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UN tool will map 'science of cities' to analyse impact of urbanisation on sustainable development

High profile figures ranging from Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio to former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have urged for further research and investment into making our cities more sustainable in recent weeks.

Now the UN has increased its own commitment to this drive by introducing a new scientific tool that measures the rate of global urbanisation, its characteristics and the potential effect of urban sprawl on the quality of life for city dwellers.

The United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) is behind the scheme, which uses data compiled by the UN Sample of Cities from 200 worldwide metropolises, both in the developed and developing world, and makes it open source for researchers around the globe.

Aspects of urban life – such as access to enjoyable public space, air and water quality, the time it takes to travel from home to work and affordability – are all tracked by the tool. The findings are available to researchers so they can draw scientifically valid comparisons between world cities; finding patterns of similarities and difference and analysing human impact of urban growth.

In a statement, UN-HABITAT said: “While the world continues to urbanise at an alarming rate, understanding just how cities evolve, how that headlong evolution can be managed, and the effect of urban life on humanity has lagged behind.

“Since 2007, more than half of the world's population lives in urban centres and cities, and by 2050 as many as 70 per cent of a projected population of 9 billion people will be urban dwellers.”

UN-Habitat’s executive director Joan Clos added: “Cities, how they form, and the effects of urbanisation on the quality of human life must now be treated as a science. The unprecedented confluence of climate change, population boom, and the rush to live in cities means that our critical human development will take place in cities.

“How will we manage this vast change? What secrets do we need to unlock? Does life in a city mean doom or boon for our children and the generations that follow?”

United Nations  sustainable development  cities  urbanisation  architecture  design  Leonardo DiCaprio  Bill Clinton 
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High profile figures ranging from Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio to former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have urged for further research and investment into making our cities more sustainable in recent weeks. Now the UN has increased its own commitment to this drive by introducing a new scientific tool that measures the rate of global urbanisation, its characteristics and the potential effect of urban sprawl on the quality
CLD,ARC,DES,DEV
The UN's tool will allow researchers to analyse how urban growth has impacted the sustainable development of cities across the world / Paul Dex
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