- Cities are the new hot spots of global environmental change. They are the leading growth centres of population, consumption, resource use and waste.
- In cities, everything is closely connected. So problems tend to multiply – and so can solutions. Cities can exploit positive synergies, or struggle with negative ones.
Cities have abundant opportunities
- Cities have massive leverage over their ecological footprints. Their choices on energy, transport, or building standards, for example, affect huge numbers of users.
- Cities have major impacts on biodiversity via habitat loss, pollution, contribution to climate change, over-exploitation of species' populations, and introduction of invasive species.
- Cities can improve quality of life while cutting environmental impact. Cities have the option of making smarter choices for housing, transport, energy, green space, water, and waste.
- Cities must lead the clean energy revolution to combat climate change by supporting renewables, efficiency, smart metering, and green retrofits.
Good stewardship rewards itself
- Well-governed and well-designed cities are more sustainable along every dimension, through win-win-win synergies.
- Cities can and must be the centres of change. Cities have huge capacities for learning and innovation – and competitive pressures to do so.
Cities need urgent focus
- The majority of future growth in urban populations will take place in small and fast-growing cities, not mega-cities. Diffusing good practices to the huge number of these fast-growing cities is decisive.
Early innovators can produce a “snowball effect”