The launch event of the new working paper, Upward and Outward Growth: Managing Urban Expansion for More Equitable Cities in the Global South, co-authored by Anjali Mahendra (WRI) and Karen Seto (Yale University). This is the fifth thematic paper in WRI’s flagship World Resources Report, Towards a More Equal City.

Urban areas are expected to triple in size between 2000 and 2030. Unmanaged urban expansion increases the costs of service provision, deepens spatial inequities, and imposes heavy economic and environmental burdens. New analysis on 499 cities’ urban expansion confirm the challenge of rapid outward expansion are greatest in lower-income cities.

Cities with rapid outward expansion are often challenged by distorted land markets, deficient services in growing areas, and disjointed informal expansion. This paper highlights strategies cities can take to manage urban growth in a way that ensures more equal and productive cities.

Towards a More Equal City is a series of 16 papers that examines if equitable access to core urban services can help achieve higher economic productivity and better environmental quality for the city. Visit for more.

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4:00-4:10 PM
Opening remarks and welcome by Ani Dasgupta (WRI)

4:10-4:30 PM
Paper highlights by Anjali Mahendra (WRI) and Karen Seto (Yale University)

4:30-5:15 PM
Panel discussion on the findings and recommendations in the paper (Karen Seto (Yale University), Nora Libertun de Duren (IADB), Victor Vergara (World Bank), moderated by Manish Bapna, WRI)

5:15-5:30 PM
Q&A with audience

5:30-5:40 PM
ResourceWatch demo with urban expansion data and Introduction by Janet Ranganathan (WRI)

5:40-5:45 PM
Thanks and next steps on the WRR (Ani Dasgupta, WRI)

5:45-6:30 PM
Reception in lobby (light refreshments provided)


  • Karen Seto, Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science, Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • Nora Libertun de Duren, Housing, Urban Planning and Development Lead, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
  • Victor Vergara, Lead Urban Specialist, World Bank
  • Ani Dasgupta, Global Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
  • Anjali Mahendra, Director of Research, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
  • MODERATOR: Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, WRI

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