The New Urban Agenda
On the global stage, multiple waves of diplomacy have produced a remarkable set of long-term agreements — pacts that impact cities deeply and will require bold leadership from city leaders. First came the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to coordinate efforts around ending poverty and hunger, combating inequality and disease, and building a just and stable world by 2030. One way or another, all 17 of the SDGs intersect with work going on in cities. Next came the Paris Agreement on climate change, which lays out national commitments to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. Cities have a crucial role in its implementation: They produce the bulk of the world’s carbon emissions but also are where the most innovative low-carbon solutions are being implemented. They’ll also need to build their own resilience against threats from global warming. Finally, at the U.N.’s Habitat III summit on cities, nearly 170 nations adopted the New Urban Agenda — a document intended to guide national and local policies on the growth and development of cities through 2036. The Habitat III story did not end in Quito, however. It’s only just beginning. And as the story shifts to implementation, it’s not just about the New Urban Agenda. It’s about how all three of these agreements work together — and the innovations that keep bubbling up from city leaders, civil society and the private sector, not only to make these agreements work but also to build better cities. This is Institute of Planners new beat. We can sum it up in four words: Global goals: Local solutions. Over the coming year, how will countries translate the New Urban Agenda into national urban policies? What actions will local authorities take to make cities “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” as called for in SDG 11? What can cities learn from each other as they identify ways to cut carbon emissions and adapt to a changing climate? We’ll tell stories of innovative urban approaches on the ground, as we always have. We’ll also cover implementation from the vantage point of global actors who will be monitoring progress on all these agreements and seeking to spur local action. Our new focus comes with a fresh look for our collaboration at national and international organization, which we encourage you to check out at Please support us by subscribing to our blog. Khurram Farid