Our Challenge

More than half the world’s population lives in cities. Urban areas are engines of economic growth and innovation — but also huge consumers of resources.

How cities are designed and governed affects quality of life for billions of people. Over the next 30 years, 2.5 billion people and as many as 1 billion more vehicles will be added to urban centers. Three-quarters of the infrastructure that will exist in cities by 2050 has yet to be built.

Cities are at a critical inflection point: Decisions made today will determine whether we continue on a path of fractured, unsafe, polluting growth, or succeed in creating a sustainable, resilient, more inclusive future.


of global GDP is produced in cities


of energy-related emissions come from cities


of city dwellers lack reliable access to at least one core service, like housing, water or electricity


Congestion costs 2-5% of GDP in Asia every year

Our Approach

WRI sees this moment as an opportunity for transformative change. We help decision-makers navigate competing tensions to shape a future where cities work better for everyone.

Our network of local and international experts work in more than 100 cities across 75 countries. We produce practical, data-driven research on how fast-growing urban areas can sustainably deliver core services like transport, housing, clean water and sanitation to all residents. We work hand-in-hand with local leaders to advance solutions ranging from electric mobility to air quality improvements to better urban land use. And we forge long-term partnerships and coalitions to ensure that cities not only create change, but sustain it.

The World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City focuses on helping cities in rapidly urbanizing regions alter their development trajectories as demand for infrastructure and services grows. This series of research papers and case studies examines whether providing equitable access to core urban services and infrastructure, like housing, water, sanitation, energy and transportation, leads to more economically productive and environmentally sustainable cities.

Launch Report

Impact in Action

408,000 direct beneficiaries since 2017 of new national housing guidelines in Brazil

95 metric tons of air pollutants eliminated daily by Beijing Low-Emission Zone

Part of Cities

WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works on Urban Mobility, Urban Development, Urban Efficiency & Climate and Air Quality. Explore all projects in depth.

  • Buses

    Urban Mobility

    Improving quality of life, health and opportunity in cities through sustainable and safe transport and urban design. 

    Part of Cities
  • c wri india 008.jpg

    Urban Development

    Designing and influencing urban spaces that build resilience, improve health, and equitably connect people and opportunities. 

    Part of Cities
  • Bogota at night

    Urban Efficiency & Climate

    Helping cities optimize, electrify and decarbonize. 

    Part of Cities
  • City with cloudy sky.

    Air Quality

    Advancing data-driven solutions for cleaner air, better health and a more stable climate

    Part of Cities

The five finalists from 260 submissions across 155 cities in 65 countries all faced crises in their own communities. But through innovative people-centered responses centering on the most vulnerable residents, leaders helped their cities become more resilient, equitable and better prepared to withstand future shocks.

Learn More

Featured Projects

Ariel shot of urban bike lane

Stay on top of the insights, research, and data helping cities become more resilient, inclusive and low carbon.


Media Contacts

  • Tini Tran

    Director, Global Communications and Engagement, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

  • Communications Manager, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

This website uses cookies to provide you with an improved user experience. By continuing to browse this site, you consent to the use of cookies and similar technologies. For further details please visit our

privacy policy