11 Sustainable Cities And Communities 11. Sustainable Cities And Communities

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

Technology in action Opportunities & Challenges
90%Of city dwellers breathed air that did not comply with WHO standards
90%Possible reduction in accidents by introducing autonomous vehicles
70%Of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050

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.

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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.

The world needs strong multi-stakeholder partnerships like 2030Vision that focus on the technological innovations required to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development... I welcome 2030Vision for its leadership and ambition towards attaining our shared Goals for People and Planet by 2030. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
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