The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Research Project: New Urban Agenda of the United Nations: characterising, measuring and visualising the progress of its implementation across various levels

Project briefing

Compact urban development, the efficient use of resources, mobility in cities and regions as well as the well-being of all are the core messages of the New Urban Agenda adopted by the United Nations as global guiding principle of modern urban development. From 2022, the United Nations will report every four years on the progress of its implementation. Germany will contribute with a national report in 2021. Based on the BBSR’s typology of cities and regions cities and communities of different sizes and geographical positions are active partners in developing the report.


The New Urban Agenda, endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2017, lays down in paragraph 166 that, from 2018 on, every four years a global progress report on the status of implementation of the New Urban Agenda shall be presented. This report shall be based on contributions of member states as well as responsible regional and international organisations. The UN-Habitat Assembly will present the first global quadrennial report during its 28th session in 2022.

The global report and the national reports react to the ongoing urbanisation and the development in rural areas as well as the accompanying trends of disparity, poverty, environmental degradation, social and economic exclusion and spatial segregation: 55 % of the current world population live in urbanised areas according to the 2018 Revision of the World Urbanization Prospects. The United Nations estimate that the percentage of the global urban population will increase to 68 % by 2050. Against this background, the percentage of the urban population would rise in the EU from 76 % today to 85 %. In Germany, the percentage of the urban population would rise from 77 % to 84 % in 2050 (United Nations 2018).

The New Urban Agenda targets these challenges by following new avenues. It guides cities and communities in planning, design, finances, development, governance and administration in order to accommodate sustainable development – also in terms of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also adopted by the United Nations. Local self-administration, subsidiarity and decentralisation as well as respective governance structures thus constitute core principles.


The project aims at characterising, measuring and visualising the progress achieved in Germany in implementing the New Urban Agenda by texts and graphics and in close cooperation with selected cities and communities. The project team chooses the cities primarily from the group of municipal signatories of the 2030 Agenda (see map).

The project is based on the following guiding research questions:

  • How may be reported on current topics such as mobility in cities and regions as well as climate protection and digitalisation on an evidence basis? Which spatial differentiations are required on the levels of urban neighbourhoods, cities, city regions and regions?
  • Which indicators may characterise the current topics and measure their development?
  • Which new data sources that are validated and permanently accessible – such as open data and remote sensing data – may be used in addition to those mentioned in the context of the SDGs?
  • Which requirements, particularly in the European and international context, are necessary for harmonising the data that are employed for the national reporting?

Map "Municipal signatories of the specimen resolution on the 2030 Agenda"

The map is also available as download in English and German.

Municipal signatories of the specimen resolution on the 2030 Agenda Municipal signatories of the specimen resolution on the 2030 Agenda


  • Dr. André Müller
    Division RS 3 "European Spatial and Urban Development"
    Phone: +49 228 99401-2341

  • Antonia Milbert
    Division RS 6 "Urban, Environmental and Spatial Monitoring"
    Phone: +49 228 99401-2256

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