Sustainable Cities Topic Overview and Resources

Building the Sustainable Cities of the Future

According to a new report from the United Nations, approximately 7 billion people, roughly 70% of the global population, will live in cities by the year 2050. The same report also indicates that the world is also likely to see the rise of over 40 'mega-cities', each holding over 10 million people. The rise of cities brings forth significant challenges for humanity, namely, how to provide proper housing, food, clean water, sanitation, and medical services to rapidly growing populations. 

Students assigned to this committee topic in the 2021-2022 Jr. Model United Nations - Student Diplomat Program will explore how cities have developed over time, the unique benefits that cities represent, and the critical challenges that cities offer to their inhabitants. Students will learn about the role of cities in fighting climate change, while also exploring how cities can contribute to, or protect against inequality. Ultimately, students will be tasked with creating their own vision for the cities of the future. 

Topic Briefing Paper

All students assigned to the Sustainable Cities committee topic are encouraged to begin their research by reading the Council's topic briefing paper, which includes reading comprehension "Questions to Consider" and "Quick Facts" sections, in addition to a key terms and phrases Glossary. Students may then continue their committee topic and assigned country research by exploring the Additional Recommended Resources listed below. Click here to access.

Additional Recommended Resources

Visit the United Nation's website to learn more about SDG 11 - Make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, which directly correlates with the Sustainable Cities committee topic for this year's Jr. Model UN program. Click here to access.

This SDG 11 briefing from the UN is a great resource for students looking to gather statistics and data on the topic of sustainable cities and to address some of the most important reasons why countries around the world should work toward promoting more sustainable cities.Click here to access.

This 2021 report from the UN provides information on the develompent and implementation of SDG 11 and the progress that the world has made in achieving this goal by 2030. This resource gives students a more detailed look at SDG 11 while providing them with updated data and statistics. This page als includes a report summary video that is very accessible for middle school students. Click here to access.

This resource from the World Bank provides real life examples of daily life for people in cities around the world and outlines concrete steps that countries can take in promoting more sustainable cities. This is a great resource for students to begin thinking about the solutions that they will propose to build sustainable cities when drafting their resolutions. Click here to access.

Adopted in October 2016 during the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (also known as Habitat III), the New Urban Agenda serves as a guide and handbook for UN member countries and other actors in promoting sustainable development in cities and urban areas. This is a great resource for students to understand what realistic solutions to this issue might look like for UN member countries and to provide them with inspiration for proposing their own solutions.Click here to access.

This report from the United Nations Environment Programme details the lasting positive economic and social impact that is possible through sustainable urban development. In addition, it is important that students consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cities and urban spaces in order to gain the most well-rounded perspective on the topic. Click here to access.