Developing and Testing the Urban Sustainable Development Goal’s Targets and Indicators – A Five-city Study

Helen Arfvidsson, Geetika Anand, Amir Bashir Bazaz, Gill Fenna, Kevin Foster, Garima Jain, Stina Hansson, Louise Marix Evans, Nishendra Moodley, Charles Nyambuga, Michael Oloko, Doris Chandi Ombara, Zarina Patel, Beth Perry, Natasha Primo, Aromar Revi, Brendon Van Niekerk, Alex Wharton, Carol Wright  |  2016 


The campaign for the inclusion of a specifically urban goal within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was challenging. Numerous divergent interests were involved, while urban areas worldwide are also extremely heterogeneous. It was essential to minimise the number of targets and indicators while still capturing critical urban dimensions relevant to human development. It was also essential to test the targets and indicators. This paper reports the findings of a unique comparative pilot project involving co-production between researchers and local authority officials in five diverse secondary and intermediate cities: Bangalore (Bengaluru), India; Cape Town, South Africa; Gothenburg, Sweden; Greater Manchester, United Kingdom; and Kisumu, Kenya. Each city faced problems in providing all the data required, and each also proposed various changes to maximise the local relevance of particular targets and indicators. This reality check provided invaluable inputs to the process of finalising the urban SDG prior to the formal announcement of the entire SDG set by the UN Secretary-General in late September 2015.