Selected Links and Resources - Urbanization

These resources are a small sampling of the organizations that are working to understand and shape our urban future.


United Nations’ Urban Data

Global Urban Observatory
These databases of indicators in several hundred cities have been compiled by a worldwide network of researchers, organized by UN-HABITAT. This Nairobi-based U.N. office also produces several publications, including the State of the World’s Cities report every two years.

World Urbanization Prospects (U.N. Population Division)
This online database allows you to search the 2005 revision of the United Nations’ latest estimates of global urban population.



BBC’s Urban Planet
This BBC site includes print, video, and audio stories about urbanization.

Environment and Urbanization
This unique peer-reviewed journal includes analysis of global urban development from academics, as well as local stories from people working on the ground in the cities of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

City Mayors
This online magazine reports local news from cities worldwide.

Global Urban Development Magazine
Both original articles and excerpts from other publications are included in the online publication of Global Urban Development, a worldwide network of professionals dedicated to tackling urban problems.

Urban Age Magazine
Originally housed at the World Bank and now published by the independent, nonprofit Urban Age Institute, this magazine provides a forum for international debate on issues that affect the quality of life in cities everywhere.


International Networks, Agreements, and Research

ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability
This association of local governments serves as a clearinghouse for information on urban environmental policies and spearheads the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign.

International Solar Cities Initiative
This Oxford-based network provides targets to guide cities towards major reductions in carbon emissions.

Megacities Project
This non-profit group brings together civil society, business, government, media, and academic leaders from the world’s largest cities to spur the transfer of urban innovations.

Sister Cities International
This nonprofit network links cities in the United States to cities worldwide. Its programs include the Sister Cities Network for Sustainable Development

United Cities and Local Governments
The world’s largest network of local government associations, UCLG acts as a unified voice for local authorities in international policy discussions. 

Urban Environmental Accords
On World Environment Day in June 2005, mayors and other representatives of cities worldwide pledged to take action to improve their local environments.

Woodrow Wilson Center Comparative Urban Studies Project
This U.S.-based project connects urban research worldwide to policy making through conferences and publications.


Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Cities Alliance
Launched by the World Bank and UN-HABITAT, this coalition now includes the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme, and provides matching grants for cities to develop slum upgrading programs, and to devise plans to attract long-term capital investments.

Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
ITDP works with municipalities and local NGOs to promote greener and more equitable transportation and development, primarily in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Millennium Cities Initiative
Columbia University’s Earth Institute launched the Millennium Cities Initiative, a companion to its Millennium Villages Project, to attract foreign direct investment to several African cities.

Urban Development Gateway
This portal, funded by various development agencies, contains links to many recent publications, and invites discussion about the effective urban development practices.

Urban Sustainability Initiative
With support from the Moore Foundation, a number of organizations are working with medium-sized cities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to develop along an environmentally friendly path.


Europe and North America

Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program
The State of American Cities is one publication produced by this research program, which analyzes metropolitan issues to inform U.S. policymakers.

Canadian Urban Institute
This nonprofit research organization advises policy makers in Canada, and partners with the Japan Local Government to exchange ideas on local government practices and other urban issues.

Center for Neighborhood Technology
This Chicago-based group aims to link economic and community development with ecological improvement.

European Academy of the Urban Environment
This organization provides a database of case studies in urban environmental management in European cities.

Institute for Local Self Reliance
This organization works with citizen groups, governments, and private businesses to extract the maximum value from local resources.

The European Commission’s LIFE (The Financial Instrument for the Environment) co-finances environmental initiatives in the European Union, and in some EU-candidate countries. LIFE in the City
documents urban environmental projects.

National League of Cities
The largest association of municipal governments in the United States has set up the National City Network, a web portal for sharing solutions to city problems.

Partners for Livable Communities
This nonprofit organization promotes livable communities through technical assistance, leadership training, workshops, research, and publications.

Smart Growth America
This coalition of U.S. organizations promotes citizen-driven planning of metropolitan areas, including revitalizing older areas and preserving open space and the environment.

This organization has provided a ranking of large U.S. cities using “sustainability” indicators.