Making Cities Work Better for Everyone
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities helps turn cities into resilient, inclusive, low-carbon places that are better for people and the planet.
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.
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
Congestion costs 2-5% of GDP in Asia every year
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.
Impact in Action
The five finalists from 260 submissions across 155 cities in 65 countries all faced crises in their own communities. But through innovative people-centered responses centering on the most vulnerable residents, leaders helped their cities become more resilient, equitable and better prepared to withstand future shocks.