This working paper describes water access challenges in cities of the global south that have been hitherto largely invisible in global indicators. In analyzing 15 cities, we found that piped utility water is the most affordable option, yet, on average, almost half of all households lack access, and most of those that do have access receive intermittent service. This paper highlights four key action areas for cities to improve water access: extending the formal piped water network, addressing context-specific causes of intermittent water service, pursuing diverse strategies to make water affordable, and supporting informal settlement upgrading.
Sustainable Development Goal 11
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Decisions made in cities today will determine whether humans succeed at creating a sustainable future. An estimated 70% of the global population will live in urban areas by 2050, escalating the demand for clean air and water, transportation, housing and more. This poses steep challenges related to inequities in urban service provision, resource use, environmental degradation and economic productivity.
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works to identify solutions for sustainable urban growth (SDG 11.3), enable access to safe, affordable and accessible transport systems (SDG 11.2) and create more equal cities (SDG 10). We collaborate with the WRI Climate Resilience Practice to strengthen cities’ resilience to climate change (SDG 11.3, SDG 11.A, SDG 11.B). Our Building Energy Accelerator fast-tracks solutions for low-emission buildings and affordable housing (SDG 11.1). Our Sustainable Urban Mobility program aims to accelerate safer and cleaner transportation systems, including electric vehicles (SDG 11.2).
Our flagship World Resources Report, “Towards a More Equal City,” a five-year project with multiple thematic papers on urban issues and city case studies, is transforming how city leaders, corporate executives and civil society approach urban development challenges in the global south. By focusing on solutions to improve access to core services — such as housing, transport, water and sanitation — by under-served populations, we are helping to make cities better for all people (SDG 11).
Nearly half the population in 15 major cities in the global south lacks access to public piped water systems, with access lowest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. For these households without public piped water, water from other sources is either too expensive or unsafe.
Nearly 150,000 people lost their lives on Indian roads in 2018. The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, recently approved by India's parliament, aims to make streets safer for both drivers and pedestrians.
A new WRI working paper finds that though cities are hotspots for opportunity, many urbanites find it increasingly difficult to access these benefits, rendering jobs, healthcare and education increasingly out of reach for millions of people.
Mobility is a gateway to opportunity, and transportation can make cities more wonderful, livable and equitable. WRI Vice President Lawrence MacDonald is joined by Robin Chase and Harriet Tregoning to talk about the New Urban Mobility alliance (NUMO) and how they are building better cities for all.
Every Sunday, Guadalajara closes more than 60 kilometers of streets to car traffic, opening them up for public use by pedestrians, cyclists and performers. Since starting the "Via RecreActiva," Guadalajara has more open space for recreation, a new collective image of public space and a revitalized movement for transit equity.
There is a strong and compelling environment and development case to be made for securing indigenous and community lands. Securing collective land rights offers a low-cost, high-reward investment for developing country governments and their partners to meet national development objectives and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Securing community lands is also a cost-effective climate mitigation measure for countries when compared to other carbon capture and storage approaches.
This report highlights how the Urban Community Resilience Assessment (UCRA) was piloted in three cities, its potential to build more climate-resilient cities and communities, and ways to enhance the tool for future implementation.
This paper introduces the Urban Community Resilience Assessment (UCRA), a tool developed by WRI that offers a three-level resilience scorecard for cities, communities and individuals with the aim of informing urban resilience planning by integrating different resilience needs. Effective urban climate resilience strategies can reflect the specific needs of vulnerable communities and ensure that communities and their residents are included in planning processes that aim to reduce climate change risks.