The New Urban Agenda calls for a global people-based definition of cities and settlements. Indeed to facilitate monitoring and benchmarking, it is important that the same definition of cities and settlements is used across the globe. This commitment will test a global definition of cities and settlements and present the results to a variety of stakeholders for comments. The new method will rely on the EU-OECD city definition and the EU degree of urbanisation. This new method will be applied to a population grid created for this purpose. This grid is based on a combination of population data from CIESIN, Columbia University with a building detection layer called the Human Global Settlement Layer (GHSL) developed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. In addition, this commitment will also support the monitoring of the urban SDG by providing data on land use and its change over time.
This commitment will be implemented in separate phases.
Phase one: At the Habitat III conference, the preliminary results of this work will be presented and shared. These results include a list of settlements, their boundaries and a list of primary attributes.
Phase two: An online tool will be developed to provide customised access to the definition of cities and settlements and its underlying data. This will allow people to extract data from the global GIS layers specifically for their city or country.
Phase three: The results of applying this new methodology will be further tested using different data sources. The results will be discussed with countries from across the world to understand if it works and whether it needs to be adapted.
Phase four: The underlying data will be improved using more recent and higher resolution satellite to identify built-up areas.
Phase five: A proposal for a global people-based definition of cities and settlements will be presented to the UN.
The goal of this commitment is to develop a method that will allow every city to identify its boundary in an identical manner. This method will be applied to the best available data and the results will be shared.
This commitment will also populate a database of cities with a limited number of harmonised indicators based on global data sources.
The deliverables of this project include:
1) a list of cities and settlements and their boundaries and a range of their main attributes (population, built-up area, open space)
2) freely accessible population grids,²
3) Papers with the test results of applying this method to different data sources
4) Summaries of the feedback received from different countries across the world.
5) A detailed proposal for a global people-based definition of cities and settlements will be presented to the UN and the results when applied to the best available data.