Developing and scaling solutions for smart urban growth.
The decisions that national leaders, local officials, developers, and planners make today will determine how billions of urbanites will live over the next century. Already, half the global population resides in cities. That figure is set to increase to 70 percent by 2050.
Traditional models of city development can hinder economic growth, spur greenhouse gas emissions, and endanger lives. Compact, efficient cities can alleviate poverty, combat climate change, and make services like water, energy, and transport more accessible.
WRI aims to ensure that cities drive economic opportunity while sustaining natural resources and improving quality of life. Through our WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, we use technical expertise, cutting-edge research, and on-the-ground partnerships to design solutions that enable sustainable city growth.
Our analysis and tools allow cities to effectively manage their natural resources and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while improving quality of life. Working across our EMBARQ Network for sustainable urban transport and other programs, we develop and support implementation of research-based solutions that reduce pollution, improve health, and create safe, accessible public spaces in cities.
We collaborate with local and national decision-makers in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Turkey to implement projects that overcome the challenges of urbanization and make for greater cities. And we partner with businesses, governments, and civil society to scale our successful pilot projects globally.
Top Cities & Transport Outcomes
What's a top outcome?
Top outcomes are WRI's biggest success stories. They occur when our analysis, solutions, or partnerships result in significant change in the world.
Leaders at COP20 can explore a range of sources for financing low-carbon urban development including multilateral investment banks, private investors, and innovative initiatives like the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions or climate-themed bonds.
WRI, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) have partnered to create a GHG Protocol standard for cities: Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC).
by Wee Kean Fong, Michael Doust (C40) and Chang Deng-Beck (ICLEI) - December 2014
Today, WRI, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability are launching the final version of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (GPC). It’s the first internationally accepted standard for measuring emissions at the city level, and empowers cities to accurately identify where their emissions are coming from, set credible and achievable reduction targets, and consistently track progress.
On Monday during COP20, the World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) will unveil the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC), the first global standard to measure greenhouse gas emissions from cities. GPC will be the most widely endorsed standard for cities to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions.
As national leaders prepare plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions at COP20, they can look to sustainable transport for win-win solutions that curb emissions while generating jobs, boosting economic growth, and improving public health.
WRI initiated major bus reforms to improve public transportation in Bangalore, Karnataka, Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Surat and held car-free events in five Indian cities. During these "Raahgiri Days," cities closed streets to motorized vehicles for several hours to encourage walking, cycling and outdoor recreation, showing citizens that streets are for pedestrians and cyclists, not just cars.
With India’s urban population expected to grow to 590 million by 2030 and personal vehicle use on the rise, other forms of transportation suffer. Buses, India’s main public transit option, use outdated and inefficient systems, resulting in long commutes. Roads are unsafe: Pedestrians and bicyclists account for as much as 60 percent of road deaths in Indian cities. More personal motor vehicles cause traffic congestion and air pollution. Indian cities need improved transportation alternatives to decrease motorization and improve the urban quality of life.
WRI initiated major bus reforms to improve public transportation in four Indian cities. In Bangalore, WRI helped put in place a modern bus route system, a reform Indian cities had tried to implement for 20 years. WRI also aided in introducing city buses in seven cities in Karnataka. In 2013, WRI worked with transportation agencies in Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Surat to launch India’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) systems, where a lane is dedicated to buses, letting them travel faster. This year, WRI collaborated with the cities’ transport agencies to help design and train the operators to run 53 additional kilometers of BRT.
To make cities more walkable and bikeable, WRI held car-free events in five Indian cities, including Delhi and Navi Mumbai. For these events, called Raahgiri Days, cities closed streets to motorized vehicles for several hours to encourage walking, cycling and outdoor recreation, showing urban residents that city streets are for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as for cars.
Better bus systems and the Raahgiri movement have made life better for Indian city dwellers. Bangalore’s new bus network reduced travel times and improved public transport for approximately 150,000 passengers daily. Since implementing BRTs in three Indian cities, fatal accidents have decreased by 50 percent around BRT corridors, particulate air pollution has decreased by 20 percent, and a quarter of motor vehicle users have switched to public transportation. The Raahgiri phenomenon has changed how people perceive cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in Indian cities. .