Sustainable cities and communities

Half of humanity, 3.5 billion people, live in cities today and this figure is expected to rise to 5 billion by 2030.


The world is becoming increasingly urbanised. Since 2007, more than half of the world's population has been living in cities, and that number is expected to rise to 60 % by 2030.

Cities and metropolitan areas are hubs of economic growth, contributing around 60% of global GDP. However, they also account for around 70% of global carbon emissions and more than 60% of resource use.

Rapid urbanisation is resulting in increasing numbers of slum dwellers, inadequate and overburdened infrastructure and services (such as waste collection and water and sanitation systems, roads and transport), which is worsening air pollution and urban sprawl.

The impact of COVID-19 will be most devastating in poor and densely populated urban areas, especially for the one billion people living in informal settlements and slums around the world, where overcrowding also makes it difficult to comply with recommended measures such as social distancing and self-isolation.

The UN food agency, FAO, warned that hunger and deaths could increase significantly in urban areas without measures to ensure that poor and vulnerable residents have access to food.