Smart cities for sustainable development

31-10-2014, Vienna, Austria

For the first time this year two important dates in the urban calendar happened in October. The first Monday of October of every year since 1986 is a World Habitat Day. This year, October ends with World City Day, celebrated this year for the first time and built around the theme: Better City, Better Life. Both days are organized under the auspices of UN-Habitat. We thought this would be an excellent opportunity to share a few words about our efforts to promote and support sustainable cities, also highlighted our 2013/2014 Annual Report.

World Habitat Day was organized this year under the theme Voices from Slums, focusing on raising awareness of conditions in the world's slums, while the first World City Day addressed the urban future and the empowerment of people to contribute to solutions that improve it.

In the next decades, urban dwellers will account for nearly three-quarters of the world’s population. Even now more than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. The process of urbanization that has been observed in the developed world for over 100 years is accelerating now in Asia and Africa. Millions of people are moving to cities, often triggering complications such as unplanned settlements and lack of proper infrastructure to fulfill even basic needs. Cities, however, do offer great potential for a better life for many people.

REEEP has focused on building sustainability into booming urban environments in the developing world for several years. One key area of this effort has focused on transport.

The transport sector is already one of greatest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, a situation that will only worsen as exploding transport demand in urban areas continues to be met largely by personal transport (motor vehicles). Efficient and customer-friendly public transport can curb emissions while directly improving living conditions for urban dwellers. Improved public transport planning and better access for passengers depends to a large extent on the availability and quality of data and information. To address this aspect of transport planning and implementation, REEEP focuses on opening up and linking data across sectors in the urban development space, and is working with a wide group of stakeholders to pursue sustainable planning and improved customer experiences in the area of public transportation .

You can find more on REEEP’s recent endeavors towards improved urban transport systems on pages 29 and 37 of our Annual Report.

REEEP worked with the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy in Jakarta on optimizing and improving the Jakarta's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and introducing "trunk/feeder" and feeder services. Read a bit about this case on page 51 of the Annual Report.