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.

Elsevier, Transport Policy, Volume 20, March 2012
The late 1990s and early 2000s witnessed a growing interest amongst UK academics and policy makers in the issue of transport disadvantage and, more innovatively, how this might relate to growing concerns about the social exclusion of low income groups and communities. Studies (predominantly in the United Kingdom) began to make more explicit the links policy between poverty, transport disadvantage, access to key services and economic and social exclusion (see for example Church and Frost, 2000; .
This chapter supports SDGs 3, 11, and 16 by exploring ways of improving shelter provision for refugees through better coordination of humanitarian agencies, the development of minimum standards, and enhanced self-help housing strategies.

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.

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