UN-Habitat released an illustrated handbook on the New Urban Agenda that presents its proposals and commitments in the form of diagrams and illustrations, highlighting connections and correlations.
The publication highlights the concept of “spatial sustainability” as a fourth dimension of sustainability.
UN-Habitat also announced the creation of the ‘Urban Agenda Platform,’ an online knowledge portal of resources on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and urban-related SDGs.
An illustrated handbook on the New Urban Agenda presents the agenda’s proposals and commitments in the form of diagrams and illustrations, highlighting connections and correlations. The publication from UN-Habitat also presents the concept of “spatial sustainability” as a fourth dimension that builds on the other three: social, economic, and environmental sustainability.The New Urban Agenda was adopted at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, on 20 October 2016, and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in December 2016.
In the New Urban Agenda, the four dimensions of sustainability form a lens to collectively improve urban planning and development. The concept of spatial sustainability focuses on the physical form of a city as a result of intentional planning and development. It suggests that a city’s spatial conditions affect its ability to generate social, economic, and environmental value and well-being: “Governments can achieve spatial sustainability by guiding the physical form of urban environments to create equitable access to jobs, housing and social interactions; enable agglomeration economies and encourage sustainable relationships to ecosystems and natural habitats.”
The illustrated handbook notes that the New Urban Agenda is intended as an accelerator of the SDG framework, in particular Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities), by guiding and tracking urbanization around the world. However, as UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif says in her foreword, the world is “not on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 11.” The handbook thus aims to make the global framework more accessible and user-friendly both for policymakers and practitioners. As Sharif explains, “We need a more hands-on approach to scale and accelerate our actions.”
Upon the launch of the illustrated guide, the IUCN Urban Alliance writes that “the NUA in its original form was found wanting in terms of accessibility, poetic charm and real-life examples. The illustrative guide, however, adeptly addresses these limitations. It gives greater sense, structure and substance to the issues, challenges and solutions laid out in the NUA while forging neat alignment with the SDGs.”
UN-Habitat also announced the creation of the ‘Urban Agenda Platform,’ an online knowledge portal of voluntary national reports, best practices, actions, data, training, and resources on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and urban-related SDGs. The portal aims to inform the UN Secretary-General’s periodic reports on progress in implementing the New Urban Agenda. [Publication: The New Urban Agenda Illustrated]