World Cities Day 2022: Theme, History and Significance


WORLD CITIES DAY 2022: Urbanisation, or the development of cities, has existed since the times of Indus Valley Civilisation. In the modern sense, urbanisation began with the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century. To find jobs, rural population moved to places near factories which led to the birth of modern cities. World Cities Day is celebrated on October 31 every year to highlight the need for international cooperation to promote global urbanisation and address its challenges. A different city hosts the event each year. Shanghai, China, is hosting the event this year.

World Cities Day 2022: Theme

“Better City, Better Life” has been the general theme of World Cities Day since its inception, but each year, a sub-theme is also announced. The sub-theme this year is “Act Local to Go Global.” To reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 11 of the United Nations by 2030, local action is vital. The mission of SDG 11 is to “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Local and regional governments need to be empowered to develop greener and more equitable cities.

World Cities Day: History

On December 27, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) established World Cities Day through a resolution. The first celebration took place on October 31, 2014. The second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements in 1976 influenced the UNGA’s decision to establish World Cities Day.

The UN-Habitat programme, established the following year, promotes the development of sustainable cities in line with SDG 11 goals. It conducts the annual Urban October programme for this purpose which begins on the first Monday of the month and ends on October 31, with World Cities Day.

World Cities Day: Significance

Urbanisation is a marker of national economic growth. Such development, however, faces social, economic, demographic and environmental challenges. Some of the most visible challenges to rapid urbanisation are displacement of original inhabitants, felling of trees, animals losing their habitats, issues of healthcare, food supply and pollution.

World Cities Day helps address these challenges by bringing together all stakeholders of local and global urban development.

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