A global initiative to advance the progress of building environmentally sustainable and livable cities in China, India, and Brazil.
In October 2011, WRI launched a five-year global initiative to advance the progress of building environmentally sustainable and livable cities in China, India, and Brazil. We intend to develop low-carbon city models and pathways for environmentally sustainable urbanization, by partnering with four urban centers to increase energy efficiency, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and improve water quality, urban mobility and land use.
The Challenges of Rapid Urbanization
Rapid urbanization, however, poses substantial challenges. Poorly-planned, sprawling cities have the potential to undermine efforts to sustain economic growth, improve energy efficiency, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and secure clean water supplies. Although China, India, and Brazil are rethinking their approach to urban growth to prevent such setbacks, the leaders of many growing cities lack the training and tools needed to translate concerns into practical, cost-effective action. As a result, these cities risk making poorly-informed development decisions that will have long-lasting consequences.
Recent developments suggest that the time is ripe for meaningful action. In China, urbanization and sustainability issues feature prominently in the national government’s new 12th Five Year Plan, and cities will be required to meet new environmental targets. In India, the world’s fourth largest economy, a growing middle class is demanding better planned, more livable cities. In Brazil, the government has launched a major initiative to fundamentally remake major cities, spurred in part by its commitment to host the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics.
These activities are taking place simultaneously, in regards to the specific needs and conditions in each country.
- Blueprints for Environmentally Smarter Growth
We’ve identified key steps toward addressing climate, water, land use and mobility challenges in ways that:
a) maximize economic efficiency and social benefits;
b) minimize sprawl and environmental damage; and
c) position the city to become a national and international model for sustainability.
- Demonstration Projects
Moving from blueprints to action, WRI has begun to catalyze large, high-profile and integrated projects that address more than one goal. Illustrative demonstration projects include enabling a city to meet its carbon emissions-reduction targets; integrating development, transportation and pollution-reduction; and improving water quality and quantity.
- Spreading Success to other Emerging Cities
WRI and its partners will pursue aggressive and targeted communications efforts to highlight the benefits of following new, smarter paths to urban growth among decision-makers in dozens of countries.