Global Observatory on Sustainable Proximities [UCLG Decalogue]


The Observatory was formally initiated by the Chaire ETI, UCLG, C40 and UN-Habitat at the World Urban Forum in 2022 and is officially launched during the United Nations Second Habitat Assembly in 2023. Through the Global Observatory of Sustainable Proximities, major global urban actors join forces by placing the theme of proximity at the heart of urban strategies. This global initiative allows us to jointly drive large scale change by informing urban strategies in cities worldwide. It will develop joint proximity principles, indicators, and measures; build a global centre for knowledge sharing and capacity building, gather a global network and support city implementation; besides boosting further international research.

Its raison d’être is simply that current complex and systemic issues call for collective and collaborative efforts. We need to go beyond geographical, cultural, and disciplinary borders to create a global common space for reflection, exchange, sharing of good practices and inspiration.

The proximity concept gained international attention when the ’15 minute city‘ was elaborated by Professor Carlos Moreno and adopted by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. As highlighted in the IPCC AR6 WGIII report, urban form, planning and infrastructure can be used to encourage sustainable lifestyle changes, and urban areas that develop effective 15-minute city strategies are very likely to reduce urban energy use and emissions. By placing people at the centre of the urban plan, the proximity concept aims to ensure an equitable distribution of all essential social functions – for living, working, supplying, caring, learning, and enjoying – so that all residents can benefit from shorter access time. It frees us from time spent travelling, and frees space from vehicular traffic.

The Global Observatory of Sustainable Proximities will serve as a go-to knowledge and capacity building platform, collecting information about local initiatives while also promoting the urban proximity concept across the globe. The aim is to develop a common understanding of sustainable proximity and a centre of reference for knowledge sharing and capacity building, and to gather a global network to support cities in implementation.


Through the Global Observatory of Sustainable Proximities, major global urban actors join forces by placing the theme of proximity at the heart of urban strategies. Moving beyond the academic concepts, this initiative allows us to drive large-scale change by informing urban policies worldwide. The four founding partners, Chaire ETI at the IAE Paris Sorbonne Business School, UN-Habitat, UCLG and C40 Cities, are jointly leading the work to fulfil these objectives.


Local communities


At a time when the combined effects of environmental crises and socio-spatial inequalities are increasingly impacting lives, sustainable proximities offer a key enabler capable of fostering human well-being and effective climate action.

Additional information

Goal 3
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 8
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 10
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Goal 15
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss


Knowledge database
Initiative database

Financing (in USD)