Cyclists at a 2030 NOW event in Copenhagen, one of the most bicycle-friendly capital cities in the world. Israels Plads, Copenhagen, Denmark (55° 40’ 58’’ N – 12° 34’ 06’’ E) © Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Cyclists gather on Israel Square, Copenhagen. The Danish capital is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. In fact, the bike is the most popular mode of transport in the city. A range of studies have shown the many benefits of being a bike-friendly city. The air is cleaner, there is less noise pollution, and regular exercise means that cyclists take fewer days off work. Children and young people who cycle or walk to school instead of being driven also appear to find it easier to concentrate and learn.
GOAL BY 2030: THE RIGHT FOR ALL TO LIVE IN SAFE, SUITABLE AND AFFORDABLE HOMES. BETTER PUBLIC TRANSPORT, PARTICULARLY FOR CHILDREN, PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND OLDER PEOPLE.
Cities all over the world are growing rapidly. This brings particular challenges, especially for young people, because urban population growth is pushing up house prices.
In many developing countries, inward migration is often to areas that either are slums or soon become slums. The dwellings in these areas are often unsafe shacks that lack water and sanitation, with too many people crammed into too little space. Approximately 900 million people live in slums, and that number is rising.
The people who live in cities must have the right to a say in how they develop. They must be sustainable, with clean air and safe, effective waste processing. Millions die each year from air pollution, and nine out of ten city dwellers breathe air that does not comply with the World Health Organization’s recommendations.
Air quality in Denmark has improved significantly in recent decades. Nevertheless, it is estimated that around 3,700 Danes die from air pollution every year, with traffic and wood-burning stoves the main culprits.
Cities need be designed to withstand climate change and natural disasters, and everybody in them must have access to safe green areas and public spaces. We must also learn to take better care of unique cultural and natural sites – of our world heritage.