The City Scan Diagnostic Tool

With rapid increase in urbanisation and global population movement, cities are becoming more diverse and multicultural, facing a wide range of challenges. Cities have a clear and important role in addressing these challenges by placing the New Urban Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as central element of their urban development policies.

The City Scan supports local governments in having a holistic understanding of their urban and sustainability challenges. The City Scan has evolved from being a communication and engagement tool and self-assessment exercise, to being vehicle that facilitates the identification of opportunities for developing sustainable urban projects, and foster cooperation and knowledge exchange between cities, within a framework that is fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.

A Voluntary Local Review (VLR), a concept first coined by New York City, mirrors Voluntary National Reviews (VNR). VNRs are presented by countries to the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) to report on their progress in achieving the SDGs.

VLRs are a valuable way for mapping local strategies and priorities against the SDGs, for communicating strengths, weaknesses and best practices to stakeholders and the community, and for identifying opportunities to accelerate local progress and collaboration.

Through the City Scan, the Cities Programme provides a platform that facilitates the process of data collection and reporting of local governments’ progress on the SDGs.

To discuss the opportunity for your city to undertake the City Scan diagnostic, please contact City Scan Coordinator, Sandra Moye,

Past City Scans

In the first iteration of the City Scan, 19 cities participated including Ahualulco, Mexico; Barcelona, Spain; Berlin, Germany; Cape Town, South Africa; Jamshedpur, India; Leeuwarden, The Netherlands; Maribyrnong, Australia; Melbourne, Australia; Milpa Alta, Mexico; Milwaukee, USA; Nilufer, Turkey; Oslo, Norway; Pasto, Colombia; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Pula Pola, Croatia; Rotorua, New Zealand; Tolima, Colombia; Wroclaw, Poland and Xlokk, Malta. 

This version of the City Scan focused on 212 indicators across three key areas – City Governance, City Sustainability and City Development. Below are examples of report summaries from Barcelona, Spain and Milwaukee, USA.

Barcelona, Spain
Milwaukee, USA