Cities100 recognises urban projects that address the nexus of climate action and social equity

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas today and this is projected to rise to two-thirds by 2050. Yet the impacts of climate change are not distributed equally or fairly: people living in cities – particularly in low-income countries – are disproportionately affected by the burden of the changing climate. Fortunately, creating more adaptive and resilient cities also yields the co-benefit of fostering sustainable economic development – projects that expand urban agriculture and local energy production, for instance, can improve economic opportunities for those most in need. A good example of this is taking place in Tshwane, South Africa, where the Tshwane Food and Energy Centre is providing cooperative farming opportunities and self-sustaining renewable energy generation to an underprivileged community, allowing small scale farmers to ensure their own food security, earn income from food sales, and produce on-site clean energy.

Another good example of the climate change and social equity nexus is Seoul’s Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program. This initiative seeks to reduce energy poverty by encouraging energy saving partnerships between local government and private actors, such as universities, and funneling those savings into a fund that finances energy efficiency upgrades in low-income communities.

Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40, said of Cities 100:

 Faced with climate change, making our cities fit for the future is not just a matter of survival, but also presents us with an important opportunity to address social inequality. I am inspired to see so many cities taking strong and urgent action.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments. 

Morten Nielsen, Managing Director of Sustainia, said:

As we enter into the climate negotiations at COP22, the solutions presented in Cities100 show that climate action is already happening, often in nimble and collaborative ways that do not rely on the will of national governments. By addressing climate action in tandem with social equity, it’s clear that cities have a major role to play in shaping global sustainable development.

You can access Cities100 online here and read the press release here.

C40 Chair-elect, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, wrote the foreword for this year's Cities100. Read it here.