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Developing and testing the urban sustainable development goal’s targets and indicators - a five city study

Journal article
Authors Stina Hansson
David Simon
Helen Arfvidsson
Zarina Patel
Geetika Anand
Amir Bazaz
Gill Fenna
Kevin Foster
Garima Jain
Louise Marix Evans
Nishendra Moodley
Charles Nyambuga
Michael Oloko
Doris Chandi Ombara
Beth Perry
Natasha Primo
Aromar Revi
Brendon van Niekerk
Alex Wharton
Carol Wright
Published in Environment & Urbanization
Volume 28
Issue 1
Pages 49-63
ISSN 0956-2478
Publication year 2016
Published at School of Global Studies
Mistra Urban Futures
Pages 49-63
Language en
Keywords SDG, urban development, sustainable development
Subject categories Peace and development research


The campaign for the inclusion of a specifically urban goal within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was challenging. Numerous divergent interests were involved, while urban areas worldwide are also extremely heterogeneous. It was essential to minimize the number of targets and indicators while still capturing critical urban dimensions relevant to human development. It was also essential to test the targets and indicators. This paper reports the findings of a unique comparative pilot project involving co-production between researchers and local authority officials in five diverse secondary and intermediate cities: Bangalore (Bengaluru), India; Cape Town, South Africa; Gothenburg, Sweden; Greater Manchester, United Kingdom; and Kisumu, Kenya. Each city faced problems in providing all the data required, and each also proposed various changes to maximize the local relevance of particular targets and indicators. This reality check provided invaluable inputs to the process of finalizing the urban SDG prior to the formal announcement of the entire SDG set by the UN Secretary-General in late September 2015.

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