Secretary-General’s Message for World Cities Day (31 October 2015)

The theme of this year’s observance of World Cities Day — ‘Designed to Live Together’ — highlights the key role of urban design in building sustainable, socially integrated and prosperous urban environments.

Good design can help tackle climate change. It reduces the impacts of disaster.

It can help make our cities safer, cleaner, and more equal and integrative.  It promotes equal access to services, jobs and opportunities, and fosters contentment.

The challenges of rapid urbanization figure prominently in the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Goal 11 embodies a commitment to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.  And as part of an integrated agenda, cities and human settlements have an important role to play across the 17-goal spectrum.

The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016, is an opportunity to discuss a New Urban Agenda that can harness the power and forces behind urbanization and mobilize them for the common good.

Cities and human settlements are places we live, share, create, build and dream together.  Let us use good design to make them sustainable, inclusive and prosperous for all.