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 contributed with a national report in 2021. Based on the BBSR’s typology of cities and regions, cities and communities of different sizes and geographical locations were 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 onwards, a global progress report on the status of implementation of the New Urban Agenda shall be presented every four years. This report shall be based on the contributions of member states and responsible regional and international organisations. The first global report will be presented to the General Assembly of the United Nations 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: According to the 2018 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects, 55% of the current world population live in urbanised areas. The United Nations estimate that the percentage of the global urban population will increase to 68% by 2050. Against this background, in the EU the percentage of the urban population would rise 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 pursuing new avenues. It guides cities and communities in planning, design, finance, development, governance and administration in order to accommodate sustainable development – and 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.


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

The project has been based on the following guiding research questions:

  • How should evidence-based reports be prepared on current topics such as mobility in cities and regions, climate protection and digitalisation? Which spatial differentiations are required at the levels of urban neighbourhoods, cities, city regions and regions?
  • Which indicators may be used to characterise the current topics and measure their development?
  • Which new sources of validated and permanently accessible 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 is employed for the national reporting?

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

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

The map is available as download in English and German (see "Publications").

The project was executed by Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik gGmbH, Berlin, Germany, on behalf of the BBSR.


  • 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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