Adapting the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda to the city level: Initial reflections from a comparative research project

Sandra Valencia, David Simon, Sylvia Croese, Joakim Nordqvist, Michael Oloko, Tarun Sharma, Nick Taylor Buck, Ileana Versace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda recognise the role of cities in achieving sustainable development. However, these agendas were agreed and signed by national governments and thus implementing them at the local level requires a process of adaptation or localisation. In this paper, we analyse five aspects that practitioners and researchers need to consider when localising them: (1) delimitation of the urban boundary; (2) integrated governance; (3) actors;(4) synergies and trade-offs and (5) indicators. These considerations are interrelated, and while not exhaustive, provide an important initial step for reflection on the challenges and opportunities of working with these global agendas at the local level. The paper draws on the inception phase of an international comparative transdisciplinary research project in seven cities on four continents: Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cape Town (South Africa), Gothenburg (Sweden), Kisumu (Kenya), Malmö (Sweden), Sheffield (UK) and Shimla (India).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-23
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Urban Sustainable Development
Issue number1
Early online date8 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Mar 2019


  • SDGs; Sustainable Development Goals; New Urban Agenda; SDGs localisation; cities; SDG 11; urban SDG; transdisciplinary research; knowledge co-production; urban rights

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