Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

More than half of us  live in cities. By 2050, two-thirds of all humanity—6.5 billion people—will be urban. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.

The rapid growth of cities—a result of rising populations and increasing migration—has led to a boom in mega-cities, especially in the developing world, and slums are becoming a more significant feature of urban life.

Making cities sustainable means creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies. It involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways.

 

Facts and figures

4.2 billion

In 2018, 4.2 billion people, 55 percent of the world’s population, lived in cities. By 2050, the urban population is expected to reach 6.5 billion.

3%

Cities occupy just 3 percent of the Earth’s land but account for 60 to 80 percent of energy consumption and at least 70 percent of carbon emissions.

828 million

828 million people are estimated to live in slums, and the number is rising.

33

In 1990, there were 10 cities with 10 million people or more; by 2014, the number of mega-cities rose to 28, and was expected to reach 33 by 2018. In the future, 9 out of 10 mega-cities will be in the developing world.

90%

In the coming decades, 90 percent of urban expansion will be in the developing world.

80%

The economic role of cities is significant. They generate about 80 percent of the global GDP.

  • By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums

  • By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

  • By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries

  • Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage

  • By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations

  • By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management

  • By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

  • Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning

  • By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels

  • Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials
SDG 1SDG 2SDG 3SDG 4SDG 5SDG 6SDG 7SDG 8SDG 9SDG 10SDG 11SDG 12SDG 13SDG 14SDG 15SDG 16SDG 17
Goals in action
SDG 1 SDG 8 SDG 11

Chocolates for the future

A chocolate-making workshop teaches vital skills to young Bolivians.

more ›

SDG 8 SDG 11 SDG 13 SDG 14 SDG 15

Reviving the Paraguay river

Protecting the biodiversity of the Banco San Miguel and Bahía de Asunción Ecological Reserve.

more ›

SDG 7 SDG 11 SDG 13 SDG 17

Em[powered] island communities lead energy innovation

In many island countries, only a small percentage of electricity comes from renewable sources. A look at three nations that are changing that.

more ›

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 3 SDG 4 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 15

Groundbreaking data tackles child malnutrition in Honduras

Taking a comprehensive look at a complex issue rooted in social, economic and environmental factors.

more ›

SDG 8 SDG 11 SDG 13 SDG 14 SDG 15

The enchanted places of Lake Titicaca

On the famed lake, the Chimu community works to make their floating community a booming tourist attraction.

more ›

SDG 7 SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 11 SDG 12 SDG 13 SDG 15 SDG 17

Five plans for carbon neutrality

A look at those taking the lead in setting bold goals to curb climate change.

more ›

SDG 5 SDG 8 SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 15

Guardians of the forest

Improving livelihoods while protecting natural resources in Colombia.

more ›

SDG 5 SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 13 SDG 17

Helping the global south to help itself

More than 1,000 representatives of government, the private sector, and civil society are meeting in Argentina for the Second High-level United Nations…

more ›

SDG 8 SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 12

A fair deal for Ecuadorian cacao farmers

Farmers will benefit from an innovative programme to develop the world’s first blockchain shared-value chocolate.

more ›

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean 
Go to UNDP Global