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Building Thriving, Low-Carbon Cities: An Overview of Policy Options for National Governments

Ground-breaking report could help national governments transform the way cities work.

Towns and cities worldwide are the dynamic hearts of our economies and where most people live. Yet even as the costs of inequality, smog, and traffic congestion become pressing, most national governments do not have explicit plans for how cities can be rapidly transformed to meet the challenges of unprecedented population growth, climate change and poverty reduction.

A new report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions, authored by the Stockholm Environment Institute and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, clarifies for the first time the specific role of national leadership and policies in helping cities rise to the challenges of urbanisation and brings together an overview of options available to national governments. It provides a first-ever assessment of how opportunities for low-carbon development are distributed across the world’s urban areas, highlighting both the promise of city-scale action and the urgent need for national policies to help realise it.

The report, titled “Building Thriving, Low-Carbon Cities: An Overview of Policy Options for National Governments,” is already being seen by sector leaders a major contribution and is expected to become a go-to reference document for politicians, policy makers, technicians and all stakeholders in achieving a rapid transition to sustainable towns and cities.

“Now is the time for national governments to put cities at the heart of their national strategies,” said lead author Derik Broekhoff. “National governments must consider what policies they need to deliver in order to ensure their countries and cities are prepared for the unprecedented urbanization and climate challenges the world is facing.”

“City leaders continue to advance local climate action in key sectors like clean transport, energy savings, and better housing,” said Amanda Eichel, Executive Director of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. “This report shows that with strong partnerships and support of cities at the national level, they will be even better positioned to collectively build a low-carbon future and drive economic growth across the country.”

Download Building Thriving, Low-Carbon Cities: An Overview of Policy Options for National Governments, a new working paper from the Coalition for Urban Transitions in partnership with Stockholm Environment Institute.

Research programme:Policy