Half the world’s population now lives in cities, and this is projected to increase to two-thirds by 2050, says UN-Habitat – the United Nations organization focused on advancing sustainable urbanization as a driver of development, peace and human rights.
Cities face massive environmental, socio-economic and spatial challenges. Although they can be a hub for economic development, cities can also exacerbate inequalities. But cities that are well-planned and well-governed can contribute significantly to addressing global challenges including poverty and climate change, leading the greening of the global economy and providing a safe and healthy environment for everyone.
Ahead of the 2020 World Urban Form, the Goal of the Month editorial looks at how cities are at the frontlines of sustainable and inclusive development with stories and resources that focus on climate change, technology, innovation, culture and migration
STORIES ON URBANISATION
Do you know that 97 percent of cities in low- or middle-income countries do not meet air quality guidelines? It is not much better in high-income countries – where city-dwellers have about a one in two chance of breathing in air that exceeds World Health Organization guidelines for air pollution.
The UN Environment Programme examines what the world would look like if the enjoyment of a healthy environment was universally recognized as a fundamental human right.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to reducing urban inequality, some governments have been able to address the spatial, economic and social aspects of the urban divide and promote inclusive urbanization, including in rapidly growing cities.
Their successful strategies have four elements in common – fair land and property rights, access to affordable housing, infrastructure and basic services, access to education and decent employment and unbiased policies and allocation of public funds. Read more here.
In cities and communities across the world, citizens of all ages and backgrounds are getting the chance to literally play an important role in redesigning their public spaces, thanks to an innovative collaboration between the UN, and the company behind the popular computer game Minecraft. Read the story here.
Technology and innovation can play a critical role to ensure economic opportunities and inclusivity in cities. The International Organization for Migration develops an innovative scheme based on the use of mobile money to help migrants like Mohammed Ahmed find financial security back home in near Khartoum, Sudan. Full story.
Unmapped: Migration Stories of New York
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and New York’s Fordham University are asking writers to submit their stories showcasing the experiences of migrants and migration in New York, hoping to uncover insights into the migration journey from different perspectives and backgrounds.
Suriname becomes the second nation globally after the Marshall Islands to outline updated plans to fight climate change in the hope of ensuring that any future increase in the temperature of the planet does not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
UN News looks at how Small Island Developing States and their coastal cities are taking climate action even though they have contributed least to the problem.