The events of 2020 have highlighted how, more than ever before, we need strong and cohesive communities, and this year's World Cities Day
recognizes that with the theme “Valuing our Communities and Cities". ISO has a swathe of standards and committees dedicated to the cause.
The robustness of community-level health systems is just one of many pressure points that have been thrust under the spotlight since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Adequate infrastructures, energy supplies, transport networks and more are also key to cities of all sizes confronting current and future challenges.
Increasing urbanization and populations mean cities need to be sustainable in order to cope, and ISO's technical committee for sustainable communities, ISO/TC 268, was established with this in mind. Its flagship standard, ISO 37101, Sustainable development in communities – Management system for sustainable development – Requirements with guidance for use, provides an overall framework of what a sustainable community is, with guidance on how they can get there.
The standard can help communities in a number of areas, such as improving health and well-being, encouraging responsible resource use and achieving better governance, and is supported by hundreds of specific standards that provide guidance on exactly how to do that. These documents include standards ISO 22395
for supporting vulnerable persons in an emergency, ISO 22319 for planning the involvement of volunteers, and International Workshop Agreement IWA 18 for managing aged societies.
The future ISO 22371, Security and resilience – Urban resilience – Framework, model and guidelines for strategy and implementation, intends to help national and local governments build their capacity to face the new challenges arising from climate change and shifting demographics. Its development is being led by UN-Habitat
, the United Nations programme for human settlements, as part of the organization's urban resilience programme. The standard will define a framework for urban resilience, clarify the principles and concepts, and help users to identify, implement and monitor appropriate actions to make their cities more resilient.
UN-Habitat is also the organization behind World Cities Day, which is observed on the final day of its Urban October
, an initiative that raises the debate on urban challenges.