90%Of city dwellers breathed air that did not comply with WHO standards
$4.5tnInvestment needed for infrastructure such as roads, waste management and water treatment
90%Possible reduction in accidents by introducing autonomous vehicles
More about this Goal

The world has experienced unprecedented urban growth, making cities critical to achieving sustainable development. In 2015, 54% of the world’s population (nearly four billion people) lived in cities, and this will reach 70% by 2050. Rapid urbanization has brought many challenges including air pollution, an increase in slums and pressure on basic services and infrastructure. Most of the additional 2.5 billion people living in urban areas by 2050 will be in cities of the global south, in particular in Asia and Africa. Nearly 40% of all future urban growth is expected to take place in China, India and Nigeria.

Technology in action

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Smart Fin

Smartfin is both a surfboard fin with research grade ocean health sensors and a community-building initiative intended to galvanize …

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U-Report

U-Report is a mobile empowerment programme that connects young people all over the world to their governments and decision makers, shares …

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Urban Tech Bets: Digital Learning

This project identifies digital technologies that deliver positive social impacts for children and their families in cities, and also grow …

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Urban Tech Bets: Smart Water Metering

This project supports the development of IoT networks of sensors and meters to monitor the flow and/or quality of water through the network …

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Seeking Funding | Technology expertise

Urban Tech Bets: Multi-Modal Skilling

This project delivers services that mix digital learning with in-person mentoring to expand access to the skills (and certificates or …

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Seeking Funding | Technology expertise

Urban Tech Bets: Smart Recruiting

This project identifies opportunities provided by platforms that connect individuals and employers with workers in the informal economy for …

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Seeking Funding | Technology expertise

Urban Tech Bets: Emergency Response

This project focuses on platforms that link people to the full range of public and private emergency response services through one …

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Seeking Funding | Technology expertise

Urban Tech Bets: Commuter Ride Sharing

This project highlights car-pooling services offered to workers by employers to ensure that they get to work safely, to reduce their impact …

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Seeking Funding | Guest Lecturers | Research support

Data Science Africa

Data Science Africa is a non-profit knowledge sharing professional group that aims to bring together leading researchers and practitioners …

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Seeking Members

Financial Innovation Platform

The UN Global Compact’s Financial Innovation for the Global Goals Action Platform aims to explore innovative financial instruments with the …

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Seeking Members

Breakthrough Innovation Platform

The UN Global Compact Breakthrough Innovation for the Global Goals Action Platform aims to drive breakthrough impact on the SDGs through …

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Opportunities & Challenges

Making cities more inclusive and sustainable faces several opportunities and challenges.

Access to affordable housing: The number of urban residents living in slum conditions continues to grow, and collecting better data on the areas of greatest need will help direct financing opportunities and public services to lift populations out of slums and unsuitable housing.

Urban planning and management: Unplanned urban sprawl undermines other factors of sustainable development. For example, with every 10% increase in sprawl, there is nearly a 10% increase in per capita hazardous pollution. In 2014, 90% of city dwellers breathed air that did not comply with WHO standards. The majority of urban centers lack current information on the indicators for Goal 11, and better data is necessary to inform planning decisions.

Sustainable and resilient infrastructure and transportation: Today, cities occupy roughly 3% of total land, yet they are responsible for 70% of GDP, 60% of energy consumption, 70% of GHG emissions and 70% of waste (UN Habitat III). Access to transportation is a key indicator of Goal 11 while efficient systems, especially waste, sanitation, building and transportation services are fundamental to improving the quality of life in cities and minimizing environmental impact.

Accessible and inclusive finance, innovative designs and delivery models: Technology can democratize access to finance and services across cities, lessen implicit biases in loan distribution and enable innovative funding models.

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