The challenge

By 2050 approximately two thirds of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, placing cities at the core of sustainable development. Urban systems often face challenges of rapid urbanization, such as growing vulnerability to climate change, spatial inequalities, pressures of migration and conflict, and difficulties to promote inclusive prosperity and economic development. Spatial strategies and plans, adequate urban design and sustainable infrastructure have a key role to play in shaping cities that are more inclusive, fair and liveable.


urban plans and strategies developed
professionals, decision-makers and other stakeholders engaged
We worked with
cities across 24 countries
Beneficiary - Yo Ito

“I have often seen appeals by many agencies to address the problems of arid and semi-arid areas. Spatial planning modalities and development of adequate infrastructure is our way of contributing to mitigating such problems and I am sure it will help the people of Kalobeyei, Kenya to move to a better future. The Government of Japan is happy to be part of this noble project. We are also happy and wish to congratulate all those who collaborated to deliver this and we will continue to support you in your endeavours. I am happy to see that UN-Habitat and partners are working hard to see that refugees and the local people work hand in hand.”

Yo Ito, First Secretary of Japan to the Republic of Kenya, Government of Japan at the certification Ceremony for Japanese Innovation Technologies in Kalobeyei New Settlement in Kenya, a settlement for refugees and host communities

Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

Sustainable, inclusive and safe cities and communities are essential to a dignified life with all human rights protected. UN-Habitat’s work focuses on promoting urban areas that comprehensively meet and safeguard human rights through specific design principles as well as inclusive planning and design processes that leave no one behind.

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How women experience the city significantly shapes how they can lead their lives, yet urban planning and design often fails to accommodate women’s specific needs and preferences. UN-Habitat actively works towards gender-inclusive cities by applying a gender lens and empowering women to shape the cities they live in by engaging in planning and design processes.

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UN-Habitat’s work aims to achieve inclusive planning and design that considers the needs and preferences of all urban dwellers, particularly vulnerable groups such as children, youth and the elderly. Participatory approaches to urban planning and design, for example in the form of planning charettes and workshops that allow different target groups to work together at eye-level, allow for a better understanding of how cities can cater for all populations.

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Planning and especially design play a crucial role in ensuring accessibility and accommodating the needs and preferences of persons with disabilities. Participatory processes and awareness raising support planning and design solutions that improve the urban realm accordingly, making cities and communities more equal and inclusive.

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Related Sustainable Development Goals

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Donors and partners

Successful urban planning and design builds on partnerships with and between complex sets of stakeholders. UN-Habitat nurtures ad hoc as well as long-term partnerships with other UN agencies, local and national governments, the private sector, civil society, and funding partners to facilitate collaborative action for urban transformation. Through expert consultation, co-production and participatory processes, we develop global norms and guidelines and trigger innovation. Together with our partners, we build capacity on the job as well as in the form of carefully designed training events and materials and thereby reach both global and local experts and decision-makers.

Our Experts

Shipra Narang-Suri
Head, Urban Planning and Design Branch
UN Urban Planning and Design/ Nairobi
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