What can the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals do for cities?

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What can the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals do for cities?
© AAP/Joel Carrett

Our cities are increasingly beset by a lack of affordable housing, inequality, lagging infrastructure – the list goes on.

To the rescue, we now have the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But how can they help?

Responding to the urban century
Australia and 166 other countries agreed the New Urban Agenda at the Habitat III conference in Quito last October. The agenda frames global policy for cities and urban settlements for the next 20 years. Signatories will be measured against its objectives.

This historic agreement did not attract the same attention as the Paris climate agreement, yet it has similarly profound and linked potential. The Paris agreement will determine what action countries take on climate change, shaping policies on energy use and carbon production. The New Urban Agenda will aim for city sustainability, shaping our liveability, homes and neighbourhoods.

The agenda responds to the urban century. It recognises the growth energised by cities but also their spatial, social, cultural and economic inequalities.

Action is urgently called for to tackle inequality. The shift to cities hasn’t reduced inequality. Instead, it has shifted poverty to cities and deepened inequality in the process. […]