WRI Ross Center
for Sustainable Cities
Building cities that are resilient, inclusive and low-carbon.
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities is WRI’s program dedicated to shaping a future where cities work better for everyone. Together with partners around the world, we help create resilient, inclusive, low-carbon places that are better for people and the planet.
More than half the world’s population live 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. The IPCC makes clear that to have a chance of meeting the 1.5°C warming goal, all cities must be carbon neutral by mid-century.
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.
of global GDP is produced in cities
of energy-related emissions come from cities
of city dwellers lack reliable access to at least one core service, like housing, water or electricity
of Asia's GDP is lost every year due to traffic congestion
WRI sees this moment as an opportunity for transformative change, made possible through creative and sustained local partnerships. We help decision-makers navigate competing tensions so they can adapt and harness the benefits of change. With bold action, cities can be engines of innovation, economic growth and positive transformation for people, climate and nature.
Our network of local and international experts work in more than 150 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.
Follow the latest news and analysis on urban sustainability and development, including guest contributions from the broader urban community.
Synthesizing six years of research, this culminating report of the Towards a More Equal City series recommends seven crucial transformations that can create a new dynamic for durable, cross-sectoral, city-wide change. It also offers a set of priority actions for city and national governments, civil society, the private sector, international aid agencies and financial institutions.
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works on Urban Mobility, Urban Development, and Urban Efficiency & Climate. Explore all projects in depth.
Urban MobilityVisit Project
Improving quality of life, health and opportunity in cities through sustainable and safe transport and urban design.
Urban DevelopmentVisit Project
Designing and influencing urban spaces that build resilience, improve health, and equitably connect people and opportunities.
Urban Efficiency & ClimateVisit Project
Helping cities optimize, electrify and decarbonize.