Working Papers Series
Eight thematic working papers explore actionable approaches to urban transformation that move us closer to equitable cities for all.
Upcoming papers will cover: urban expansion, water access, sanitation solutions and transportation.
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...
This case study in the World Resources Report, “Towards a More Equal City,” examines transformative urban change in Johannesburg, South Africa, through transit-oriented development (TOD). The paper reviews the evidence on whether Johannesburg’s TOD strategy has helped reduce spatial inequality in the city—and if so, how.
In 2013, Johannesburg launched its flagship TOD initiative, The Corridors of Freedom (COF) program. COF was one iteration of a...
A small but growing number of cities are adopting more inclusive approaches to informal workers and this offers important lessons for cities that seek a more equal, productive and environmentally sustainable future.
Informal workers account for 50 to 80 percent of urban employment and generate from 25 to 50 percent of the (non-agricultural) gross domestic product of the global south. Yet they are largely excluded from public infrastructure and services, public space, and public...
Millions of residents in some of the fastest growing cities in the world don’t have access to clean, reliable energy, and the challenge of reaching them is not getting easier. In 2012, only 58 percent of the urban population had access to electricity in low-income countries, and nearly 500 million urban residents worldwide used dirty and harmful cooking fuels like charcoal and wood.
By 2050, it is projected that the world’s urban population will grow by 2.4 billion from 2015, with...
This working paper on urban housing is the latest installment of WRI’s flagship World Resources Report (WRR), “Towards a More Equal City.” The report examines if more equitable access to core urban services improves the economy and the environment.
Cities are growing differently today than before. As much as 70 percent of people in emerging cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America is under-served. Furthermore, cities face challenges in four areas:
- Highest rates of urbanization are in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia
- Urbanization is now happening in more low-income countries than in the past;
- The share of poor people living in urban areas is on the rise worldwide
- Cities in the Global ...