Purpose Journal of Soils and Sediments publishes the main outcomes of SUITMA 9 Conference in its Special Issue. SUITMA (Soils of Urban, Industrial, Traffic, Mining and Military Areas) working group organizes conferences biannually all over the world. The ninth conference organized in Moscow in May 2017 involved more than 215 speakers from 25 countries, whose presentations focused on challenges and opportunities of urbanization for soil functions and ecosystem services. Materials and methods The main outcomes of SUITMA 9 were analyzed in comparison to the previous SUIMTA conferences and the main topics were distinguished. Manuscripts accepted for publishing in the Special Issue were reviewed and presented. Results and discussion Comparison of the topics highlighted in different special issues highlighted the evolution of the SUITMA studies from fundamental morphological descriptions and classifications to applied studies on soil engineering, assessment of SUITMA functions and ecosystem services. Conclusions The manuscripts accepted to the Special Issue covered included various case studies of SUITMA ecosystem services (e.g. global and local climate regulation, biodiversity maintenance and improvement, nutrients balance and recreation) and disservices (e.g. pollution by heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and sulfur). The increasing role of SUITMA studies for urban management and decision making was concluded.