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Sustainable Development Goal 11

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Cities are our future. An estimated 70 percent of the global population will live in urban areas by 2050, escalating the demand for clean air and water, transportation, housing and more. Providing basic services will pose steep challenges related to resource-use efficiency, environmental degradation and increasing inequality.

WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities focuses on realizing the potential of cities by identifying solutions for sustainable urban growth (SDG 11.3) and more equal cities for all (SDG 10). It works in close collaboration 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 cleaner transportation systems, particularly electric vehicles (SDG 11.2).

Our flagship World Resources Report, Towards a More Equal City, a three-year project with multiple thematic papers and case studies, is transforming how mayors, city planners, corporate executives, and civil society leaders approach urban development challenges. It focuses on the importance of improving poor people’s access to basic urban services, such as housing, transport, and sanitation, as key to achieving SDG 11.


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.

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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.


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.

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