Research Topic

Urban Sustainability Goals and the New Urban Agenda

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About this Research Topic

The world at large is going through a tectonic shift, as more and more people are moving to the cities. Cities account for only 3 percent of the earth’s land area but accommodate 55 percent of the population; produce 85 percent of the Global GDP, but also 75 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. The issues ...

The world at large is going through a tectonic shift, as more and more people are moving to the cities. Cities account for only 3 percent of the earth’s land area but accommodate 55 percent of the population; produce 85 percent of the Global GDP, but also 75 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. The issues of global sustainability cannot be addressed, without strongly addressing sustainability at the urban scale.

Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 has identified SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) as a crucial component of the global sustainability framework. The SDG-11 objectives are also closely aligned with the New Urban Agenda (NUA) adopted at the Habitat III summit in 2016. The signatory countries are required to frame respective National Urban Policies – as a framework to drive urban sustainability targets.

However, the global goals set under SDG-11 vitally depends on their integration with the local developmental agenda for effective implementation and to make tangible differences in the everyday lives of people. Thus, the National Urban Policy can serve as the template to benchmark progress of different cities in meeting sustainability targets and prioritize its funding mechanisms accordingly. Agencies of urban local governance can incorporate the SDG 11 targets to inform their local planning and governance mechanisms.

The objective of this special issue is to understand how the SDG 11 and the NUA are unfolding across the globe. We welcome contributions that explore:

• How the spatial framework of SDG – 11 could be applied to address various sectoral goals (i.e. SDG – 4, SDG – 6, SDG – 12 etc.?
• How are the national level urban policies being organised to achieve city level development goals?
• How are the sustainability objectives prioritized by city governments?
• Who are the drivers of urban sustainability objectives and what are their roles?
• How are the stakeholder interfaces being managed?
• How are the SDG targets being funded – mainstreamed through local finances or through external funds?
• What are the training and capacity building challenges faced by the city governments, and how are they being negotiated?
• How can SDG and New Urban Agenda inform city level development plans and zoning instruments?
• What are the monitoring platforms to measure SDG outcomes?


Keywords: Urban population, Growth, Urban sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals, Sustainable Cities and Communities, New Urban Agenda, National Urban Policy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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