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.


Materials Today Sustainability, Volume 3-4, March 2019

The built environment is responsible for large negative ecological impacts due in part to the vast amount of materials used in construction. Concurrently, construction and demolition activities result in vast amounts of materials being buried, burnt, and dumped. It is essential therefore to analyze the impact of building materials acquisition, use, and transformation on the ecosystems people inhabit and rely upon for well-being. Typically, this is examined in terms of material use, energy use, and emission of pollutants including greenhouse gases.

With growing health risks from rising temperatures in the Global South, the lack of essential indoor cooling is increasingly seen as a dimension of energy poverty and human well-being. Air conditioning (AC) is expected to increase significantly with rising incomes, but it is likely that many who need AC will not have it. We estimate the current location and extent of populations potentially exposed to heat stress in the Global South.


Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, Volume 6, 1 January 2019

This book chapter advances SDGs 11 and 12 by discussing the integrated coastal management approach to coastal zone management policy for a sustainable coast.
Elsevier, Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 44, January 2019
There has recently been a conscious push for cities in Europe to be smarter and more sustainable, leading to the need to benchmark these cities’ efforts using robust assessment frameworks. This paper ranks 28 European capital cities based on how smart and sustainable they are. Using hierarchical clustering and principal component analysis (PCA), we synthesized 32 indicators into 4 components and computed rank scores. The ranking of European capital cities was based on this rank score.

Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, Volume , 1 January 2019

The pollution of the marine environment by solid wastes, either directly introduced into the sea or discharged into the oceans from rivers or pipelines, is considered from the perspective of both their impacts and their regulation. The waste materials covered include dredged material, particulate wastes from sand/gravel extraction, and land reclamation, and industrial wastes including mining wastes, munitions, and plastics/litter.


Plastics to Energy: Fuel, Chemicals, and Sustainability Implications, 2019, Pages 21-44

This book chapter addresses goals 7, 11 and 12 by introduces the main technologies available for recovery of chemicals and fuels from plastic waste, enabling cities and communities to become more sustainable and responsible by transforming this waste into a source of affordable energy.

Sustainable Urban Mobility Pathways: Policies, Institutions, and Coalitions for Low Carbon Transportation in Emerging Countries, 2019, Pages 23-63

This book chapter addresses goals 9, 10, and 11 by summarising the conditions, trends, and implications of sustainable urban mobility solutions in China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Israel, and Morocco.

Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, Volume 4: Encyclopedia of Ecology (Second Edition), 2019, Pages 344-351

This book chapter addresses goals 11, 12, and 15 by showing that human population growth is not the only matter for consideration in ecological engineering. What matters for the future is not only how many people there will be, but what they will do in their everyday life; this will impact the life systems surrounding them and how equipped they will be to face emerging challenges. In coming decades, the survival and well-being of humans and the security of environmental resources will continue to be challenged by rapid population growth.

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 34, October 2018, Pages 48-53.

Furthering goal 11, this paper seeks to demonstrate that while the recentralization of urban governance has some potential to generate more sustainable human settlement patterns, it is less likely to foster sustainable and socially just transitions within cities.
Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) have been suggested to replace gas-based heating in urban environments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to comply with the Paris Agreement. The emission reduction from GSHP depends on the carbon intensity of the electricity generation mix. Moreover, grid capacity may be limiting the introduction of these high-electricity demand GSHP systems. Photovoltaics (PV) systems help to provide additional emission reductions for residential GSHP systems.