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.
WRI, C40, and ICLEI created the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC). Over the last two years, more than 100 cities have used the GPC to measure and reduce their emissions. Specifically, WRI worked with partners to provide technical support to 15 Latin American cities and 12 Chinese cities.
Cities already contribute about 70 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. With 70 percent of the global population projected to live in cities by 2050, the situation is poised to worsen. To manage these emissions, we need to measure them, know where they come from, and know what drives them—and that requires a robust tool to accurately measure and track them over time.
Over the last two years, more than 100 cities across the globe have used the GPC to measure emissions and take actions. Specifically, WRI worked with partners to provide technical support to 15 Latin American cities and 12 Chinese cities.
In Latin America, WRI worked with the Inter-American Development Bank, the Andean Cities Footprint Project and other partners to provide technical advice and train local practitioners on how to use the GPC. In China, WRI experts provided technical support to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the China Beijing Environment Exchange, the Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion and more. Collectively, WRI trained more than 200 city officials and practitioners in these regions.
These 27 cities currently emit about 460 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, about 1 percent of the global total. They now have the tool they need to start reducing these emissions, a move that will help curb climate change globally.
The Latin American cities have identified more than 200 actions they can take to lower their emissions, while the Chinese cities are using the GPC to track progress toward their emissions-reduction goals. WRI continues to support them to translate their goals and plans into action, which collectively can avoid 77 million tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2050, about the equivalent of Portugal’s current annual emissions.
EMBARQ Brasil provided technical assistance to the transportation agencies of Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia—three of Brazil’s largest and most traffic-congested cities—to design and implement bus rapid transit (BRT) systems. In 2014, 154 kilometers of high-quality BRT corridors were launched, cutting 1.5 million people’s commute times by 50 percent.
Brazil is the sixth-largest economy in the world, and 85 percent of its citizens are urban dwellers. However, Brazilian mega-cities suffer from poor transportation design and infrastructure, increasingly relying on cars and motorcycles as people become more affluent. Every day, millions of cars flood Brazil’s streets, resulting in traffic congestion, road fatalities and air pollution. Meanwhile, inefficient, low-quality bus services cause long, uncomfortable commutes. Bus rides that would take 40 minutes in an efficient system take more than twice that in Brazil’s urban areas. These problems are compounded by the country’s booming urban population.
Starting in 2010, WRI’s Brazilian transport arm, EMBARQ Brasil, provided technical assistance to the transportation agencies of Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia — three of Brazil’s largest and most traffic-congested cities — to design and implement bus rapid transit (BRT) systems. BRTs incorporate bus-only traffic lanes with large, state-of-the-art buses to provide fast, high-quality service.
In each city, EMBARQ Brasil convened bus companies and operators, agency officials, and other major stakeholders to plan and invest in BRT networks. It also hosted workshops, giving those who will implement the projects a chance to learn from BRT experts and put these lessons to use in operation manuals and contingency plans. With extensive experience in BRT, EMBARQ Brasil provided technical expertise to design the actual systems, placing as much emphasis on safety, accessibility and low emissions as on speed and efficiency. EMBARQ Brasil experts then trained the system operators.
In 2014, 154 kilometers of high-quality BRT corridors were launched in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia. These systems cut 1.5 million people’s commute times by 50 percent, and millions of city residents benefited from safer roads and cleaner air. The success of the BRT systems has motivated the governments of all three cities to continue to expand the networks, with an additional 211 kilometers of BRT in the planning and early implementation stages. These projects provide a model of transportation reform, empowering and inspiring other Brazilian cities to achieve sustainable urban mobility.
WASHINGTON (November 12, 2014)— During a presidential trip to China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping made major climate change announcements. President Obama announced a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions between 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. President Xi announced targets to peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and to increase the share of non-fossil fuel energy to around 20 percent by 2030.
O World Resources Institute (WRI) está feliz em receber Aniruddha (“Ani”) Dasgupta como primeiro Diretor Global do WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Dasgupta vai liderar o Centro na construção de soluções ambiental, social e financeiramente sustentáveis para melhorar a qualidade de vida das pessoas nas cidades em desenvolvimento.
Washington, DC (October 15, 2014)— The World Resources Institute is pleased to welcome Aniruddha (“Ani”) Dasgupta as the first Global Director of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Dasgupta will lead the Center in developing environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable solutions to improve people’s quality of life in developing cities.
Through the Compact of Mayors and parallel initiatives, cities are making ambitious commitments to curb emissions, adopting new greenhouse gas emissions measuring standards, and supporting the financing of low-carbon infrastructure.