Cities account for over 70% of global carbon emissions.

sdg-icon-11

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

Make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe, and sustainable.

11.1

Safe and affordable housing

By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.

11.2

Affordable and sustainable transport systems

By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.

11.3

Inclusive and sustainable urbanization

By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.

11.4

Protect the world’s cultural and natural heritage

Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

11.5

Reduce the adverse effects of natural disasters

By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations.

11.6

Reduce the environmental impact of cities

By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.

11.7

Provide access to safe and inclusive green and public spaces

By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

11.A

Strong national and regional development planning

Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning.

11.B

Implement policies for inclusion, resource efficiency and disaster risk reduction

By 2030, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels.

11.C

Support least developed countries in sustainable and resilient building

Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials.

Current Situation

The world’s population continues to grow and become increasingly urbanized. Since 2007, more than half the world’s population has been living in cities, and that share is projected to rise to 60% by 2030.

In order for our society to responsibly plan for this projected growth, it is important for city officials, government leaders, and organizations to build modern and sustainable cities through intelligent and environmentally-conscious urban planning.

Cities and metropolitan areas are powerhouses of economic growth—contributing about 60% of global GDP. However, they also account for about 70 per cent of global carbon emissions and over 60% of resource use.

60%

of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030

70 %

of global carbon emissions come from cities and metropolitan areas

Impact Opportunity

An important part of crafting sustainable cities is reducing the environmental impacts of cities through air quality enhancement and more effective municipal and waste management.

In order to start working towards more sustainable cities, we must aim to ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services and invest in economically struggling communities.

Supporting positive economic and environmental links between urban and rural areas also underscores the interdependence of our communities and further strengthens national and regional development planning.

We must aim to ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services.

Progress

The Intelligent Cities Project

Helping cities understand and forecast how AI will shape their future

Through this program, we are building the Urban Assessment Tool for city administrations to understand the areas where AI will likely affect their specific region and population in the coming years.

The recommendations will include assessment areas like urban planning and development, education, energy, and healthcare services. Learn more about the program and Urban Assessment Tool here.

Resources

Shared Datasets

The Settlement Profiling Tool guides field personnel in creating cross-sectoral settlement profiles intended to help inform future urban development plans and policies in displacement affected contexts.

Mendeley Data Repository is free-to-use and open access. It enables you to deposit any research data (including raw and processed data, video, code, software, algorithms, protocols, and methods) associated with your research manuscript.

The European Data Portal harvests the metadata of Public Sector Information available on public data portals across European countries. Information regarding the provision of data and the benefits of re-using data is also included.

A compilation of smart cities around the world that have shared open data in an aggregated data portal.

A compilation of smart cities in the world that have shared out open data in an aggregated open data portal.

Ongoing Research

The World Bank conducts research on global sustainable urban development, with a particular focus on developing nations. At the regional and country scales, their Urbanization Reviews offer a framework for city leaders to identify policy distortions and analyze investment priorities.

Sustainable Cities and Society (SCS) is an international journal focusing on fundamental and applied research aimed at designing, understanding, and promoting environmentally sustainable and socially resilient cities.

SDG Integration | UNDP is part of the UN development system (UNDS) and works with UN Resident Coordinators, and as a part of UN Country Teams, to support countries achieve the 2030 Agenda.

Publications

Goal Partners

AI 4 Cities

AI4Cities is a three-year EU-funded project of 6 pilot European cities looking to integrate AI solutions to accelerate carbon neutrality.

Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)

ICLEI is a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 100+ countries, the organization influences sustainability policy and drives local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development.

UN Global Pulse - Big data for development and humanitarian action

Global Pulse promotes awareness of the opportunities big data presents for sustainable development and humanitarian action, develops high-impact analytics solutions for UN and government partners through its network of data science innovation centres.

Leveraging AI to measure and accelerate progress towards the pursuit of SDGs. Follow our progress and find out how you can get involved. See our work →

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