UCB Libraries

Resources for GEOG 4742: Global Cities

“In the next 30 years the world's population will grow by 2.2 billion people. Of these, 2.1 billion will be born in cities. 2.0 billion will be born in the world's poorest cities.”
—USAID Making Cities Work web page


Global Issues on the UN Agenda . . . A guide to resources throughout the United Nations System on various topics. There are links to UN system programs and activities by global theme or issue, plus events, documents, learning tools, NGO partners, and key speeches. To locate information and programs on cities, select Human Settlements.

UNHabitat . . . Established in 1978 and based at Nairobi, Kenya, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) is the lead agency within the UN system for coordinating activities in the field of human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

  • Click on the tab for Publications. Browse by theme. Many of the publications are available for free as downloads.
  • Click on the tab for Programmes to access information on the global programs that involve countries from all over the world. The programs involve a wide range of partners, from central and local government to civil society and beneficiary communities.
  • Click on the tab for Our Work to access information on the issues UNHabitat is working on. You might find the Best Practices section particularly interesting.
  • Click on the tab for Countries. Use the map or the list of countries and regions on the left sidebar.

Global Urban Observatory . . . The GUO's main areas of work are assisting governments, local authorities, and organizations of local civil society to collect, manage, maintain, and use information on urban development for policy formulation, planning, and urban management; and to collect and disseminate the results of global, national, and city-level monitoring activities. Its premier product is the database UrbanInfo.

  • UrbanInfo Launched in 2006, this database contains social development indicators that allow comparison between rural and urban areas and give figures on shelter deprivations—including lack of access to water and sanitation, overcrowding, and conditions of housing structures at city and national levels. The system provides access to indicators organized by sector, goals, themes, and other data management schemes. It is integrated with Microsoft Office for easy presentation of data in tables, graphs, and maps.
    NOTE: this database does not work well in the Firefox browser.

World Urban Forum . . . The World Urban Forum was established by the United Nations to examine rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, and policies. It is projected that in the next 50 years, two-thirds of humanity will be living in towns and cities. A major challenge is to minimize burgeoning poverty in cities; improve the urban poor's access to basic facilities such as shelter, clean water, and sanitation; and achieve environment-friendly, sustainable urban growth and development. The World Urban Forum is a biennial gathering. The fourth forum was held November 3-6, 2008, in Nanjing, China.

Cities Alliance . . . Cities Alliance is a global coalition of cities and their development partners committed to successful approaches to poverty reduction. The Alliance helps cities develop sustainable financing strategies and attract long-term capital investments for infrastructure and other services. Its City Development Strategies should give you some insight into the coalition's activities. Click the Activities link on the left sidebar. Choose the region and click the arrow next to the country.

NOTE: the following are international organizations that work primarily at the country level, but they can still contain helpful resources. Some of them have pages devoted to urban issues.

United Nations Development Programme . . . Click on the tab for regions and look at the country pages. Note that a report on urban poverty in India was just released. Also, the UNDP is responsible for monitoring the progress of the Millennium Development Goals. Goal 7 is environmental sustainability, and Target 7d under that goal is "Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020." A Home in the City: Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers is a progress report toward achieving that target.

United Nations Environment Programme . . . Click on the Map to go to one of the regional offices.

  • Urban Environment Unit UNEP supports governments to address key urban environmental issues at the national, regional, and global levels. Click on Publications to locate reports and studies.
  • Global Environment Outlook (GEO) project is the implementation of UNEP’s mandate to keep the global environment under review. Initiated at the request of the UNEP Governing Council in 1995, GEO is both a process and a series of reports, analyzing environmental change, causes, impacts, and policy responses. 
  • GEO Data Portal Try searching “Urban” in the search box.

Food and Agriculture Organization . . . The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Start with the Countries tab on the left sidebar.

World Health Organization Health and Environment Linkages Initiative

World Bank Projects . . . The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. This is a link to the World Bank projects by theme page. Look for the Urban Development section at the bottom of the page. Click on the link Access to Urban Services and Housing for active and completed projects information. You can sort by Country/Area by clicking on the arrow at the top of the heading.

International Monetary Fund . . . The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 185 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation and financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. The IMF publishes its research and policy studies on its website. The September 2007 issue of its journal F & D (Finance and Development) is called "March of the Cities." Do a search on urban or global.

Making Cities Work . . . This is the website of the USAID’s Urban Programs Team. The team works in these areas: City Management and Governance, Municipal Finance, Housing, Infrastructure and Services, Local Economic Growth, Urban Health and Environment, Urban Security.

Additional Statistical Sources

Citing Your Work

  • RefWorks
    RefWorks is a database that lets you save your citations and then format them in the style of your choice. Check out this quick guide for help using this resource.
  • Citing Sources
    This guide goes over the various formats you can use to cite material as well as providing links to quick citation sheets.

Need More Help?

  • Country Pages
    These pages link to information from individual countries. Resources you find here include links to official government bodies, country profiles from organizations and news sources, links to articles and databases, and resources in Chinook.
  • Research & Subject Guides Database
    This is a collection of all the guides from the library on topics from development to geography to agriculture.

We are always happy to answer questions or set up appointments to have a more in-depth discussion of your research.

Suzanne Larsen
(2nd Fl Norlin)
Leanne Walther
(Government Information)
Research Desk
suzanne.larsen@colorado.edu leanne.walther@colorado.edu
303-492-4611 303-735-3750 303-492-7521