One year ago we launched the inaugural issue of npj Urban Sustainability highlighting the multiple dimensions of Urbanization in the Anthropocene. During the first year we have received an ever increasing rate of submissions, and we have so far published 46 papers, including Research articles (23), Reviews and Perspectives (15) and Comments (8). The whole team of Associate editors and Editorial Board are working hard for the journal to become a success and the world leading journal in advancing our interdisciplinary understanding of urbanization and sustainability.

As we are all aware, the COVID pandemic has had multiple and cascading effects throughout the planet. We have therefore launched a special collection to address Covid, Cities and Sustainability1. The aim is to publish high-quality papers that assess best practices that cities are utilizing during the time of the pandemic and to examine how lessons learned from the current pandemic instruct cities as to their future planning and design, so that urban communities can maximize their resilience in response to future natural resource crises and pandemics.

We also recognise that, in the turbulence caused by the COVID pandemic, issues of relevance to the urban agenda (including public health, climate, infrastructure, biodiversity, global governance), have made uneven progress. We are therefore also launching a collection of papers addressing Leveraging Nature-based Solutions for climate resilient and biodiverse urban futures2. The aim is to advance research and action on climate mitigation, adaptation, and biodiversity conservation in ways that support equity and human well-being in an urban context. How can cities take the lead? What empirical examples of successes can be championed to create models for replication and scaling up nature-based solutions (NBS) approaches to transform cities for resilience, equity and sustainability? What can we learn from successes and difficulties in urban NBS initiatives to jointly address the biodiversity and climate crises in urban territories?

We want to iterate that the topics of interest to the journal include, though are not limited to the following:

  • Dynamics of urbanizing regions: urban distribution, metabolism and informatics, and urban scaling and density changes due to growth or shrinkage of urban regions.

  • Sustainable environments in new and existing cities: ecology, architecture and city planning.

  • Urban data: integration of innovative technology and solutions that emerge from collection and analyses of urban data, including both large and fine-grained spatial and temporal data.

  • Economic, social and environmental challenges: empirical and theoretical implications of urban change in relation to inequality, climate change, food, health, energy and accountability.

  • Urbanization in the Global South and developing countries is of particular interest.

For the future we also would like to see submissions on:

  • Migration: the dynamics of migration within and among countries and the urban dimensions, including the role of climate change and effects on equity particularly in the context of other demographic processes, the overall challenges and opportunities of migration for urban sustainable development.

Finally, in 2022 we are about half-way with the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (implementation period 2015–2030). We, therefore, encourage further submissions of papers that make critical reflections on what has happened since the SDGs were adopted in 2015 and their explicit acknowledgement of urban issues, and New Urban Agenda. Here we specifically prioritize research on achievements so far related to the SDG 11 (make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable), and how this goal interacts with the other SDGs in urbanization processes.

We welcome submissions on these and other topics!