Urbanization and urban planning play a significant role in achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably SDG 11 which focuses on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
The rapid pace of global urbanization presents both challenges and opportunities for sustainable development. As people migrate to cities in search of better economic opportunities, issues such as inadequate housing, pollution, and infrastructural deficits can arise. On the other hand, urban environments are vibrant hubs of cultural, economic, and social development, and their dense nature allows for efficient service provision and resource use.
Urban planning serves as a critical tool for managing these dynamics, enabling cities to maximize the benefits of urbanization while minimizing the downsides. Good urban planning can ensure equitable access to public services and amenities, adequate housing, and a high quality of life for all city residents. It can also help to mitigate environmental impacts by promoting efficient land use, reducing the need for car travel, and enhancing urban green spaces.
Furthermore, urban planning contributes to building resilient communities (SDG 11.5, 11.b), by incorporating measures to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as floods and heatwaves. Planning strategies such as the development of green infrastructure, densification, and mixed-use zoning can also reduce cities' environmental footprints and contribute to the mitigation of climate change (SDG 13).
In addition, urban planning plays a role in promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG 12) by shaping the built environment in ways that encourage more sustainable behaviors. For instance, designing cities to be more walkable and bike-friendly can reduce reliance on private vehicles, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
As such, urbanization and urban planning are intricately tied to the achievement of the SDGs. They highlight the critical importance of managing our cities well to ensure a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for all.
Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, Volume 77, November 2022
Artificial Intelligence in Urban Planning and Design, Technologies, Implementation, and Impacts, 2022, Pages 121-138
Advances in Transport Policy and Planning, Volume 8, 2021, Pages 33-69
Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 66, March 2021
The climate emergency and population growth are challenging water security and sustainable urban design in cities worldwide. Sustainable urban development is crucial to minimise pressures on the natural environment and on existing urban infrastructure systems, including water, energy, and land. These pressures are particularly evident in London, which is considered highly vulnerable to water shortages and floods and where there has been a historical shortage of housing. However, the impacts of urban growth on environmental management and protection are complex and difficult to evaluate.
Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 27, 1 November 2016
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.