2015: Time to invest in cities

Time for Global Action 2015 logo2015 will be a critical year for the global community and the United Nations. It is the year we face several decisions – on disaster risk reduction, financing for development, sustainable development and climate – that will shape our collective futures for generations to come. The “2015 Time for Global Action” campaign is centred around monthly themes that coincide with the priorities for 2015 and opportunities in the calendar of events. The month of July will highlight cities.

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically. However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.

The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.

In October 2016, the United Nations will celebrate the Habitat III Conference (UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development) in Quito, Ecuador, to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanization in relation to global development and to focus on the implementation of a New Urban Agenda.

More information: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/cities/

KEY DATES AND EVENTS

Urban October Design competition (1-31 October)
UN-Habitat’s Urban October Design competition is aimed at highlighting and recognizing designs and designers that will best depict the state of our towns and cities today. The artworks should focus on the theme of “World Habitat Day, Public Spaces for All and of World Cities Day, Designed to live together.” The artwork can be uploaded on the website or posted on the personal social media channels using the Hashtag #urbanoctober. More information:  http://unhabitat.org/design-competition/

International Day of Older Persons (1 October but to be celebrated at UN on 15 October due to GA)
The theme of the 2015 International Day of Older Persons is “Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment”. With growing urbanization, a significant number of people over 60 are living in cities. That number is expected to reach 900 million by 2050. Marking the 25th anniversary of the Day, and in the lead-up to the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) to be held in 2016, this year’s edition will look at the impact of the new urban environment on older persons as well as the influence they have on urban environment.  More information available at: http://www.un.org/en/events/olderpersonsday and www.undesadspd.org/ageing/internationaldayofolderpersons.aspx

Hashtags: #IDOP2015 and #60PLUS

Urban October Design competition (1-31 October)
UN-Habitat’s Urban October Design competition is aimed at highlighting and recognizing designs and designers that will best depict the state of our towns and cities today. The artworks should focus on the theme of “World Habitat Day, Public Spaces for All and of World Cities Day, Designed to live together.” The artwork can be uploaded on the website or posted on the personal social media channels using the Hashtag #urbanoctober. More information:  http://unhabitat.org/design-competition/

World Habitat Day (5 October)
This year’s theme is “Public Spaces for All.” Streets and public spaces have often been overlooked and undervalued, but are increasingly being considered the backbone of cities. Public spaces are places which are accessible and enjoyable by all without a profit motive, and take on various spatial forms, including parks, streets, sidewalks, markets and playgrounds. More information at: http://unhabitat.org/world-habitat-day/.

Hashtag: #HabitatDay

Habitat III Thematic Meeting on Metropolitan Areas (6-7 October)
To address the growing process of metropolization around the world, the Habitat III Thematic Meeting on Metropolitan Areas aims to recognize the role of metropolitan regions in achieving global sustainable urban development goals. The meeting will be held in Montreal, Canada, as one of the eleven thematic and regional meetings to help prepare the  United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) to be held in Quito in 2016. More information at: https://www.habitat3.org/montreal.

Habitat III Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting (21-22 October)
The Regional Meeting involves a wide range of participants, while prioritizing participation from Asia and the Pacific, who will debate regional priorities for the New Urban Agenda and policy recommendations in the form of a final regional participants’ declaration.

In this regard, it is assumed that the Habitat III Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting will gather recommendations reflecting the consensus reached at the regional level on a specific topic, or on the entire spectrum of a proposed New Urban Agenda. It will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia. More information at: https://www.habitat3.org/Jakarta

Urban Thinkers Campus and Urban Journalism Academy (24 October)
The Urban Thinkers Campus is a special initiative of the World Urban Campaign and UN-Habitat to gather ideas from people around the world who are passionate about the future of cities. It is an initiative meant to emulate and build consensus between partners engaged in addressing urbanization challenges and proposing solutions for urban futures. This edition will also include an Urban Journalism Academy, a workshop addressed to editors and reporters on the challenges and opportunities of urbanization. It will be held in New York. More information at: https://events.newschool.edu/event/urban_thinkers_campus_the_city_we_need#.Vg0ivHqzT4Q 

World Cities Day (31 October)
This year, World Cities Day will be celebrated on 31 October 2015 in Milan, Italy, under the theme “Designed to Live Together.” The aim of World Cities Day is to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation, encourage cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges in urbanisation towards sustainable urban development. More details available at: http://unhabitat.org/wcd/.

Hashtag: #CitiesDay

 

KEY FACTS

For more information please see: http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/cities.asp 

  • Half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – live in cities today.
  • By 2030, almost 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas.
  • 95 per cent of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in developing world.
  • 828 million people live in slums today and the number keeps rising.
  • The world’s cities occupy just 2 per cent of the Earth’s land, but account for 60-80 per cent of energy consumption and 75 per cent of carbon emissions, and generate more than 70 percent of global GDP today
  • Rapid urbanization is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health.
  • But the high density of cities can bring efficiency gains and technological innovation while reducing resource and energy consumption.

Go to: http://urbandata.unhabitat.org/ data tool for information on specific cities.

MULTIMEDIA MATERIALS

Videos

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Sustainable Cities & Communities
Today, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. We asked Raf Tuts, Coordinator of the Urban Planning and Design Branch of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), how Goal 11 can help us take advantage of this transformative opportunity and make cities more sustainable. Languages available: English

Urban October – The Yin & Yang City
The essence of urbanization is the proper design of public spaces and the provision of well-structured buildable plots. Through dynamic graphics, this video shows the connection between the two. Languages available: English

World Habitat Day Message from UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos
The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day. The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. Languages available: English

Upgrading Slums for Better Cities
Slum upgrading is an important strategy for improving living conditions of the urban poor and contributing to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of cities. However, in order to effectively improve living standards in slums and contribute to sustainable urbanization, slum upgrading has to go to scale. Languages available:  English with French subtitles

Paper City
As part of its Urban October celebrations, UN-Habitat has launched “Paper City”, a stop-motion video animation portraying today’s urban challenges using a paper and cardboard mock city. Languages available: English

Gender and Mobility
There is increasing concern about women’s safety in cities over the past few years. The fear of violence in public spaces affects the everyday lives of women as it restricts their movement and freedom to exert their right as citizens of the city – freedom to move, study, work, and leisure. Languages available: English

Somalia: Building Livelihoods in Mogadishu
The “Sustainable Employment Creation and Improved Livelihoods for Vulnerable Urban Communities in Mogadishu” (SECIL) project has, between September 2011 – March 2015, implemented strategic activities in five sectors of the urban economy: economic infrastructure, solid waste management, construction, water and sanitation, and energy and environment. Languages available: English

Nigeria: People Live Here
“People Live Here” is a short film about people finding their voice and shaping their city. They are building Nigeria’s first community radio station. CHICOCO RADIO is a floating radio station being built by residents of Port Harcourt’s waterfront slums. Languages available: English

India: Crowded Cities
Experts are predicting India will overtake China as the most populous nation on the planet within the next 20 years. New census figures will play a vital role in providing individuals with access to resources that can create sustainable conditions for India’s growing population.

Languages available: English | French | Spanish | Arabic | Russian | Chinese

Learn more about the 2015: Time for Global Action campaign.