Sustainable Cities

Cities are home to half the world’s seven billion people and contribute to about three-fourths of global economic output. An additional three billion people are estimated to live in cities by 2050, increasing the urban share of the world’s population to two-thirds.

Yet, cities and urban areas across the world face major challenges: poverty, unemployment, poor housing and lack of basic services for over 1 billion slum dwellers, constraints on productivity due to lack of basic infrastructure, and a concentration risk due to natural disasters and climate change. This classical view of the city, as a site of unsolvable problems has inhibited interest and investment in them as sites of opportunity and change.

Sustainable cities build on the extraordinary potential of urban areas to enable change due to concentration of economic activity, innovation and job creation; the potential for social transformation, high levels of concentration of culture, people, infrastructure and buildings and the ability to redefine the relationship between rural and urban, and thereby enable rural prosperity.

Recognizing this, in September 2015, member-countries of the United Nations, adopted a historic stand-alone goal on Sustainable Cities “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable“ by 2030, leaving no person, place and ecosystem behind.

This course by Aromar Revi explores what Sustainable cities are about. It examines how urban sustainability can be delivered: how cities function as systems of systems; how we can increase urban productivity and reduce urban poverty and inequality, enable urban inclusion and safety; provide universal basic services, housing and infrastructure; protect the urban environment, reduce risk and vulnerability . It further explores what actions need to be taken to improve urban governance and financing for sustainable development and key institutions and agents that can make this possible.

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