There is no better time to implement practical and scalable actions to make cities more equal. The stakes are high and we need a better understanding of how to enable broader, more ambitious, citywide transformation. Three key international agreements present the opportunity for the global community to implement an agenda focused on sustainable cities—where all citizens have access to urban services.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all UN member states set the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The UNFCCC Paris Agreement on climate change has consensus from 195 countries to limit global warming by implementing actions related to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020. Finally, the New Urban Agenda, the outcome of the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, outlines a vision for cities for the next 20 years.
While these global agreements are ambitious and promising, we are asking a great deal from cities, many of which have extremely limited resources and capacity. The World Resources Report provides knowledge about actionable approaches that makes urban transformation towards a more equal city possible.
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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.
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.
New WRI research shows that cities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are expanding outward rather than vertically. As these places grow in population, continuing their unwieldy expansion outward could push them into economic, environmental and social crises.