World Cities Day

World Cities Day Quick Facts - ZA

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2024 Date31 October 2024
2025 Date31 October 2025

World Cities Day

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World Cities Day History

World Cities Day is a global observance that aims to promote the international community's interest in urbanization and its challenges while encouraging cooperation among nations to create sustainable cities and improve urban living conditions. This day highlights the role of cities as vital platforms for social, economic, and political progress in today's world. The United Nations has identified building sustainable and resilient cities as one of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, acknowledging the need for urban planning and development policies that foster inclusiveness, safety, and sustainability.

The United Nations General Assembly designated 31st October as World Cities Day during its 68th session in 2013. The main theme for World Cities Day 2021 is "Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience," which is particularly relevant to South Africa. With a growing urban population, South African cities face various challenges such as inadequate housing, poverty, unemployment, and stressed public services. Furthermore, cities in South Africa are increasingly confronted with the effects of climate change, including water scarcity, rising temperatures, and extreme weather events, highlighting the need to develop and implement long-term climate adaptation strategies.

In South Africa, various stakeholders, including government institutions, academic organizations, and civil society groups, come together to observe World Cities Day through different activities and events. These include workshops, seminars, exhibitions, and public discussions focused on pressing themes such as urban governance, urban infrastructure, affordable housing, municipal service delivery, and environmental sustainability. World Cities Day, held on October 31st, serves as a platform for South Africans to raise awareness, share experiences and innovations, and foster collaboration in addressing the challenges facing their urban centers.

World Cities Day facts

  • The theme for World Cities Day in 2023 was Financing sustainable urban future for all.
  • Globally, over 50% of the population lives in urban areas today.
  • By 2045, the world’s urban population is expected to increase by 1.5 times to 6 billion.
  • Durban is known for its port, which is not only the busiest in South Africa but also in the entire continent. The city also has a large Indian population, with Indian culture significantly influencing local cuisine and architecture.
  • Kimberley was the location of a significant diamond rush in the 1860s and is home to the Big Hole, where diamonds were mined.

Top things to do in South Africa for World Cities Day

  • Join guided tours of cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria to explore their cultural, historical, and architectural sites. These tours can provide an insight into the urban development of these cities.
  • Participate in various environmental initiatives such as tree planting, beach clean-ups, or conservation projects happening in cities across South Africa.

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