How to measure progress towards an inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable city? Reflections on applying the indicators of sustainable development Goal 11 in Germany and India

Koch, F. and Ahmad, S. (2018) How to measure progress towards an inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable city? Reflections on applying the indicators of sustainable development Goal 11 in Germany and India. In: Kabisch, S., Koch, F., Gawel, E., Haase, A., Knapp, S., Krellenberg, K., Nivala, J. and Zehnsdorf, A. (eds.) Urban Transformations: Sustainable Urban Development Through Resource Efficiency, Quality of Life and Resilience. Series: Future City, 10. Springer, pp. 77-90. ISBN 9783319593234 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-59324-1_5)

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Abstract

Cities seem to be keystones within global policies towards sustainability. Urban areas are hot spots that drive environmental change at multiple scales (Grimm et al. 2008) and a large share of CO2 emissions has urban origins (Sethi and Puppim de Oliveira 2015). At the same time, a global urbanization process that increases the total number, and also the share of urban dwellers worldwide, is taking place. Therefore, ambitious global goals for sustainability that do not consider urban areas seem to be predestined to fail and documents such as the UN’s New Urban Agenda (UN Habitat 2016) highlight the need for profound changes in current urban developmental paths. These paradigm changes, also labeled urban transformations towards sustainability, demonstrate the normative dimension of urban transformations (see Rink et al., Chap. 2 in this volume). Urban transformations receive increasing political recognition, as demonstrated by the much-cited statement of UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, that “our struggle for sustainability will be won or lost in cities” (UNESCAP 2014, p. 1) (Rudd 2015 later complemented, rightly, that this struggle “will be won or lost by cities”). That is why one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also known as Global Goals, UN 2015), which, together, form the 2030 Agenda, has an explicit urban focus (Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable). Cities are also important for the implementation of other SDGs. Goals such as “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” (Goal 1) or “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (Goal 4) also need to encompass the urban dimension of poverty and learning opportunities in cities, in order to be realized. Estimates based on the wording of the SDG zero draft indicate that 21% of the 169 targets of all 17 SDGs can only be implemented with urban stakeholders, 24% should be implemented with urban stakeholders, and a further 20% should have a much clearer orientation towards urban stakeholders, although current wording does not suggest this (Misselwitz et al. 2015). Nevertheless, this chapter focuses only on Goal 11, acknowledging the crosscutting character of cities for the other SDGs as well.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ahmad, Dr Sohail
Authors: Koch, F., and Ahmad, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1876-0899
ISBN:9783319593234
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