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.

Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) infrastructure are conventionally designed based on historical climate data. Yet, variability in rainfall intensities and patterns caused by climate change have a significant impact on the performance of an urban drainage system. Although rainwater harvesting (RWH) is a potential solution to manage stormwater in urban areas, its benefits in mitigating the climate change impacts on combined sewer networks have not been assessed yet.

World map of the 142 cities in the UrbMet database.

The sustainability of urban water systems is often compared in small numbers of cases selected as much for their familiarity as for their similarities and differences. Few studies examine large urban datasets to conduct comparisons that identify unexpected similarities and differences among urban water systems and problems. This research analyzed a dataset of 142 cities that includes annual per capita water use (m3/yr/cap) and population. It added a 0.5 ° grid annual water budget value (P-PET/yr) as an index of hydroclimatic water supply.

This paper uses ‘Medieval’ drought conditions from the 12th Century to simulate the implications of severe and persistent drought for the future of water resource management in metropolitan Phoenix, one of the largest and fastest growing urban areas in the southwestern USA. WaterSim 5, an anticipatory water policy and planning model, was used to explore groundwater sustainability outcomes for mega-drought conditions across a range of policies, including population growth management, water conservation, water banking, direct reuse of RO reclaimed water, and water augmentation.


Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 27, 1 November 2016

Water reuse networks have been emerging globally for the last 50 years. This article reviews the economic, social and environmental issues related to implementing water reuse networks in cities. This is reflecting the fact that globally many cities are categorised as water scarce areas, where there is growing imbalance between water demand and availability. In this sense, there is a need for sustainable water supply solutions in the imminent future to provide and maintain service reliability, particularly in the face of climate change.

Increases in water treatment technology have made water recycling a viable engineering solution to water supply limitations. In spite of this, such water recycling schemes have often been halted by lack of public acceptance. Previous studies have captured the public's attitudes regarding planned reuse schemes, but here we focus on unplanned reuse (i.e. de facto reuse), present in many cities across the U.S.


Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 27, 1 November 2016

Shortages of freshwater have become a serious issue in many regions around the world, partly due to rapid urbanisation and climate change. Sustainable city development should consider minimising water use by people living in cities and urban areas. The purpose of this paper is to improve our understanding of water-use behaviour and to reliably predict water use. We collected appropriate data of daily water use, meteorological parameters, and socioeconomic factors for the City of Brossard in Quebec, Canada, and analysed these data using multiple regression techniques.


Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 27, 1 November 2016

The study of resilience in the face of large physical and climatic change has emerged as an important area of research. But while the physical variables under study are easily identified, the notion of resilience itself remains nebulous. In recent years, it has been taken to mean both mitigation and adaptation, concepts that are often used in interchangeably or in conjunction (sometimes hyphenated as “adaptation-mitigation”).


 World Travel Market, 27 September 2016

Overtourism' is likely to become a commonplace term over the next few years as the travel industry grapples with sustainable tourism. Addressing the issues faced will help to advance SDG 8.9 to devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that create jobs and promote local culture and products as well as SDG 11.4 to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
Elsevier, Sustainable Materials and Technologies, Volume 9, 1 September 2016
Low-cost by-products from agricultural, household and industrial sectors have been recognized as a sustainable solution for wastewater treatment. They allow achieving the removal of pollutants from wastewater and at same time to contribute to the waste minimization, recovery and reuse. Despite numerous reviews have been published in the last few years, a direct comparison of data obtained using different sorbents is difficult nowadays because of inconsistencies in the data presentation.
Elsevier, Sustainable Materials and Technologies, Volume 9, 1 September 2016
Granite Powder (GP) and Iron Powder (IP) are industrial byproducts generated from the granite polishing and milling industry in powder form respectively. These byproducts are left largely unused and are hazardous materials to human health because they are airborne and can be easily inhaled. An experimental investigation has been carried out to explore the possibility of using the granite powder and iron powder as a partial replacement of sand in concrete. Twenty cubes and ten beams of concrete with GP and twenty cubes and ten beams of concrete with IP were prepared and tested.