Sustainable cities and human settlements

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 aims to "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable." This goal acknowledges the growing importance of urban areas, as it's projected that by 2050, nearly 70% of the world's population will live in cities. Consequently, cities bear significant implications for sustainability, economic growth, and societal wellbeing.

Inclusivity is a key feature of sustainable cities. This refers to equitable access to opportunities, public services, and amenities, regardless of a person's background or circumstances. It implies the availability of affordable and adequate housing, thus addressing issues of homelessness and substandard living conditions.

Safety in cities means ensuring urban environments that protect their inhabitants from both physical harm and psychological distress. This involves addressing crime rates, traffic accidents, and potential hazards from poor infrastructure, while also considering the impacts of noise, pollution, and overcrowdedness on mental health.

Resilience is another important aspect, particularly in the face of climate change. Resilient cities can withstand and quickly recover from shocks such as natural disasters or economic crises. This involves aspects such as resilient infrastructure, disaster risk reduction strategies, and adaptive capacities at the community level.

Sustainability, finally, requires cities to function in a way that doesn't compromise future generations' ability to meet their own needs. This includes sustainable urban planning to reduce environmental impact, promote energy efficiency, and conserve resources. It also considers the importance of green spaces for biodiversity and the wellbeing of urban residents.

SDG 11 is interconnected with many other SDGs. For example, sustainable urban transport systems contribute to SDG 13 (Climate Action) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, ensuring access to green and public spaces supports SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being).

Achieving sustainable cities and human settlements requires cooperation and participation from various stakeholders, including government authorities, urban planners, businesses, and citizens. Through their collective efforts, cities can be transformed into hubs of sustainability, resilience, and inclusivity, contributing significantly towards the realization of the SDGs.

Mitigating and adapting to climate change requires decarbonizing electricity while ensuring resilience of supply, since a warming planet will lead to greater extremes in weather and, plausibly, in power outages. Although it is well known that long-duration outages severely impact economies, such outages are usually not well characterized or modeled in grid infrastructure planning tools. Here, we bring together data and modeling techniques and show how they can be used to characterize and model long-duration outages.
A growing number of governments are pledging to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. Despite such ambitions, realized emissions reductions continue to fall alarmingly short of modeled energy transition pathways for achieving net-zero. This gap is largely a result of the difficulty of realistically modeling all the techno-economic and sociopolitical capabilities that are required to deliver actual emissions reductions.
As evidence of the health impacts of transportation investments has grown, planners have increasingly used health impact assessments (HIAs) to evaluate transportation plans, projects, and policies. Most HIAs to date, however, have been limited in their ability to quantify health impacts due to a lack of validated methods and tools, scarcity of disaggregate and locally-relevant data, and cost. This paper presents the development and application of a quantitative HIA tool designed to address these and other common limitations of existing HIAs.
By analyzing the impact of both public water supply and water handling containers, this paper makes an important contribution to the literature regarding the effectiveness of water supply programs based on the following related outcomes: objective and subjective water quality at the source and Point-of-use (POU), POU water treatment, water transport and storage behavior, and uptake of new, improved water points.
Both subterranean rivers and groundwater sources can offer considerable contributions towards potential summer cooling of London Underground stations, while also having significant environmental and economic advantages relative to alternative refrigeration techniques.

Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Volume 102, January 2022

Assesses road markings as a source of microplastic pollution
Efficient resource management and the development of resilient societies begins with an accurate identification of strengths and weaknesses of systems involved. Conducting a holistic performance analysis considering multiple assessment criteria permits the detection of discrepancies hindering systems productivity. In this study, an integrative assessment tool, based on the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and the energy, water, and food (EWF) nexus is used to design a decision-making scheme that guides policymakers in establishing national priorities and sectorial strategies.
This work established a framework to identify and analyze the technical feasibility of roofs for integrating urban agriculture, rainwater harvesting, and photovoltaic systems using various remote sensing. The framework was applied to a region north of Barcelona. Three levels of solar access requirements for tomatoes, leafy crops, strawberries, and microgreens were established. The case study included compact and disperse urban forms, residential and nonresidential building uses and various building typologies.
This study uses the China Health and Nutrition Survey data to investigate the relationship between infrastructure construction and health inequality, particularly by exploring a quasi-natural experiment, namely, high-speed rail (HSR) projects. We find that HSR accessibility improves the health of local residents with a coefficient of 0.298, which means that HSR operation will lead to a 2.30% increase in health.

Gender differences in the assessment of thermal comfort and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) have not previously been investigated, despite the prevalence of the overcooling of indoor spaces. This study investigated the effect of sex, age and body mass index on subjective thermal comfort perceptions, comfort temperature and IEQ satisfaction in offices using our thermal comfort surveys in Qatar, India, and Japan. Data from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) databases were used for comparison.