11 SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
Sustainable Development Goal 11
In recent decades, the world has experienced unprecedented urban growth. In 2015, close to 4 billion people — 54 per cent of the world’s population — lived in cities and that number is projected to increase to about 5 billion people by 2030. Rapid urbanization has brought enormous challenges, including growing numbers of slum dwellers, increased air pollution, inadequate basic services and infrastructure, and unplanned urban sprawl, which also make cities more vulnerable to disasters. Better urban planning and management are needed to make the world’s urban spaces more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. As of May 2017, 149 countries were developing national-level urban policies.
- The proportion of the urban population that lives in developing country slums fell from 39 per cent in 2000 to 30 per cent in 2014. Despite some gains, the absolute number of urban residents who live in slums continued to grow, owing in part to accelerating urbanization, population growth and lack of appropriate land and housing policies. In 2014, an estimated 880 million urban residents lived in slum conditions, compared to 792 million urban residents in 2000.
- As more and more people move to urban areas, cities typically expand their geographic boundaries to accommodate new inhabitants. From 2000 to 2015, in all regions of the world, the expansion of urban land outpaced the growth of urban populations. As a result, cities are becoming less dense as they grow, with unplanned urban sprawl challenging more sustainable patterns of urban development.
- The safe removal and management of solid waste represents one of the most vital urban environmental services. Uncollected solid waste blocks drains, causes flooding and may lead to the spread of water-borne diseases. On the basis of data from cities in 101 countries from 2009 to 2013, 65 per cent of the urban population was served by municipal waste collection.
- Air pollution is a major environmental health risk. In 2014, 9 of 10 people who live in cities were breathing air that did not comply with the safety standard set by WHO.