Wanted: International Goals for Sustainable Urban Development

With the target dates for the Millennium Development Goals set for 2015, the United Nations has begun to create a new set "Sustainable Development Goals." Some are calling for the new goals to include an urban focus.

Thomas Elmqvist makes the case for an urban focus to the United Nations’ ongoing efforts to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “The arguments for an urban SDG are many. Urbanization has the ability to transform the social and economic fabric of nations and cities are responsible for the bulk of production and consumption worldwide, and are the primary engines of economic growth and development.”

As for what an urban SDG would look like, Elmqvist acknowledges that such a standard is a “delicate and complex issue,” and points out that “many argue that such a goal should center around the sustainability of urbanization rather than sustainability of cities per se, and focus on the process rather than specific geographical locations.”

Additionally “A focus on urbanization as a process would have the advantage that crucial urban-rural interactions that need to be considered and the long-distance effects of urbanization on resource extraction, energy, waste, etc., also to be included.”

For anyone on Agenda 21 watch, included in the United Nations’ website explaining the SDG process is a mandate that they be “based on Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.”

Full Story: Why We Need an Urban Sustainable Development Goal


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Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.