© WWF / Michel Gunther

Sustainable Cities

WWF is working with governments, city networks and businesses to reduce the global footprint of cities and to promote attractive One Planet lifestyles.

The battle for life on Earth will be won or lost in cities.

Executive Secretary, Convention of Biological Diversity, Ahmed Djoghlaf

An urbanizing planet

Over half the world’s population now lives in cities, and the urbanization trend is expected to continue steadily until the middle of this century. Urban populations are expected to double from the current 3,5 billion to 6 billion by 2050. In other words, over the next four decades, humanity will be building as much urban infrastructure as we have built so far throughout history.

Cities have huge footprints

The global footprint of cities is quite daunting. Both directly through urban sprawl, but even more indirectly through consumption in cities. Urban dwellers’ growing appetites for various food groups, goods and energy services put increasing pressure on the world’s land, waters and climate. More than 70 per cent of all fossil fuel related CO2 emissions today are generated by residents in cities.

Attractive urban One Planet lifestyles

The good news is that solutions already exist that can provide urban dwellers with attractive lifestyles within their fair share of the planet’s biological capacity.

However increased political leadership, public engagement and entrepreneurship are all required if these solutions are to be instrumental in making such a positive transformation of cities possible. WWF’s emerging work on sustainable cities aims to inspire and support this transformation.

Finance Toolkit for Sustainable Cities

Over half the world’s population currently reside in cities, which are responsible for well over 70% of global CO2 emissions. As the trend toward urbanization continues, it is projected that hundreds of trillions of dollars will be invested in urban infrastructure and use in the coming three decades. WWF is convinced that these investments must be leveraged to ensure the creation of sustainable cities thereby reversing the trend of escalating emissions. Read more here.


	© WWF
We Love Cities
We Love Cities invites people across the globe to show their support for the impressive efforts finalist cities of the Earth Hour City Challenge are making towards sustainability. Balikpapan received the most number of votes in 2015. So which city will be the most loved in 2016? You’ll be invited later this spring to vote for your favorites, share what you love about them via photos and videos and submit suggestions for how cities can become more sustainable.
Greening the Economy: Sustainable Cities – open online course starts January 18, 2016. Interested? Learn more and register here.

What WWF is doing

  • The Earth Hour City Challenge: is an initiative designed by WWF to mobilize action and support from cities in the global transition towards a 100% renewable future. It also aims to stimulate the development and dissemination of best practices for climate mitigation and adaptation.
  • Urban Solutionsa global inventory of 100+ learning cases from sustainable urban development.
  • Low Carbon Cities initiative: exploring low carbon development models in different cities in China in order to learn from and replicate successful experiences.
  • Massive Open Online Course: on sustainable cities developed with Lund University and available for free. The course starts January 18, 2016.

WWF's Carina Bergström-Hansson claims that "the battle for a future where humans live in harmony with nature will be won or lost in cities". Here she explains why the creation of truly sustainable cities is absolutely crucial to winning this battle, and how initiatives like WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge, which focus on the transition towards a sustainable and renewable energy system is the key to success. 
	© WWF
	© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK
Model of the city of Beijing. China.
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK
Girls, Shanghai, China 
	© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK
Girls, Shanghai, China
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK
	© WWF
    The Earth Hour City Challenge aims to identify and reward cities leading the global transition toward a climate friendly, one planet future.
    Read more →


  • Carina Borgstrom Hansson
    Expert Ecological Footprints
    WWF Sweden
    +46 708 855 185

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