Sustainable cities are the present and future powerhouses of inclusive development. A city cannot be considered sustainable without being inclusive and providing “equal rights and access to the benefits and opportunities that cities can offer” (New Urban Agenda iv). If a city does not include all of its population in its development, it is both ignoring fundamental human rights and missing out on the special talents that each person has to offer. In addition,When cities focus on sustainable urbanization, the population’s quality of life and employment opportunities increase (New Urban Agenda iv). The United Nation’s New Urban Agenda presents a set of standards for urban development. The agenda’s pillars include topics such as urban design, legislation policy, and local implementation strategies (New Urban Agenda iv).
The New Urban Agenda states that inclusive cities promote “a sense of belonging and ownership among all their inhabitants,” and “leave no one behind” (New Urban Agenda articles 13-14). Inclusive cities promote racial, gender, and economic equality (New Urban Agenda article 13). Inclusive cities reduce vulnerability to environmental disasters, minimize their environmental impact, and promote sustainable consumption and production patterns (New Urban Agenda article 13). The agenda provides necessary vision for an inclusively sustainable future, and one in which each country can strive towards within the framework of their current systems.
An important part of the New Urban Agenda is the “call to action.” The call to action states that “While the specific circumstances of cities of all sizes, towns and villages vary, we affirm that the New Urban Agenda is universal in scope,” recognizing that each area has its own unique strengths and challenges (New Urban agenda article 16). The agenda’s “implementation plan” provides a more specific call to action, with specific examples of steps that actors at the local level, national level, and private sector can take. Cities have the power to connect issues of sustainability, inclusivity, equality, and development. It is vital that people at each level of society recognize the powerful potential of sustainable cities, and take the necessary actions towards them. The New Urban Agenda’s creation is a valuable step forward towards the achievement of sustainable cities, with an organized vision and action plan for both present and future generations.