World Cities Day - 31 October.

October 31st is World Cities Day when the United Nations focuses on global urbanization. Along with promoting urbanization, the UN addresses the challenges urbanization presents. Cities collaborate on sustainable urbanization.

Urbanization refers to the increasing numbers of people that live in urban areas. This trend is a relatively new development. At one time, a majority of the world’s population lived in rural areas. In 1800, over 90% of the world’s population lived in rural areas. Throughout the 19th century, many high-income countries began to see a shift. More and more people were moving into urban areas.

On a global scale, half of the world’s population lives in cities. Some of the world’s most populous cities include:

  • Tokyo – 37 million
  • Delhi – 28 million
  • Mexico City – 21 million
  • Cairo – 20 million

When urbanization happens too quickly, it causes multiple challenges. These include congested traffic, environmental pollution, increased crime rates, and reduced amounts of natural resources. Those living in cities often experience sustainability challenges, as well.These include a lack of affordable housing, decent jobs, essential services, food security, and education.

For these reasons, the UN realizes the importance of achieving sustainability. These requirements mean better planning for infrastructure, utilizing technology, and enhancing social development. However, urbanization isn’t all bad. For example, urban areas are often more socially inclusive, experience greater equality, and provides access to new opportunities.

The UN General Assembly created World Cities Day in December 2013. On October 31, 2014, World Cities Day was observed for the first time.

Additionally, in 2014, UN-Habitat launched Urban October. The entire month is set aside to promote a better urban future. In October 2016, during the HABITAT III Conference, The New Urban Agenda was adopted. The goal is to deal with the challenges of urbanization in the next two decades.

This year’s global observance is planned in Shanghai, China under the theme "Act Local to Go Global." 

Source: www.un.org


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