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.


Encyclopedia of Sustainable Technologies, Volume , 4 July 2017

This book chapter advances SDG 11, 15 and 9 presenting the role of adaptation of buildings in the context of climate change, the consequent implications on buildings in various climatic zones, and the possible strategies that need to be evaluated.
The aim of the conference is to examine the evolving expectations, available solutions, measurements and best practices associated with the optimization of research strategies. The theme of the 2017 conference will be "Universities and the Power of Data — Science for a Sustainable Society" and will focus on crucial areas such as sustainability, diversity, and the Power of Data in research. The event helps to advance SDG 4 Quality education and SDG 10 Reduced inequalities.

Gopalakrishnan, Varsha and Bakshi, Bhavik R., "Including Nature in Engineering Decisions for Sustainability", Editor(s): Martin A. Abraham, Encyclopedia of Sustainable Technologies, Elsevier (2017), Pages 107-116

Through the practice of biomimicry, engineering can both emulate and conserve the natural world. In this chapter, the author notes that our development practices have often "ignored or undervalued" nature, and describes the ways in which we can aim to build systems that are self-sustaining and resilient, much like earth's ecosystems. This chapter advances SDGs 7, 11 and 13.
The study presents comparative global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early-mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analyzed for the $1.25 and $2.50-level poverty headcount ratios using World Bank Povcalnet data.
Smart cities use data and technology to drive energy efficiency and are on the increase. The advantages of integrating energy efficient technologies into building planning and urban modelling are understood, but what are the risks? This article considers the threat of cyber crime on smart cities and the technology that these cities rely on, drawing out the links between SDG 7 and SDG 9. On the one hand, smart cities support the need for open data whilst on the other hand increased protection and security of that data will be required to avoid the threat of cyber attacks.
It is no secret to anyone living in Beirut or a similar modern city in a semi-arid tropical country in the summer that their home has become a concrete forest and an urban heat island. Old wood or stone houses and their gardens have been replaced by concrete towers and parking lots, in the name of development. The result is searing summer nights, a drastic loss of insect and avian biodiversity, and a large increase in energy usage for interior climate control. These problems are experienced in rapidly developing urban centers worldwide.
Urban water and energy systems are crucial for sustainably meeting basic service demands in cities. This paper proposes and applies a technology-independent “reference resource-to-service system” framework for concurrent evaluation of urban water and energy system interventions and their ‘nexus’ or ‘interlinkages’. In a concrete application, data that approximate New York City conditions are used to evaluate a limited set of interventions in the residential sector, spanning from low-flow toilet shifts to extensive green roof installations.

International Water Summit 2017, 16-19 January 2017

The International Water Summit (IWS) is a global platform for promoting water sustainability in arid regions by bringing together world leaders, field experts, academics and business innovators to accelerate the development of new sustainable strategies and technologies. Videos from the 2017 summit cover a wide range of technologies and innovations which support SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 31, 1 May 2017

Urbanization is transforming human society in many ways. Besides all the obvious benefits, it also brings negative impacts such as the well-documented urban heat island (UHI) effect and the magnified human heat stress. One way to reduce human heat stress is to increase vegetation density in urban areas, because they can provide evatranspiration and shading benefits. However, given the diversity of tree species and their morphological properties, it is important to understand rationally how different trees regulate thermal comfort.