Today, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. By 2030, it is projected that 6 in 10 people will be urban dwellers. Despite numerous planning challenges, cities offer more efficient economies of scale on many levels, including the provision of goods, services and transportation. With sound, risk-informed planning and management, cities can become incubators for innovation and growth and drivers of sustainable development.

Some figures and facts about urban realm:

  • Almost a third of the urban population in developing regions still live in slums

In 2014, an estimated 880 million urban residents lived in slum conditions, compared to 792 million urban residents in 2000.

  • Urban sprawl is found in many cities around the world

From 2000 to 2015, in all regions of the world, the expansion of urban land outpaced the growth of urban populations. 

  • Cities in every part of the world have dangerously high levels of air pollution

In 2014, 9 of 10 people who live in cities were breathing air that did not comply with the safety standard set by WHO.

  • Nearly three-quarters of countries have implemented or are working to implement national-level urban policies

As of 2015, 142 countries had a national urban policy in place or under development. Those countries are home to 75 per cent of the world’s urban population.

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.