Sustainable Cities

The cities of the Americas are experiencing dramatic and accelerating changes. Governments are channeling more resources and increased responsibilities to sub-national jurisdictions. In turn, many regional and local governments are facilitating business and community initiatives to expand and improve services in terms of coverage, quality and efficiency. International technical assistance and lending programs are supporting these changes.


Rapid urbanization poses serious challenges in terms of infrastructure and housing, common spaces and sustainable transportation, the prevention and correction of pollution the disposal of industrial waste, the promotion of pollution free consumption habits, and the management of sustainable technologies. The accelerated pace of urbanization is creating new forms of social and economic marginality that nurture crime and violence at epidemic levels. The largest urban centers are just beginning to keep track of city crime and are learning the particular forms of metropolitan violence. They are beginning to experiment with new measures capable of effectively curtailing violence.

Cities often expand beyond their planned limits, and official and informal systems to provide water, sewerage, waste disposal, and other common services to these areas tend to be insufficient and inefficient.

The existing fiscal and land-use policies are not conducive to facilitating adequate systems of urban transportation, nor is there a favorable environment for private participation in the transportation system. Different interest groups apply pressure to avoid updating and modernizing of urban traffic regulations.

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The OAS Sustainable Cities approach is driven with a set of actions in the fields of Economic Development, Housing, Pollution Prevention and Environmental Protection and Sustainable Transport. A Plan of Action was released as one of the main outputs of this Ministerial Meeting; it refers to urgent need to advance toward sustainable development by strengthening social awareness, with a broad vision that promotes public participation, integration, hemispheric cooperation, equity, and social justice, with special emphasis on women, children, and vulnerable groups.

The Plan of Action refers to four areas under this subject economic development, housing, pollution prevention and environmental protection, and sustainable transport. In response cities are forging ahead with improved policies and plans in:

  • Public Transport
  • Cycling and Walking
  • Sustainable Urban Development, Waste Management
  • Climate, Energy and Transport Policy
  • Traffic Reduction
  • Outreach and Awareness
Meetings and Events
Panel de Expertos "Ciudades Sostenibles en las Américas: Colaboración para Ciudades Vivibles e Inclusivas" Mayo 3, 2011