The Coalition for Urban Transitions is one of the first international initiatives to examine the economics of sustainable cities. The Coalition will put urban infrastructure investment where it belongs—at the heart of national economic development planning.
Recent economic research estimates a $4.1 to 4.3 trillion annual investment gap between the urban infrastructure we have and the amount we need. That's why WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, C40 and the Citi Foundation are partnering to help cities around the world accelerate the implementation of low-carbon urban solutions.
Four Chinese cities are pursuing systems that turn "sludge," the organic matter left over from treated sewage, into energy. The systems can reduce emissions, energy consumption and water pollution all while saving money.
Trees improve city dwellers' quality of life by reducing smog, preventing erosion, supporting wildlife and sheltering buildings from heat and cold. On International Day of Forests, Sarah Weber looks at how Tokyo, Belfast and Washington, D.C. have integrated trees into their urban landscapes.
With the 29-hour closure of Washington, D.C.'s Metro, trust in the city's public transit system is at a low point. But, the shutdown isn’t just bad for the Metro; it has broader impacts for the whole of the city.
Cities designed for cars rather than people create an urban existence that is bad for the economy, bad for family life and terrible for the environment. We can -- we must -- do better in the 21st century, as WRI President and CEO Andrew Steer explains.
Never in the history of UN climate summits has there been such a bright spotlight on transport. This is a momentous kick-start to promote widespread adoption of sustainable mobility in order to curb climate change.
Even before the new international climate agreement is finalized, COP21 has accomplished a lot when it comes to cities, clean energy, business and more.
WRI worked with Brazil’s Ministry of Cities on technical guidelines for Caixa, the Brazilian federal funding agency, which led to $4 billion in investment for 63 high-quality urban mobility projects in 56 Brazilian cities. The guidelines will be applied to transform car-oriented streets into corridors that prioritize non-motorized and public transport, fostering sustainable urban development.
Brazil wants to invest in projects that transform transportation arteries through its Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), but in most cities municipal staff in charge of developing projects lack the necessary training. Likewise, the evaluation of technical standards for Ministry projects is scattered across numerous Caixa municipal offices, where technical staff rarely have the expertise to analyze projects that will shape sustainable urban development in the coming decades.
Building on a decade of cooperation with the Ministry of Cities, WRI’s cities team in Brazil was chosen to lead the development of first-of-its-kind guidelines for Caixa, the agency responsible for providing loans and monitoring project implementation, to assess the quality of all urban mobility projects and to target federal funds only to those that meet the guidelines’ criteria. The 107 criteria now consolidated into a Ministry of Cities document are grouped into nine modules that cover issues such as priority bus lanes, sidewalks, bicycle paths and road safety standards.
WRI then piloted the guidelines in four large cities – Florianópolis, Joinville, Juiz de Flora and Pelotas – and offered recommendations that these cities followed to improve their projects. The guidelines were launched at an event co-hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Caixa, and distributed at an event on urban sustainable mobility that drew over 160 people from 40 cities.
The guidelines have led to $4 billion in investment in 63 high-quality urban mobility projects in 56 cities and are on track to become mandatory for all new urban transport projects that seek federal funding. The team will refine the guidelines based on feedback from the Ministry of Cities as the projects proceed, helping designers and decision-makers to plan the next generation of urban mobility projects across Brazil.
Sustainable transport, when implemented in ways that are socially, economically and environmentally positive, is at the nexus of better accessibility for people and a decreased carbon footprint.