From 2014-2017, the USA Sustainable Cities Initiative (USA-SCI) supported SDG achievement strategies in three US cities by building on ongoing municipal sustainable development planning efforts. New York (New York), Baltimore (Maryland), and San José (California) are global pioneers – the first to develop SDG-based city-level development strategies that have served as models for cities worldwide.Learn more about SCI Baltimore Learn more about SCI San Jose
City-university collaboration is an integral part of achieving SDGs in American cities in the long term. In the first phase of the USA-SCI, SDSN collaborated with leading academic institutions–including Columbia University, University of Baltimore, University of Maryland, San Jose State University, and Stanford University–to support the technical process of developing long-term SDG-based strategies in each city.
The project included:
- Inclusive dialogues, across communities, on the relevance of the SDG process and how SDGs can be made responsive to city-level development challenges and opportunities;
- The articulation of clear and compelling goals, specific to the city, yet aligned with the global SDGs, covering poverty, jobs, security, education, health, housing, infrastructure, low-carbon energy and environmental protection;
- Exercises into how to operationalize the goals, through carefully developed targets and indicators;
- Identification of good practices and encouragement of their scale-up;
- An “SDG recommendations report” for two pilot cities, outlining how the city’s sustainability efforts align with the SDGs, and offering next steps for achievement. Reports for Baltimore and San Jose were completed in December 2016;
- A chapter on the design process behind the OneNYC sustainability plan and how that aligned with Agenda 2030 – to be published in the forthcoming book entitled Smart(er) NYC (Columbia University Press, 2017).
Efforts in the three cities have served to demonstrate what is possible with localizing the SDGs. Many tools and resources developed through this partnership can be used as models in other cities that wish to join the SDG effort. See below for examples and a template of SDG mapping in each city.
- SDG Mapping Worksheet Template
- Baltimore SDG Mapping Worksheet
- New York City SDG Mapping Worksheet
- San José SDG Mapping Worksheet
And read our October 2018 working paper on lessons for city-level SDG action here.