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Sustainable Cities And Communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

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Sustainable Cities And Communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Sustainable Cities And Communities

What's the goal here?

To make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Facts & figures

  • Half of humanity - 3.5 billion people - lives in cities today
  • By 2030, almost 60 per cent of the world's population will live in urban areas
  • 95 per cent of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in developing world
  • 828 million people live in slums today and the number keeps rising
  • The world's cities occupy just 3 per cent of the Earth's land, but account for 60-80 per cent of energy consumption and 75 per cent of carbon emissions
  • Rapid urbanization is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health
  • But the high density of cities can bring efficiency gains and technological innovation while reducing resource and energy consumption


Half of humanity-3.5 billion people-live in cities today, and this number will continue to grow. Because the future will be urban for a majority of people, the solutions to some of the greatest issues facing humans-poverty, climate change, healthcare, education -must be found in city life.

What are some of the most pressing challenges that cities face today?

Inequality is a big concern. 828 million people live in slums and this number keeps rising. The levels of urban energy consumption and pollution are also worrying. Cities occupy just 3 per cent of the Earth's land, but account for 60-80 per cent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions. Many cities are also more vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters due to their high concentration of people and location so building urban resilience is crucial to avoid human, social and economic losses.

I live in a city but I'm not affected by any of these issues. Why should I care?

All these issues will eventually affect every citizen. Inequality can lead to unrest and insecurity, pollution deteriorates everyone's health and affects workers' productivity and therefore the economy, and natural disasters have the potential to disrupt everyone's lifestyles.

What happens if cities are just left to grow organically?

The cost of poorly planned urbanization can be seen in some of the huge slums, tangled traffic, greenhouse gas emissions and sprawling suburbs all over the world. Slums are a drag on GDP, and lower life expectancy. By choosing to act sustainably we choose to build cities where all citizens live a decent quality of life, and form a part of the city's productive dynamic, creating shared prosperity and social stability without harming the environment.

Is it expensive to put sustainable practices in place?

The cost is minimal in comparison with the benefits. For example, there is a cost to creating a functional public transport network, but the benefits are huge in terms of economic activity, quality of life, the environment, and the overall success of a networked city.

What can I do to help achieve this goal?

  • Take an active interest in the governance and management of your city
  • Take notice of what works, and what doesn't in your community
  • Advocate for the kind of city you believe you need
  • Develop a vision for your building, street, and neighbourhood, and act on that vision. Are there enough jobs? Are you close to healthcare? Can your children walk to school safely? Can you walk with your family at night? How far is the nearest public transport? What's the air quality like? What are your shared public spaces like? The better the conditions you create in your community, the greater the effect on quality of life.

Where are volunteer projects that need my help?

The Sustainable Development Goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. As such, the 17 SDGs and its associated 169 targets do not stand alone, but are are interconnected. The key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another. If you are interested in supporting a cause addressing to the goal {sdg.name}, you might also be interested in the related goals No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health And Well-Being, Decent Work And Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation And Infrastructure, Responsible Consumption And Production and Climate Action.

Please visit the website of the United Nations to find out more about Goal 11 Sustainable Cities And Communities and other Sustainable Development Goals.

Source: United Nations