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World Cities Day

This topic provides information related to World Cities Day.

The 31st of October is celebrated as World Cities Day. The aim is to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, enhance cooperation among countries and cities in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contribute to sustainable urban development. The overall World Cities Day theme is Better City, Better Life.

As an outcome of the Shanghai International Expo 2010, the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 68/239 of 27 December 2013, designated every 31 October as World Cities Day.

World Cities Day 2019

The theme for 2019 is Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations.

Sustainable Development Goal 11, which formulates the ambition to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable - underlying the relevance of UN-Habitat’s mission. Inequalities in cities have grown since 1980. The world largest cities are also often the most unequal, and this year’s theme is embraced by the action and implementation of the New Urban Agenda, which is putting the topic of inclusive cities as one of the main pillars for the urban shift.

The general theme of World Cities Day is Better City, Better Life, while each year a different sub-theme is selected, to either promote successes of urbanization, or address specific challenges resulting from urbanization.

This year, the United Nations has selected the theme “Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations” to discuss how urbanization can be used to achieve sustainable development. It aims to promote the international community’s interest in implementing the New Urban Agenda globally and in enhancing cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization in cities.

Over half the world’s population now live in cities. With the number expected to double by 2050, urbanization is one of the world’s most transformative trends. Urbanization poses several sustainability challenges related to housing, environment, climate change, infrastructure, basic services, food security, health, education, decent jobs, safety, and natural resources. Urbanization can also present great opportunities and is a critical tool for sustainable development if it is done right.

The main goals of World Cities Day 2019 are to:

  • Increase awareness of how digital innovations can be used for urban service delivery to enhance the quality of life and improve the urban environment.
  • Show new frontier technologies that can create more inclusive cities.
  • Present opportunities for renewable energy generation in cities.
  • Explore how frontier technologies can promote social inclusion in cities

Urban resilience

With over half of the population living in urban areas and the numbers increasing daily, cities are facing unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. Cities are centres of innovation and investment and are pivotal for economic growth and development. At the same time, cities are vulnerable to severe impacts from a range of challenges, shocks and stresses that can be both natural and human made

Urban Resilience is the measurable ability of any urban system, with its inhabitants, to maintain continuity through all shocks and stresses, while positively adapting and transforming toward sustainability. A Resilient City assesses, plans and acts to prepare and respond to hazards - natural and human-made, sudden and slow-onset, expected and unexpected - in order to protect and enhance people’s live, secure development gains, foster an environment for investment, and drive positive change.

Major challenges to resilience include economic, environmental, cultural, civic and disaster mitigation and recovery.

Characteristics of a Resilient City

  1. Persistent : A persistent city anticipates impacts in order to prepare for current and future shocks and stresses. It builds robustness by incorporating coping mechanisms to withstand disturbances and protect people and assets. It encourages redundancy in its networks by generating spare capacity and back-ups to maintain and restore basic services, ensuring reliability during and after disruption.
  2. Adaptable : An adaptable city considers not only foreseeable risks, but also accepts current and future uncertainty. It diversifies its services, functions and processes by establishing alternatives and is resourceful in its capacity to repurpose human, financial and physical capital. It is flexible and can absorb, adjust and evolve in the face of changing circumstances, dynamically responding by turning change into opportunity.
  3. Inclusive : An inclusive city centres on people by understanding that being resilient entails protecting each person from any negative impact. Recognising that people in vulnerable situations are among the most affected by hazards, it actively strives towards social inclusion by promoting equality, equity and fulfilment of human rights. It fosters social cohesion and empowers comprehensive and meaningful participation in all governance processes in order to develop resilient city.

Source : UN

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