UN-HABITAT has been a pioneer organization in the collection of urban indicators. In 1991, it initiated the Housing Indicators Programme, focusing on monitoring shelter performances. It then became Urban Indicators Programme in 1993 in order to focus on a larger range of urban issues. The programme produced two main databases in 1996 and 2001 (Global Urban Indicators Databases I and II), presented at the Habitat II Conference and the Istanbul +5 which helped establishing regional trends in key urban issues. In the Habitat Agenda (result of the 1996 Habitat II Conference) Member States and the Habitat Agenda Partners requested that UN-HABITAT continue monitoring urban conditions worldwide. They also committed themselves to monitor their own urban conditions overtime and report on their trends regularly.
In 2004, and in response to demands from data users, UN-HABITAT initiated the UrbanInfo Software, a user friendly tool prepared on the Windows platform.
Since 2006, the Global Urban Indicators Database has been updated annually to address key Habitat Agenda issues, with a specific focus on the Millennium Development Goals, particularly, its Target 7d on the improving the living conditions slum dwellers.
Urban Indicators guidelines
Global Urban Indicators Tables up to 2010
Urban Info Database System