(click the link above to heed our call to action)

We offer this Call to Action “Knowledge for Sustainable Urban Development,” to begin to formulate thinking about assembling and delivering evidence-based and practical guidance.

We are heartened by the Member States’ recognition of the need for knowledge in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the outcome document of the Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III):

“We will encourage UN-Habitat, other United Nations programmes and agencies and other relevant stakeholders to generate evidence-based and practical guidance for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the urban dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals, in close collaboration with Member States, local authorities, major groups, and other relevant stakeholders, as well as through the mobilization of experts. We build on the legacy of the Habitat III Conference and the lessons learnt from its preparatory process, including the regional and thematic meetings. We note, in this context, the valuable contributions of, inter alia, the World Urban Campaign, the General Assembly of Partners for Habitat III, and the Global Land Tool Network.  (New Urban Agenda (draft) paragraph 128)”

Whatever form the interface takes, the goals of the Call to Action are three-fold:

  1. To synthesize and translate current knowledge on sustainable urbanization and its implications for policy;
  2. To communicate and build awareness by providing a platform for practitioners, knowledge-producers and stakeholder groups to exchange insights on relevant topics;
  3. To inform policy at global, national, and local scales, serving the many constituencies concerned with sustainable urban and territorial development.

We invite the broader community of knowledge producers and users, in the wake of Habitat III, to set out on this journey. Whether a UN member state, subnational government, civil sociey group, grassroots movement, researcher, academic, philanthropy or private sector actor – you are ALL invited to provide feedback and get involved.

Join the Knowledge for Sustainable Urban Development Community


At Habitat III we had several events to discuss this call to action


  • January 2017: 1st UN World Data Forum
  • April 2017: UN Habitat Governing Council
  • September 2017: Newly elected Secretary General reports for UN General Assembly on existing and future mandates for UN Habitat
  • March 2018: 9th World Urban Forum (Kuala Lumpur)
  • July 2018: 5th High Level Political Forum scheduled to review SDG goals 6 (water and sanitation), 7 (energy), 11 (cities and human settlements), 12 (sustainable consumption), 15 (forests and biodiversity)

Articles and discussion papers:

  1. Special issue of Nature on Habitat III (http://www.nature.com/news/scientists-must-have-a-say-in-the-future-of-cities-1.20760)
  2. Documents prepared for the Workshop on Global Knowledge and the New Urban Agenda (September 29-30, 2016) University College London
  3. Michele Acuto, Give Cities a Top Seat at the Table, Nature 537 (September 29, 2016): 611-613.
  4. Eugenie L Birch, Habitat’s Vision of Sustainable Urbanization is Good, but Not Good Enough (http://citiscope.org/habitatIII/commentary/2015/09/un-habitats-vision-sustainable-urbanization-good-not-enough)
  5. Eugenie L. Birch Midterm Report: Will Habitat III Make a Difference to the World’s Urban Development? Journal of the American Planning Association 82:4 (2016): 398-411.
  6. Timon McPherson, “Scientists Must Have a Say in the Future of Cities,”
  7. Susan Parnell, Defining a Global Urban Development Agenda, World Development 678C (2016) 529-540
  8. David Simon (editor), Rethinking Sustainable Cities, Bristol: Policy Press, 2016 (https://oapen.org/search?identifier=613676;keyword=Rethinking%20Sustainable%20Cities)