SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable

With an increasing share of the world’s population living in cities, SDG11 is increasingly important.

The goal covers a wide range of areas, from safety to resilience and sustainability, and also overlaps with other goals. In essence, the goal’s “inclusive” wording emphasizes that no one should be left behind. Thus, eliminating slums is key to achieving the goal.

Many of the areas covered by the SDG are mainly challenging for developing countries, but others are of a more global nature. The developed countries have generally succeeded best within the safety perspective (represented here by air pollution). They also have a greater economic capacity to continue this trend during the next 15 years.


ROW is unlikely to ensure the safe well-being of the urban population over the coming 15 years and so gets red. China faces huge challenges, both with slums and pollution, and thus also gets red, although this is uncertain, and could also be yellow. BRISE is more diverse and gets a yellow rating, with somewhat better figures on both indicators. OECD and the USA are rated green.

Understanding the score

Five regions: USA, OECD (excl. USA), China, BRISE (Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and 10 other emerging economies), ROW (rest of the world).
Green light: Goal likely to be reached.
Orange light: Goal not likely to be reached, but more than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.
Red light: Goal not likely to be reached, and less than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.

Siemens: City centred

With 66 per cent of the world's population expected to live in cities by 2050, urban centres are tasked with the fundamental changes needed to meet every one of the SDGs. Cities will need to be cleaner, safer, resource efficient, resilient, and more inclusive – and not just to place themselves on a sustainable footing; they will need to tick these boxes in order to compete with each other, and to attract skilled people and inward investment.

“Cities are the biggest energy consumers and carbon emitters," says Elaine Trimble, Director, Siemens, Global Center of Competence Cities. "If you really want to talk about energy efficiency and climate change, then you have to talk about cities.” Helping cities to make more informed decisions, based on real city data and fact-based analysis of technology solutions, is where Trimble sees her efforts bringing the most value to cities.

“It's amazing how many cities don't have an integrated strategy for infrastructure to improve local quality of life, enable economic growth, and boost competitiveness,” she says. But cities and city managers are seeing the connection, and they are implementing new technologies.

The SDGs will be made or broken in the world’s cities, which will need to absorb well over 2 billion additional people by 2050. Cities occupy only 3 % of the world’s landmass, but consume over two-thirds of global energy. These are staggering numbers, and it will be up to businesses to provide many of the digital, physical, and economically ‘smart’ solutions needed to reach SDG 11.

For the complete forecast on SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities and the full Siemens story, download the report.

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