On October 31, 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon inaugurated World Cities Day stating that humanity’s future will be an urban one as the world’s population will increasingly become city-dwelling.
He explained that “we must get urbanization right, which means reducing greenhouse emissions, strengthening resilience, ensuring basic services such as water and sanitation and designing safe public streets and spaces for all to share,”
What is World Cities Day?
Established in December 2013, World Cities Day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and challenges in urbanization and contribute to sustainable urban development in cities and towns around the world.
– An estimated 5 billion people – will be living in cities by 2030, placing increasing amounts of pressure on housing, services, resources and the environment.
– More than 60 per cent of the urban populations will be under the age of 18, making greater demands on education, health facilities and work opportunities.
The theme of this year’s World Cities Day, Leading Urban Transformations, seeks to address the flood of challenges that will face urban spaces as their populations spike in the coming decades, placing a notable focus on “empowering people to contribute to creative solutions that can improve our shared urban future” and promoting “new ideas to bring about the city we need and the future we want.”
Cities can create “positive transformations if well-planned and well-managed” (Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat).
A well-planned city making use of optimal density can provide services to its citizens in a more efficient and affordable manner than sprawling urban areas while a city with mixed land use and a robust public transport system reduces its reliance on cars and cuts travel times and greenhouse gas emissions.
A well-designed city can improve its employment rate by as much as 15%,providing more economic opportunities for its working citizens than a badly designed one, with companies and investors taking advantage of economies of scale and proximity.
Celebrations around the World:
The inaugural host city for the worldwide commemoration will be Shanghai, with celebrations at Expo Park, where an expected 300 participants will attend the event.
Meanwhile, at UN Headquarters in New York, a special event special event, “People-Centered Urbanization: Managing Social Inclusion in Today’s Cities”, co-organized by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of China and Italy, UN-Habitat and the UN Alliance of Civilizations, will take place in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber.
For more information about worldwide celebrations please click here