Our Challenge

More than half the world’s population lives in cities. Urban areas are engines of economic growth and innovation — but also huge consumers of resources.

How cities are designed and governed affects quality of life for billions of people. Over the next 30 years, 2.5 billion people and as many as 1 billion more vehicles will be added to urban centers. Three-quarters of the infrastructure that will exist in cities by 2050 has yet to be built.

Cities are at a critical inflection point: Decisions made today will determine whether we continue on a path of fractured, unsafe, polluting growth, or succeed in creating a sustainable, resilient, more inclusive future.

80%

of global GDP is produced in cities

75%

of energy-related emissions come from cities

70%

of city dwellers lack reliable access to at least one core service, like housing, water or electricity

2-5%

Congestion costs 2-5% of GDP in Asia every year

Our Approach

WRI sees this moment as an opportunity for transformative change. We help decision-makers navigate competing tensions to shape a future where cities work better for everyone.

Our network of local and international experts work in more than 100 cities across 75 countries. We produce practical, data-driven research on how fast-growing urban areas can sustainably deliver core services like transport, housing, clean water and sanitation to all residents. We work hand-in-hand with local leaders to advance solutions ranging from electric mobility to air quality improvements to better urban land use. And we forge long-term partnerships and coalitions to ensure that cities not only create change, but sustain it.

The World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City focuses on helping cities in rapidly urbanizing regions alter their development trajectories as demand for infrastructure and services grows. This series of research papers and case studies examines whether providing equitable access to core urban services and infrastructure, like housing, water, sanitation, energy and transportation, leads to more economically productive and environmentally sustainable cities.

Launch Report

Impact in Action

408,000 direct beneficiaries since 2017 of new national housing guidelines in Brazil

95 metric tons of air pollutants eliminated daily by Beijing Low-Emission Zone

Part of Cities

WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works on Urban Mobility, Urban Development, Urban Efficiency & Climate and Air Quality. Explore all projects in depth.

  • Buses

    Urban Mobility

    Improving quality of life, health and opportunity in cities through sustainable and safe transport and urban design. 

    Part of Cities
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    Urban Development

    Designing and influencing urban spaces that build resilience, improve health, and equitably connect people and opportunities. 

    Part of Cities
  • Bogota at night

    Urban Efficiency & Climate

    Helping cities optimize, electrify and decarbonize. 

    Part of Cities
  • air pollution.jpg

    Air Quality

    Advancing data-driven solutions for cleaner air, better health and a more stable climate.

    Part of Cities

Featured Projects

Ariel shot of urban bike lane

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Media Contacts

  • Tini Tran

    Director, Global Communications and Engagement, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

  • Communications Manager, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

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