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World Cities Day – October 31, 2023

World Cities Day is observed on October 31 every year. The aim of the day is to raise awareness about global urbanization and push for global cooperation in sustainable urban development. World Cities Day aligns with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities — which deals with urban development sustainably. World Cities Day was announced by the U.N. in 2013 and has been observed every year since. The day brings to light the inequalities within the biggest cities in the world and pushes for greater social inclusion, including equality and access to services and opportunities.

History of World Cities Day

The first-ever cities appeared in the fertile crescent between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in a land known as Mesopotamia around 7500 B.C. These cities included Eridu, Ur, and Uruk. Soon, cities formed along the banks of the Nile River in Egypt, the Indus River in India, and the Huang He River in China. Cities grew in places with fertile soil, letting early humans abandon a more nomadic lifestyle. For the following millennia, cities continued to rise and fall across the world. Mesopotamia turned to rubble, the Indus Valley was deserted, and Rome rose and fell. But the institution of the city never went away.

Cities have been centers of trade, religion, culture, and education throughout history. However, the sheer scale of urban settlements today only became possible after the Industrial Revolution. The revolution drove people to cities in search of job opportunities in factories. Urban population growth has also been supported by technological advancements — these include the invention of steel, electricity conduction, elevators, etc. Over half the world’s population lives in cities now, and it’s more important than ever to make these people aware of how to sustainably co-exist within cities.

The U.N. has predicted that by 2030, there will be 41 megacities — cities with a population of over 10 million people. India, with its five megacities, is expected to house seven, other places that are bound to have megacities spring up include the likes of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Congo.

World Cities Day timeline

7500 B.C.
Cities Spring Up

Cities begin springing up in Mesopotamia.

395 A.D.
The Fall of Rome

The Western Roman Empire falls.

1760
The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution begins.

2013
World Cities Day

The U.N. announces the first World Cities Day.

World Cities Day FAQs

What was the theme of World Cities Day 2021?

The theme of World Cities Day was “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience.”

What is a primate city?

A primate city is a city that is dominant among a country’s urban areas.

What are examples of primate cities?

Mexico City, Paris, Cairo, Jakarta, and Seoul have all been referred to as primate cities.

How to Observe World Cities Day

  1. Learn about the history of cities

    World Cities Day exists because cities do. Learn about the history of cities and find out things that may surprise you.

  2. Learn about the issues in the modern city

    The institution of the city is fraught with problems, learn about them. See how communities as a whole can help solve some of them and make a difference in your city.

  3. Tell your friends and family

    If you live in a city, help spread awareness by talking to your friends and family about what you learned. If nothing more, you can wow them with facts.

5 Interesting Facts About Cities Around The World

  1. Moving Day

    Until the 1920s, everyone in New York only moved homes on May 1 — known as ‘Moving Day.’

  2. Museums

    Berlin has over 170 museums.

  3. The Hollywood sign

    The iconic Hollywood sign in Los Angeles was initially spelled ‘Hollywoodland.’

  4. Penguins in the city

    Cape Town houses over 2,000 African penguins.

  5. Oldest European capital

    The oldest European capital is Athens, Greece.

Why World Cities Day is Important

  1. It’s an excuse to learn about cities

    Cities are a fascinating concept. We appreciate any opportunity to learn more about the ecosystem in which half the world lives.

  2. It shines a light on an important issue

    Cities are indeed fraught with inequalities. World Cities Day brings to light the many problems plaguing cities around the world.

  3. It’s a reminder to live more sustainably

    Sustainable development has been immensely imperative for decades now. World Cities Day is a reminder to be more mindful of that fact.

World Cities Day dates

YearDateDay
2023October 31Tuesday
2024October 31Thursday
2025October 31Friday
2026October 31Saturday
2027October 31Sunday

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