International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP)


In response to the ongoing rapid urbanisation and related economic, social and environmental impacts, the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (the ‘Guidelines’) are intended to be:

“a global framework with simple and universally agreed principles to guide decision makers for improving policies, plans, designs and implementation processes leading to more compact, socially inclusive, better connected cities and territories that foster sustainable urban development and are resilient to climate change.”[1]

Published in more than 10 languages and with over 100,000 downloads from UN-Habitat’s website[2], the Guidelines generated a genuine interest and demand for universal principles to better plan cities and territories all over the globe.

The Guidelines are a source of inspiration and a global reference framework that informed the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda in particular. The Guidelines act as a compass for decision makers and urban professionals while developing urban and territorial planning frameworks. This Handbook provides tools and indicators to navigate towards a more sustainable urban and territorial planning.

The Guidelines were prepared by an International Group of Experts and approved by UN-Habitat’s Governing Council as a non-binding global urban and territorial planning framework (Resolution 25/6 of 23 April 2015). In addition, a Compendium of Inspiring Practices is provided as a database of examples to support and illustrate the Guideline principles – see here for more.  ACTUALLY, the ‘theoretical planning guidelines were drafted informed and inspired by these and other practices, in itself an inspiring example of the dialectical relation between theory & praxis!

The Guidelines complements two sets of guidelines previously adopted by the Governing Council of UN-Habitat: The Guidelines on Decentralisation (2007) and the Guidelines on Access to Basic Services for All (2009), which have been used as a reference in a number of countries to catalyse policy and institutional reforms and to leverage partnerships – see here for more.


  • Read

The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning’, UN-Habitat[3]

  • Watch

International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning’, UN-Habitat

[1] First paragraph of IA. Objectives, IG-UTP, p.1

[2] Within one year after adopting the Guidelines – the highest download-rate ever since UN-Habitat went online.

[3] Officially available in eleven languages.