A side effect of industrialization is urbanization, and as such more and more people are moving into the cities in search of a better future. The need for sustainable communities is bigger than ever before, especially as cities and metropolitan areas stand for 70% of global emissions and 60% of resource use. Due to the rate it is happening we can also see how the infrastructure is being burdened and slums are growing.
There are seven targets:
- Ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
- Provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to those in needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
- 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
- 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
- Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
- Provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
What does it mean and what can we do?
Unsurprisingly, this goal focuses on the underlying factors that make a city sustainable, such as green spaces and effective waste management, with a focus on the people that live within it. Of course, it doesn’t forget the environment and asks that natural and cultural heritage be protected. There is also a concerted effort on mentioning women, who are often assaulted and unsafe due to poorly planned cities.
Reaching this goal is a slow effort that must come over time with the expansion of cities.