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.
Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 125, May 2014
Urban green space, such as parks, forests, green roofs, streams, and community gardens, provides critical ecosystem services. Green space also promotes physical activity, psychological well-being, and the general public health of urban residents. This paper reviews the Anglo-American literature on urban green space, especially parks, and compares efforts to green US and Chinese cities. Most studies reveal that the distribution of such space often disproportionately benefits predominantly White and more affluent communities.
Health and Place, Volume 29, September 2014
Building toilets and getting people to use them is critical for public health. We deployed a political ecology approach specifically to identify the multi-scalar political, economic, and environmental factors influencing toilet adoption in rural India. The research used ethnographic and technical methods in rural villages of West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh over the period September 2012 to May 2013.
International Economics, Volume 134, August 2013
The economic crises seems blinding the governments and major economic actors toward environmental troubles. Nevertheless, the impacts of population growth and economic expansion have now the potential to disrupt important regulatory functions of global ecological systems. Green growth involves transforming the production and consumption processes in order to maintain or restore these regulatory functions of the planet's natural capital. It requires that environmental facto rs be treated as an essential factor of production and not merely an externality.
International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home, 2012, Pages 330-335
Cities, Volume 26, August 2009
Urban forests are integral components of urban ecosystems, which could generate significant ecosystem services, such as offsetting carbon emission, removing air pollutants, regulating the microclimate, and recreation. These ecosystem services contribute to improving environmental quality, quality of life, and sustainable urban development. Despite a long history of inserting vegetation in human settlements in China, modern scientific study of this natural-cum-cultural resource did not start until the 1990s.