Sustainable Development Goals

Charting progress towards SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Visualising global and regional trends

Adopted in 2015 by all United Nations (UN) members, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a global agenda for making the world a better place by 2030. They are described by the UN as a ‘shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet‘, and goals are to be achieved by all countries, in global partnership, by 2030.

This page provides a selection of visualisations on global and regional trends for Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The visualisations use the latest official data from the United Nations SDG Global Database.

Target 11.1

By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums


11.1.1Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing

In 2020 almost a quarter of the world’s urban population, more than 1 billion people, lived in slums or informal settlements. Since 2000 the share has declined from 31%, yet progress has slowed over the past few years.

In Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia almost half of the urban population lives in slums. According to the UN, these two regions together with Eastern and South-Eastern Asia account for more than 85% of 1 billion people living in urban slums worldwide.

Note that the regional groupings used in the visualisation above (and all other visualisations on this page with regional data) follow the UN regional classification for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Target 11.2

By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons


11.2.1Proportion of population that has convenient access to public transport, by sex, age and persons with disabilities

There is currently no internationally agreed methodology for measuring convenient access to public transport. For informative purposes, one indicator is available at a global and regional level available from the UN SDG Global Database, with "convenient access" defined as public transport being within 500 meters of walking distance to low-capacity transport systems (buses/trams)and 1 km to high-capacity systems (trains/ferries).

Data from 2020 shows that around half the world's population have convenient access according to this definition.

Target 11.3

By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries


11.3.1Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate
11.3.2Proportion of cities with a direct participation structure of civil society in urban planning and management that operate regularly and democratically

No data is available at the global or regional level.

Target 11.4

Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage


11.4.1Total per capita expenditure on the preservation, protection and conservation of all cultural and natural heritage, by source of funding (public, private), type of heritage (cultural, natural) and level of government (national, regional, and local/municipal)

No data is available at the global or regional level.

Target 11.5

By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations


11.5.1Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population
11.5.2Direct economic loss attributed to disasters in relation to global domestic product (GDP)
11.5.3(a) Damage to critical infrastructure and (b) number of disruptions to basic services, attributed to disasters

The data currently available from the SDG Global Indicator Database is insufficient to provide an assessment of global or regional trends.

Target 11.6

By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management


11.6.1Proportion of municipal solid waste collected and managed in controlled facilities out of total municipal waste generated, by cities
11.6.2Annual mean levels of fine particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5 and PM10) in cities (population weighted)

Waste collection and management (indicator 11.6.1) play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of cities. The latest data from 2021, shows that on average 82% of municipal solid waste was collected, with 55% being managed in controlled facilities.

Regional data shows that collection rates vary significantly between regions. Many lower- and middle-income regions have a large gap between collection coverage rates and the share of waste managed in controlled facilities. Thus, not all of the collected waste is managed in controlled facilities.

The second indicator on air quality (11.6.2) is measured by looking at the mean annual concentration of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in cities. Gauged by this indicator, air quality has improved both worldwide and in most regions over the past decade, as the mean annual concentration has declined.

However, according to the UN, 99% of the world's urban population lives in areas that exceed the updated WHO guidelines on air quality (the annual average concentrations of PM 2.5 should not exceed 5 micrograms per cubic meter.)

Target 11.7

By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities


11.7.1Average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, by sex, age and persons with disabilities
11.7.2Proportion of persons victim of physical or sexual harassment, by sex, age, disability status and place of occurrence, in the previous 12 months

Data from 2020 shows that around 45% of the world population living in urban areas had convenient access to open public spaces.Convenient access is defined as having an open public space within a 400-meter walking distance. Regionally, the share ranges from almost 8 in 10 people with access in Australia and New Zealand, to close to 3 in 10 people in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.

Target 11.a

Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning


11.a.1Number of countries that have national urban policies or regional development plans that (a) respond to population dynamics; (b) ensure balanced territorial development; and (c) increase local fiscal space

The latest data from 2020 shows that over 150 countries worldwide have in place national urban policies or regional development plans meeting the criteria of the target.

Target 11.b

By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels


11.b.1Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030
11.b.2Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies

As of 2021, 123 countries had implemented national disaster risk reduction strategies under the Sendai Framework. 97 of these countries had done so at both the national and local levels.

Target 11.c

Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials

No indicator is currently available (under development).

About the data

The data presented on global and regional trends are from the UN SDG Global Database.


  • First release November 2022

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