The United Nations has designated every 31 October as World Cities Day. The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanisation, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

World Cities Day 2020

This year, under the theme of ‘valuing our communities and cities’, the South African government, through the Department of Cooperative Governance’s Intergrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) is paving a new deal for South African cities and towns.

“By 2030 SA should see reviving rural areas and creating more integrated, balanced and vibrant urban settlements,” the government states. “To achieve this the country must clarify and relentlessly pursue a national vision for spatial development. We must sharpen the instruments to achieve this vision and build the required capabilities in the state and among citizens.”

Therefore, the IUDF aims to guide the development of inclusive, resilient and livable urban settlements as well as create more humane, environment-friendly, safe living and working conditions.

“To achieve this vision, four strategic goals are introduced: Access, growth, governance and spatial transformation.”

  • Access: To ensure people have access to social and economic services, opportunities and choices.
  • Growth: To harness urban dynamism for inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development.
  • Governance: To enhance the capacity of the state and its citizens to work together to achieve social integration.
  • Spatial transformation: To forge new spatial forms in settlement, transport, social and economic areas.

Sustainable urban development

Lynne McCarthy said in Mining Weekly that the global community, need to address the future challenges of urbanisation and make a concerted effort in contributing to sustainable urban development; especially during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, whilst most households work and study from home.

It is said that it is estimated that cities and towns are populated by at least 55% of the human population and that this number will increase to 70% by the year 2050, with the majority of growth attributed to Asia,  Africa, China, India and Nigeria where population growth is at its highest.

Urbanisation issues

Another concerning issue cities are facing, is that of clean water and sanitation. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we still live in a society where

  • one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water;
  • two out of five, do not have basic water facilities for personal hygiene;
  • also, 673 million people still participate in public defecation.

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Presh JM Reporter

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