Happy World Cities Day!

At the end of 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 31st of October as World Cities Day. By creating a day each year to think about and plan for and and celebrate cities, the UN hopes to sweep the world with one overarching message: Better City, Better Life. 

The World Cities Day 2018 celebration is happening in Liverpool, United Kingdom and focuses on urban resilience and sustainability. The programme is packed with keynotes and workshops and speeches by mayors and delegates and councillors. Can you imagine what it would be like to be in a room with so many other urban cheerleaders?

San Francisco, California, USA

Since we can’t buzz over to Liverpool today, I’ve compiled a list of urban fun facts that will serve as the Official Sidewalk Club Celebration of World Cities Day 2018. I doubt the UN will live link to us like they’re doing for the festivities in Paris, but we’ll celebrate cities anyway!

Dubai, UAE

Global City Fun Facts 

  • 55% of world’s population lives in urban areas at present. Just 30% of the population of the world was urban in 1950, and the number is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. 
  • Every week, 1.4 million people move to cities.
  • The total urban population of the world is 4.2 billion. 
  • A megacity has a population of more than 10 million people. There are 31 megacities in existence across the globe today. 
  • A global city is a primary node in the global economy; critical to the international exchange of goods and services. There are 135 global cities today.
  • How many cities are there in the world? No one knows for sure, as cities are a dynamic phenomenon and populations are always in flux. Experts have counted more than 4,000 cities in the world with a population of 100,000 or more. 

Urban Records

  • Tallest building: Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE
  • World’s First Skyscraper: Home Insurance Building in Chicago, Illinois, USA (a 10-story building completed in 1885).
  • Largest city by population: Shanghai, China (proper) at 24,256,800 people!
  • City with highest population density: Manila, Philippines with 107,561 people per square mile.
  • Highest city: El Alto, Bolivia is 13,615 feet above sea level.
  • Lowest city: Jericho, Palestine is 846 feet below sea level.
  • Coldest city: Yakutsk, Russia. Record low was −64.4 °C (−83.9 °F).
  • Hottest city: Yuma, Arizona, USA. Record High was 124 °F (51 °C).
  • Sunniest city: Yuma, Arizona, USA boasts 4,015 hours of sunshine a year
  • Darkest city: Rjukan, Norway. There is no direct sunlight for 6 months out of the year!
Shanghai, China
  • Largest urban park: Bosque de la Primavera Park in Guadalajara, Mexico (74,132 acres).
  • Longest Metro system: Shanghai, China
  • Largest Metro system by ridership: Beijing, China with 3,777 million riders per year.
  • City with most Metro stations: New York, New York, USA
  • Oldest Metro system: London, United Kingdom’s metro opened in 1890.
Adana, Turkey
  • Newest Metro system: Ürümqi Metro in Ürümqi, Xinjiang, China was completed in 2017.
  • Most bicycles: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Oldest continuously inhabited city: It’s debateable! The front-runners are Aleppo, Syria; Byblos, Lebanon; and Damascus, Syria. All are thought to have originated around 5000 BC are are still thriving cities today.

The Secretary General of the United Nations released a message on World Cities Day that ends like this:

On World Cities Day, let us be inspired by [cities around the world]. Let us work together to build sustainable and resilient cities that provide safety and opportunities for all.

We’ll do our part, Secretary General.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA