Sustainable Cities Get Boost From IBM, Citigroup

Banks Back Sustainable Cities

Citi has been involved in a project in Brazil that demonstrates how cities can be more sustainable. For three weeks in April, myself and Derek Rego, from transaction banking, worked in Porto Alegre, the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, with a population of around 1.5 million people.

Greener Cities network

We were invited to participate in IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge program, which has sent a team of executives (usually all from IBM), to 100 cities over the last three years. Porto Alegre’s goal for our three-week project was to learn about how technology – social media, mobile and data processing – can make their city smarter so that decision-making is better informed, citizens are more engaged and citizens’ daily lives are improved.

Citigroup also just launched its CitiBike program in New York. Hopefully, similar programs can spread to other cities around the world, while shaping future development and infrastructure upgrades.

Urban expansion puts pressure on the natural environment, but there are solutions. Energy and resource efficiency can be encouraged with smart incentives and commuting times (and pollution) can be reduced with low-cost apps to make travel more efficient for cars, buses, and taxis. Citi has a role to play in sharing best practices between cities, capitalizing new urban technology companies, and helping cities access capital for their infrastructure projects. For example, Porto Alegre currently treats only 27 percent of its sewage but a new treatment plant will increase that to 80 percent in the next year. The cost is relatively modest for a city of 1.5mm, at roughly $600 million, and loans are repaid almost entirely from future revenues of the water & sewer system. A cleaner river will not only improve livability but will open up the old industrial waterfront for re-development, increasing the return of this kind of environmental investment for the local economy.

We can also use our knowledge for smaller scale solutions. For example, Porto Alegre is often flooded because surrounding trees have been cut down and the city is paved with impermeable surfaces. Here in the U.S., we’ve seen how Philadelphia consumers can install plants on their rooftops and replace impermeable surfaces with permeable surfaces in their parking lots, all through the levying of lower utility charges for these properties. Those sorts of investments take time to pay off. However, sustainability is not about tomorrow. It’s about building up long-term assets to enable a more sustainable planet for us and future generations.

By Patrick Brett, Managing Sales Director, Structured Sales, CitiRead. Read more about the Citi for Cities initiative here: www.citiforcities

Turning Concrete Jungles Into Centers of Sustainability

Sustainable Urbanization Is Wave Of Future–If We Have One

The tangled web of international organizations that constitutes global governance has become so remote and ineffective that few count on it to deliver results anymore. Now, after decades of turf wars and self-marginalization, international organizations must rally around an increasingly pressing global priority: Sustainable urbanization.

BeFunky_TheBridge.jpgThe world is undergoing an unprecedented and irreversible wave of urbanization, with the share of the global population living in cities set to reach 60 percent by 2030. But rapid urbanization is driving up industrial fossil-fuel consumption and household water consumption, and is increasing demand for food in areas where arable land is scarce. In short, the current urbanization trajectory is not sustainable.

But existing efforts to alter the situation remain woefully inadequate. While the United Nations General Assembly has tasked its agency for human settlements, UN-Habitat, with promoting sustainable urbanization, the agency lacks the influence to ensure that this vital issue makes it onto the global agenda.

Moreover, international development players–including UN agencies, NGOs, corporate citizenship programs, and other charitable organizations–rarely coordinate their activities, even though their interventions are increasingly concentrated in densely populated cities.

Given that promoting sustainable urbanization and improving coordination would bolster progress in other priority areas (including women’s rights, climate change, youth unemployment, and literacy), sustainable urbanization must become a bureaucratic priority. And it must be complemented by a technological disruption, with investments channeled toward developing and distributing innovations that would make cities more livable, efficient, and sustainable.

In fact, many useful innovations, such as energy-generating building materials and zero-emissions transportation, already exist; they simply need to be made accessible to those who need them most. Devices like small-scale water-filtration systems, portable heart monitors, and low-cost tablet computers are already dramatically improving the lives of the world’s poorest citizens and helping to level the economic playing field.

The future impact of global governance rests on forging new alignments that facilitate the flow of vital knowledge and technologies from an increasingly diverse array of sources to urban populations worldwide. The tools needed to make urban life more sustainable are no longer flowing only from North to South and West to East. China has taken the lead in exporting solar photovoltaic cells, while clean-tech parks are arising even in the Arab world.

Governments, companies, supply-chain managers, corporate-citizenship strategists, NGOs, and others should commit to reducing their carbon footprints and to leveraging their resources to contribute to sustainable urbanization. Opportunities to make such contributions are appearing constantly across all sectors.

In construction, for example, contractors are forming partnerships with labs to test materials that better reflect heat while absorbing energy to power cooling systems, and utility companies are leveraging new software tools to deploy smart meters in homes and offices. Two US cities–New York and Seattle–have raised efficiency standards for new construction to record levels.


Similarly, automobile manufacturers, mobility-services companies, and local governments are working together to advance sustainable transportation by providing incentives for efficient non-ownership of vehicles. Now, carpooling is gaining prevalence in cities like Berlin.

Furthermore, MIT has developed the foldable electric CityCar, four of which can fit into a parking space. At last year’s Rio+20 conference, the eight largest multilateral development banks pledged $175 billion (5.2 trillion baht) to develop sustainable transportation.

Information technology can also reduce stress on the transportation system. For example, Singapore is harnessing its near-complete fiber-optic network to reduce urban congestion by introducing a spate of measures encouraging workers to telecommute. As these measures take effect, self-sufficient satellite towns will likely develop, reducing transportation-related energy consumption further, while fostering a more active civil society.

Singapore is one of the cleanest and most efficient cities/countries in the world.
Singapore is one of the cleanest and most efficient cities/countries in the world.

Singapore is leading the way in another area as well: Production and distribution of potable recycled water. Many cities worldwide are following its example, expanding their water catchment and treatment programs.

Meanwhile, vertical farm experiments–which aim to augment urban food supplies by cultivating crops in skyscraper greenhouses–are proliferating from the American Midwest to Osaka, Japan. And India has become a leader in converting biomass and food waste into energy.

Of course, the billions of farmers and villagers worldwide should not be forgotten. Interventions like rural electrification, the provision of drought-resistant seeds and agricultural technology, and the expansion of micro-insurance are vital not only to rural populations’ welfare, but also to catalyze a new ”Green Revolution,” without which city dwellers will face severe food shortages.

With new, innovative solutions appearing every day, the real challenge lies in bringing them to scale–and that requires international cooperation. But the ”smartest” cities are not necessarily the most technologically advanced. Rather, they are the places where technology and public policy support citizens’ welfare and aspirations. This crucial fact will guide discussion at the New Cities Foundation’s second annual summit next month–the theme of which is ”The Human City”–the heart of sustainable urbanization initiatives.

By Parag Khanna, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, is Director of the Hybrid Reality Institute and the author of The Second World, How to Run the World, and Hybrid Reality. 2013 Project Syndicate


Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Promote Urban Sustainability

Commissioned by the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network (CEGN), this report outlines some of the key issues related to urban sustainability in Canada, profiles some of the promising approaches, and explores various roles that the philanthropic community could play in moving communities forward in this field.

Sustainable Cities: The role of philanthropy in promoting urban sustainability

Sustainable cities are viewed as those that meet our human need for healthy and diverse habitats while preserving non-renewable resources for future generations and staying within the limits of local, regional and global ecosystems.

Increasingly, our notions of sustainability are influenced by complementary approaches to economic and social issues. Sustainable cities also focus on wellbeing and livability as measures of success within a “generative economy” rather than simply using economic growth as a yardstick for progress. Finally, a city that is able to draw on a rich mosaic of cultures, perspectives, and skills should, like a biological organism, be more resourceful, more innovative and more resilient.

Sustainable cities are more resilient

“A city that is able to draw on a rich mosaic of cultures, perspectives, and skills should, like a biological organism, be more resourceful, more innovative and more resilient.”

At the outset, it is important to recognize that direct philanthropic support for charities makes up a tiny percentage of the financial resources available for this work; earned revenues and government grants make up the lion’s share of most community organization’s budgets. Government and private investments in the built environment dwarf all other financial sources that could be aligned with sustainability principles. However, foundations can tackle issues and support innovative approaches in a way that governments and the private sector cannot or will not.

This report is intended as a starting point for a broader discussion about strategic philanthropy in support of more sustainable cities. Some of the roles that foundations might consider are as follows:

  • Frame “sustainability” in a holistic way, emphasizing the link among environmental, economic, and social characteristics;
  • Design strategies, including granting parameters, that place a premium on collaboration within the environmental movement, with other sectors and across domains (health, education, recreation, economic, etc.)
  • Use their brokering skills to convene and nurture partnerships among municipal governments, community organizations, and the private sector;
  • Provide support for promising and innovative initiatives that, if successful, can then be scaled up and financed by the public or private sector;
  • Strengthen the individual and collective capacity of community organizations
    to innovate, to work constructively with difference and conflict, and
    to deliver results;
  • Collaborate with other foundations: co-creating initiatives, sharing lessons, and supporting the creation of a new narrative;
  • Establish impact investing policies for their endowments and create pools of capital for green technologies and sustainable real estate development with an emphasis on social impact.

Download the full report

Download the executive summary




Vancouver Aims To Be Greenest City By 2020

Sustainable Vancouver

To become the greenest city in the world, Vancouver’s City staff are working with Council, residents, businesses, other organizations, and all levels of government to implement the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. The Action Plan is divided into 10 smaller plans, each with a long-term goal and 2020 targets. Combined, these 10 plans address three broad categories:

  • Carbon emissions
  • Waste minimization and management
  • Ecosystem protection and management


While these goals will take time and effort to reach, they are realistic and achievable, and the city is committed to reporting its progress on an ongoing basis. The distinguished Earth Hour City Challenge jury recognized the City of Vancouver as the international champion. The city challenge, created by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), celebrates cities that are taking amazing steps towards a 100% renewable future. The City also joined millions in celebrating WWF’s Earth Hour on March 23, 2013.

The City of Vancouver also has been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the second year in a row by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This award honors organizations with a culture of environmental awareness, where thinking green guides how they operate today and plan for tomorrow.

In addition, making small Vancouver businesses more energy efficient has been a priority. Holding bike skills courses for low-income individuals. Creating a sustainable, community-supported fishery for Vancouver. These are just a few of the 150 projects supported in the first year of the Greenest City Fund.

After two years of extensive consultation, and with the engagement of over 18,000 citizens, Vancouver City Council voted to approve the new Transportation 2040 plan, an ambitious and balanced framework for Vancouver’s transportation future.

Council approved Vancouver’s Food Strategy, which builds upon years of work the City has done together with the Vancouver Food Policy Council. This strategy will help Vancouver integrate the full spectrum of urban food system issues within a single policy framework that includes urban agriculture, food processing, distribution, access and food waste management.

Fort Lauderdale To Host Rising Seas Summit For Coastal Cities

The inaugural Rising Seas Summit will bring professionals from national and local government, industry, academic institutions and environmental NGOs together to highlight the interrelationships between sea level rise, climate change and extreme events. Understanding, anticipating, adapting and surviving water-related threats is critical to national security and a stable economy.


Sea level rise will continue to damage coastal ecosystems and inland water systems, and the recent catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Sandy have demonstrated the risks faced by all coastal communities on the U.S. eastern seaboard. These new environmental challenges require that stakeholders share knowledge and work together to reduce and mitigate environmental and social degradation induced by climate change.

The Rising Seas Summit is co-presented by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA.


  • A primer on sea level rise, including drivers, projections and implications;
  • Analyses of recent reports published by the GAO, Army Corps of Engineers, National Climate Assessment and National Academies;
  • Modeling and planning for sea level rise;
  • Assessing risks to transportation infrastructure and developing resilience plans;
  • Case studies from domestic and international communities already adapting to sea level rise;
  • Quantifying the short-term and long-term economic implications; and
  • Managing risks related to more frequent and significant extreme events.

For the latest program information, including speaker details and schedule, please visit

For More Information:

Company: Association of Climate Change Officers
Name: Melissa Lembke
Phone: 202-496-7390
Website: 2013 Rising Seas Summit

China & UK Swap Sustainability Capabilities

Solving the energy and natural resource demands of a growing global population will take international cooperation at the highest levels. China and the United Kingdom are advancing that agenda now.

BeFunky_green cityA delegation of 10 UK companies was welcomed this week on the opening leg of the 2013 Sustainable Cities Mission to Chongqing and Changsha.

The mission program put together by the UK Trade and Investment team gave the 10 companies a platform to showcase their products and expertise in low carbon, sustainable construction and water sectors to a VIP audience of local government and industry.

The mission was opened by Consul General Simon Lever and the Leader of the Chongqing Urban-Rural Development Commission Zhang Qin, with a reflection on the recent development of Chongqing and its prospects for the future. Presentations on the Yuelai Eco Town and Jiangbeizui Central Business District of the Liangjiang State Level Development Zone warmed the UK participants to the extent of opportunities available in fast-growing Chongqing; after which the UK missioners, from recently established small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to Fortune-500 global giants, introduced their companies, their products and their expertise to the Urban-Rural Development Commission, Chongqing Real Estate Association, local design institutes and over 30 local companies in the audience. An afternoon Round Table event provided an opportunity for more detailed discussions and mutual expressions of interest in future business cooperation.

The mission received warm welcome from Ba’nan District government leaders on 19 March, who led the mission to the site of the Yangchun Wet-land Park project site along the Yangtze River. Ba’nan occupies 1825 km2, the largest and one of Chongqing’s most active districts in urban development, and leaders expressed their hope that an experienced company can take on the job of planning and design for the Wetland Park, a place they are sure will be Chongqing’s next top destination. Consul-General Simon Lever and Party Secretary of Ba’nan Li Jianchun agreed that there are many opportunities for UK and Chongqing do business together in the foreseeable future.

On their Beibei District visit the same day, the delegation met with the Deputy Governor and local key players in low-carbon development. They exchanged views on helping Beibei develop into a modern, liveable and green city.

Following the mission, Head of Trade and Investment Simon Mellon said:

Chongqing is a city with an impressive history and a bright future, still experiencing double digit GDP growth and projected to grow by over 400% by 2025. This growth, and the demographic changes taking place across China, provides a wealth of opportunity for British companies to be a part of the next stage of Chongqing’s ongoing development.

In the coming month, the British Consulate-General Chongqing will lead well-known British companies in architecture to participate in the 6th City Expo in Chongqing. A zero-carbon pavilion will be built for the Expo by British architects ALL Design. In June, members of the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) will visit Chongqing. All those events will bring more creativity and impetus to Chongqing’s sustainable future.

The Earth Hour City Challenge: Cities Leading The Way Towards Sustainable Future

On the eve of Earth Hour, taking place this Saturday 23 March, WWF this week announced the City of Vancouver in Canada as its Global Earth Hour City Challenge Capital 2013 at an award ceremony in Malmö, Sweden. The Earth Hour City Challenge is an initiative that takes Earth Hour beyond the symbolic gesture of switching off lights for one hour, encouraging concrete action on the ground to combat climate change.


The City Challenge is designed to identify and reward cities that are prepared to become leaders in the global transformation towards a climate-friendly, one planet economy. Working in collaboration with the leading association of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainable development, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, WWF worked across six countries (Canada, India, Italy, Norway, Sweden and USA), from which a total of 76 cities registered for the City Challenge.

Candidate status was granted to 66 cities that demonstrated their commitment to action on climate change by reporting their emissions and energy reduction targets, past performance, completed or ongoing actions to reduce emissions and energy use, and climate action plans. Altogether, these cities reported over 1,000 mitigation actions, of which a substantial number were aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy and moving away from fossil-fuel based activities.

A select international jury judged Vancouver as the city that had most strongly demonstrated that it was prepared to implement holistic, inspiring and credible plans for low-carbon development and for substantially increasing use of sustainable, efficient and renewable energy solutions within the next few decades.

The jury also chose five other national Earth Hour City Challenge capitals – with New Delhi in India, Forlì in Italy, Oslo in Norway, Uppsala in Sweden and San Francisco in the United States all winning their respective country awards. All of these cities demonstrated a considerable level of ambition and commitment along with impressive actions which provide an important and powerful source of inspiration to other cities and people around the world.

Overall, the jury’s choice of global and national capitals largely reflects the depth of city actions, many of which involved reaching out to citizens and other stakeholders to support low-carbon strategies. One of many strong examples of this from Vancouver is its pioneering Neighborhood Energy Strategy. The strategy targets areas of the city with the greatest potential to reduce carbon emissions. Through engagement with these communities, the city is developing Neighborhood Energy Systems which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in these neighborhoods by up to 70% by 2020.

Oslo’s involvement in FutureBuilt, a collaborative effort involving a number of central government agencies and various architecture and construction companies, is another case in point. The 10-year programme, running until 2020, is aiming to complete 50 pilot projects with the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions. FutureBuilt has a strong reputation for innovation, competence building and knowledge exchange.

San Francisco is also reaching out to local communities through its Business Council on Climate Change (BC3). The scheme involves the city partnering with local businesses to reduce emissions and help meet the city’s sustainability goals. BC3 members commit to taking specific actions to reduce their emissions while the municipality has helped them by facilitating the use of electric vehicles and promoting projects such as its green tenant toolkit which is designed to enhance landlord-tenant engagement on sustainability.

These examples and many others from the top 17 shortlisted cities can be found through the Earth Hour City Challenge’s People’s Choice campaign website. The website was designed to generate wider public interest and excitement about sustainability actions in cities by giving the public a chance to vote via social media for their favorite finalist city for the People’s Choice award. Many cities have attracted positive responses reflecting a wide public enthusiasm and encouragement for cities across the globe to take significant action to accelerate the global transition to a truly renewable future. For example, the ambitious measures taken by New Delhi to overhaul its mass transit system have received extremely positive online responses.

WWF is now looking to further expand the City Challenge for next year and will invite cities from an additional six countries – Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia and South Korea – to join the next round of the Earth Hour City Challenge, which will start already this April. A key theme for next year’s challenge will be how cities are investing in renewable energy and divesting from fossil fuels.

Globally, $350 trillion dollars is expected to be spent on urban infrastructure investment and use over the next three decades. These investments can either lock us into a fossil-fuel dependent future – or help drive a global transition towards a sustainable, climate safe future. The expansion of the City Challenge reflects an urgency to encourage cities to follow the great examples described above and become global solution hotspots for a climate friendly and sustainable future.

Overall, the Earth Hour City Challenge demonstrates that cities across the globe are at the forefront of efforts to meet the global climate challenge. Cites have strong potential to work with their citizens and other stakeholders to drive the transition to a more sustainable future. WWF believes that highlighting strong city actions can also place further pressure for determined action at national and global levels, which will be pivotal in deciding whether humanity can stave off catastrophic climate change and secure its long-term wellbeing.

Earth Hour City Challenge Jury

  • Gino van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI
  • Martha Delgado, General Director of the Secretariat of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate – the Mexico City Pact
  • Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary
  • Dan Hoornweg, Professor and Jeff Boyce Research Chair, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Simon Giles, Senior Principal Intelligent Cities, Accenture Global, Accenture
  • Pietro Laureano, architect and urban planner, UNESCO consultant
  • Conor Riffle, Head of CDP Cities
  • Amanda Eichel, Director of Initiatives and City Support, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group


Sustainable Cities Initiative for European Communities

Hopes to guide citizens to do things in a better way that will benefit all of society


THE IRISH PRESIDENCY of the EU have launched the Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities website, which aims to promote and enhance a European city’s work on integrated sustainable urban development.

The Irish Presidency said in a statement that the main purpose of the RFSC site was to guide citizens to do things in a better way that will benefit all of society:

For Europe to be truly prosperous, environmentally sustainable, and a place in which no citizen is marginalized, our urban areas must be empowered to act as pioneers that guide the rest of society towards a better way of doing things.

Inspired by the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities which defined key fields of action and possible solutions to sustainability issues, the process leading to the tool’s creation was initiated at the request of the European ministers for urban development during the French Presidency in 2008.

There are 25 main objectives that define the European sustainable city, including:

Check the list of the objectives that define the European sustainable city
1 – Reinforce the economic attractiveness of the city/region/territory
Provide training and assistance to staff of local administration and other partners to develop and improve relevant competences and skills e.g. service orientation
Highlight and enhance the strong points of your city
Promote cooperation with businesses and research institutes to generate, disseminate and apply knowledge and skills
2 – Develop the local economy through knowledge and skills provision
Identify potential and complementary opportunities for business and non-profit purposes
Create and maintain good relations with both the business and non-profit sector and ensure the appropriate conditions and procedures exist to enable their smooth running and development
3 – Ensure city connectivity and the provision of efficient infrastructures
Improve internal and external connectivity through the provision of high quality infrastructure, including efficient transport systems, high-speed internet etc, in order to facilitate production and the flow of people and goods.
Provide flexible working conditions
Facilitate access to finance and information
4 – Develop/promote/support appropriate sustainable local production and consumption of goods and services
Improve the environmental and social impact of products and services
Encourage citizens, public administrations, businesses, etc. to use local sustainable products
Promote local production of goods and services, close to the users/consumers/citizens
5 – Meet the needs of the population in terms of employment types and access and jobs
Support the creation of employment opportunities that meet people’s needs e.g. flexible working conditions, and ensure fair access to these opportunities by tackling discrimination (racial, gender, cultural etc.)
Ensure fair access to these opportunities through specific measures e.g. to tackle both long-term and youth unemployment – and also by tackling discrimination (racial, gender, cultural etc.)
Improve the knowledge and skills of the local workforce by providing the necessary conditions for equal and easy access to education and training relevant to the local economy
6 – Maintain or develop a more diversified local economy
Identify and address current problems, in particular issues that can have a reverse effect on sustainable local economic development
Within the context of regional priorities, promote a healthy balance of economic activities and sectors within your city
Support local economic actors to innovate and adapt to new sustainable opportunities
7 – Improve the quality and accessibility of public services for everyone
Consider the right balance between the quality and the costs of public services
Encourage proximity and accessibility to public services
Encourage affordability of public services
Improve information on public services
8 – Ensure that everyone can benefit from a good level of education and training
Promote an affordable education system accessible to everyone
Promote high-quality schools and training centers for all
Adapt schools and training centers to local needs for all
Promote and provide life-long learning opportunities
9 – Promote good public health for everyone
Guarantee equal access to good quality health services for everyone
Ensure protection against health threats/risks
Ensure information on health determinants (impact of environment, lifestyle, etc.) and stimulate prevention
10 – Ensure high-quality housing and neighborhoods for everyone
Encourage the redevelopment of existing housing and the construction of new housing where appropriate (avoid urban sprawl)
Improve accessibility and affordability of good housing for all
Ensure socially mixed communities and avoid segregation
11 – Promote social inclusion and access to opportunities for everyone
Take steps to decrease the levels of poverty and social exclusion
Strengthen and develop social capital i.e. features of social organization such as networks, groups and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit
Adapt welfare services in view of socio-demographic changes
Adapt to existing, and anticipate future, social integration needs, including those of vulnerable groups
Promote the integration of people with reduced mobility and disabilities
Encourage participation of citizens in city life
12 – Promote cultural and leisure opportunities and ensure access for everyone
Encourage and value cultural diversity
Support and encourage cultural and artistic creation and exchange
Ensure broad, affordable and equal access to culture for everyone
Provide leisure and sports facilities
13 – Mitigate, and adapt to, the effects of climate change
Define territorial quantitative CO2 and energy reduction targets aligned with EU objectives
Promote urban development that is more energy-efficient in all the stages of the energy-cycle: production, distribution, equipment, use/consumption
Encourage the reduction of energy consumption for households, public and economic activities
Improve energy efficiency in all fields (household, industry, agriculture, building etc.)
Promote the development and use of renewable energy sources emitting less greenhouse gases
Identify, measure and manage the territorial impacts of climate change
Consider the role of ecosystems (flora and fauna etc.) in helping the city adapt to climate change
14 – Protect and promote biodiversity
Safeguard and encourage ecological corridors across the whole territory
Maintain and improve the protection of fauna and flora species
Preserve and increase the percentage of green and natural areas in the city – as well as protecting those areas dedicated to agriculture in and around the city
15 – Reduce pollution
Reduce air pollution
Reduce water pollution
Reduce soil pollution
Reduce all kind of nuisances (visual, noise, light etc.)
Manage possible natural and technological disasters
16 – Preserve the quality and availability of natural resources
Identify and improve the use of local material in order to reduce the impact of importing and using non-local materials
Reduce the consumption of natural resources
Avoid the production of waste and encourage the re-use and recycling of materials
Promote efficient innovations and the use of renewable resources
17 – Preserve and promote the high quality and functionality of the built environment, public spaces and urban landscape
Identify, preserve and promote the existing heritage according to the local and cultural context
Prevent unplanned settlement and take steps to limit urban sprawl
Promote and enhance the architectural quality of urban landscapes, public spaces and the built environment
Create mixed-use and functional spaces and ensure the safety, security and easy accessibility of public spaces
18 – Develop an integrated vision for the sustainable development of your city
Consult all relevant stakeholders in the creation of your integrated strategy
Set out clear priorities and objectives in your integrated strategy
Follow an integrated approach when setting up your sustainable urban development strategy
Make the required preparations needed to identify problems/challenges in your city
19 – Pay special attention to deprived neighborhood areas
Ensure that any specific strategies for deprived neighborhoods are integrated with the wider city strategy
Ensure your policy/strategy/project includes targeted specific actions for deprived neighborhood areas
Ensure that the residents of deprived neighborhood areas are involved in the design and implementation of your policy/strategy/project
20 – Organize the management structures of your city to achieve sustainable urban development
Organize your city administration to encourage working in an integrated way
Organize or adapt your management structures to implement your policy/strategy/project
Give a good example, by your city administration, in achieving/aiming at the sustainable urban development objectives that have been set
Promote skills for good governance and leadership
21 – Take steps to ensure the financing of the integrated sustainable development of your city
Use your capacity to create/allocate financial resources
Encourage a flexible and innovative approach to finance, with an emphasis on sustainability
22 – Monitor and evaluate progress
Prepare and regularly follow up the monitoring and evaluation of your policy/strategy/project
Encourage the dissemination of evaluation results to ensure that lessons are learned
23 – Cooperate with other authorities from different levels
Consult and/or co-ordinate with other authorities from different levels in your planning and decision-making processes
Develop partnerships at local and regional level e.g. urban-rural or inter-municipal
Develop partnerships at national level
Develop partnerships at European and/or international level
24 – Promote active stakeholder and citizen participation
Encourage active stakeholder and citizen participation and involvement in the different stages of the decision-making process and clarify participants’ responsibilities
Ensure public access to information regarding policies within the city
25 – Promote networking and exchange of knowledge
Promote local capacity building through the transfer of knowledge and skills, especially in the voluntary sector and in community organizations
For more information about the initiative and its resources, please visit

Sustainable Cities International Network

Green Resources For Greener Communities

The Sustainable Cities International Network is comprised of 40 cities, towns and metropolitan regions around the globe that share the common goal of moving their communities to more sustainable futures. Founded in 1993, Sustainable Cities International is a registered not-for-profit organization based in Vancouver, Canada. Its mission is to co-create with cities around the world, to catalyze action on urban sustainability.

sustainable cities network
Cities must share sustainability resources for maximum impact.

Some of the globe’s most innovative urban sustainability practices have evolved within the SCI Network membership.  For example, the concept of long range urban sustainability planning originated within the SCI Network with an innovative process undertaken in the Vancouver Region of Canada.  The innovation then transferred to Calgary Canada and then to Durban, South Africa where the two cities learned and adapted the concept to their local context. This type of planning is now common place in cities around the world.

Acting as ‘urban laboratories’, Network cities adopt technological and social innovations and then adapt and implement them – making improvements to the innovation as they proceed.  In turn, what they learn is shared with other members of the Network and more widely.  This process ensures that good practice is well understood, tested, adapted to local conditions and the new knowledge gained is robust and widely shared.  This reinforcing pattern of knowledge generation and refinement results in sustainability practices being adopted in cities around the world.

Co-creating for Urban Sustainability

Sustainable Cities International has been a leader in urban sustainability for over 18 years working with cities, towns and regions around the globe. Its seasoned team of Facilitators and Project Managers is supplemented by practitioners from our Canadian and International Network of practitioners to deliver innovative and proven expertise relevant to your requirements.

Whether it is planning the future of a whole city or implementing a smaller scale project, we can tap the most current knowledge and experience of its Sustainable Cities International Network of cities and bring the most appropriate skill set to the table.

We work with local and regional authorities to help them develop governance approaches, organizational strategies, strategic planning processes and project implementation strategies. Our Urban Sustainability Planning and Implementation services include:

  • Project scoping and charter development
  • Muncipal leadership training
  • Infrastructure costs and urban growth management
  • Urban sustainability project management

From small aboriginal communities to large metropolitan regions, SCI Network members share a common commitment to the open exchange of knowledge and ideas on urban sustainability.  Each member offers their unique perspective through open dialogue. Creativity and innovation is occurring in all of the cities and the membership finds that the diversity of perspectives is important for generating new ways of thinking.  Big cities can learn from smaller ones and smaller from bigger.

Members have the opportunity to participate in peer exchanges, an annual symposium, training events and facilitated web dialogues.  Through this network, personal and professional relationships are built and direct dialogue between cities accelerates innovation.

The Network is fee-based.  Membership fees form a portion of the funds required to coordinate the Network.  Additional funds are sought by the Secretariat through foundations, government funds and fees for service.  The economic disparity between cities from the North and South is recognized.  As such, membership fees are based on the size of the city and your country’s Gross National Income.

Global Centre of Competence Planned For London

Think Tank Will Promote, Facilitate Sustainability

Siemens AG will bring its global Centre of Competence for cities to London and create a joint ‘think tank’ with the city of London where international, high-tech engineers and London’s city experts will work together to develop and promote sustainable solutions for cities.

“Our London-based centre for urban sustainability will be the flagship of our new Sector Infrastructure & Cities. We will bring Siemens engineers and a wealth of global city expertise to our landmark building, creating a win-win situation for London,” said Siemens President and CEO Peter Löscher.

London centreThe Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Siemens’ commitment to London is a thumbs up for the skills our city has in green and other sustainable technologies. With this global electronics and engineering giant’s plans for their new centre far advanced we will do all we can to bring together the capital’s invaluable expertise with Siemens’ amazing pool of international technology pioneers.”

Siemens AG intends to be a leading participant in the dynamic growth of cities and infrastructure investments. Therefore the company has formed a new sector spearheaded by a global Centre of Competence located in London. In addition to offices for city planners and engineers, Siemens plans to host a major, state-of-the-art, exhibition on sustainable urban development at the centre, which will be open to the public, as well as hosting conferences in its 300-seat auditorium and providing facilities for visitors including a shop, restaurant and café.

Siemens has raised the building’s credentials to the highest standards available. Groundwork has already started at the site with plans to construct an All Electric Building – meaning no fossil energy for the building will be required. The Siemens centre will be a substantial landmark – it will cover an area of 3,687m2, in two dramatic, crystal-shaped sections. Siemens has invested more than £30 million into the centre to make sure it will meet the highest building standards – such as the LEED “Platinum” and the BREEAM “Outstanding”  for sustainable design and construction. The building will be embedded in a smart grid and will include charging stations for e-vehicles. It will make use of solar power, ground source heat pumps, energy-efficient lighting and a closed water cycle. It is due to become operational and open to the public by mid-2012.