UN-Habitat launches Global Report on Human Settlements 2013: Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility

UN-Habitat launched its biannual flagship report, the Global Report on Human Settlements 2013 – Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility at World Habitat Day, in Medellin, Colombia and London, U.K. (Please see downloadable version of the Abridged version and the Full-text of the report)  The Asian launch event of the report takes place during the LTA – UITP Singapore International Transport Conference and Exhibition (SITCE) on October 8 in Singapore. Through the launch events on the 2013 GRHS  UN Habitat seeks to strengthen partnerships with existing partners on sustainable urban mobility and develop new partnerships. 

Please see below, the full list of GRHS Launch events:




Pre-Launch Event

New York, United States

4 October 2013

Official Launch of GRHS

Medellin, Colombia

7 October 2013

European Launch of GRHS

London, United Kingdom

7 October 2013

Asian Launch of GRHS

Singapore, Singapore

8 October 2013

Expert Meeting on the Recommendations on 2013 GRHS – Planning and Design of Sustainable Urban Mobility

Oslo, Norway 9 October 2013
Expert Meeting on the Recommendations on 2013 GRHS – Planning and Design of Sustainable Urban Mobility Berlin, Germany  10 October 2013

In the report UN-Habitat says the greatest challenge to urban mobility comes from the fixation with building or expanding transport infrastructure, over increasingly long distances, rather than ensuring people greater access to destinations and facilities that satisfy their needs. The report suggests that urban planners and decision-makers must realize the human right of people to equitable access and make the fulfillment of that right the focus of their efforts to improve urban mobility.

Speaking at the launch, Dr. Clos said, “Urbanization is growing very fast particularly in developing countries, where populations and number of motorized vehicles are rising at rates where urban infrastructure investments are unable to keep pace. This report will serve as a starting point to guide local authorities and other stakeholders to address the challenges faced by urban transportation systems all over the world.”

The theme of this year’s publication, Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility, is also the topic of this year’s World Habitat Day, celebrated annually on the first Monday of October to reflect on the state of human settlements and sustainable urbanization. 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of World Habitat Day commented: “Mobility is not just a question of building wider or longer roads; it is about providing appropriate and efficient systems that serve the most people in the best, most equitable manner.  This includes encouraging a transition from car use to trains, buses and bicycles, and bringing more pedestrians onto well-lit sidewalks”. 

The report states that there is a huge disconnect between transport needs and investments, where – despite over half of all passenger and goods trips being by foot, bicycle or rickshaw – the bulk of transport investments focus on cars.

“Mobility is not just about developing transport infrastructure and services; it is about overcoming the social, economic, political and physical barriers to movement, such as class, gender relations, poverty, physical disabilities and affordability,” says Dr Joan Clos in the foreword of the report. “The right to equitable access is about empowering people to exercise their basic human rights to the fullest.”

Published every two years, the Global Report on Human Settlements provides an up-to-date assessment of conditions and trends in the world’s cities and other human settlements. These reports are essential tools and references for researchers, academics, planners, public authorities and civil society organizations around the world. 

Highlights from the Global Report on Human Settlements 2013 to which many of the SLoCaT members contributed: