and disrupting systemic bias in the establishment and development of cities, including how we can build back differently as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re presenting the Building Equitable Cities Speaker Series in partnership with the Feminist Shift, YW Kitchener-Waterloo, YWCA Cambridge, and Women's College Hospital.

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Thank you to everyone who joined us for this five-part speaker series in 2022/2023. Together, we explored topics related to how we can make city infrastructure and services more equitable and accessible for all residents. The speaker series has now concluded. If you have any questions, please contact the Planning division at

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