• C40 will support projects in Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
  • C40’s new Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods Forum will help city practitioners around the world to exchange knowledge and collaborate on people-centred, low-carbon neighbourhood approaches.
  • C40 is joining a coalition of partners, including Nrep and Novo Nordisk, at the UIA World Congress of Architects this week to demonstrate how central urban planning policies and design practices are to accelerating climate action and significantly reducing emissions while improving people’s quality of life, health and wellbeing.

Today, C40 Cities is announcing new support for cities to create green and thriving neighbourhoods that improve people’s quality of life, health and wellbeing.

Cities are at the forefront of our battle against climate change, with 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions generated by cities, but they are also the solution as walkable, vibrant urban neighbourhoods can significantly reduce emissions and bring co-benefits for health and wellbeing. Directly addressing these challenges and opportunities, the efforts announced today aim to develop new, innovate and scalable urban solutions.

C40 will support 22 neighbourhood pilot projects in cities around the globe, and build an international network of city practitioners to exchange knowledge and collaborate on building and expanding green and thriving neighbourhoods that promote community health and wellbeing. 

C40 made the announcement at the UIA World Congress of Architects, an event hosted by the city of Copenhagen that brings together thousands of city officials and experts to explore sustainable futures that leave no one behind. Copenhagen is the current UNESCO World Capital for Architecture, and Jernbanebyen, an emerging low-emission neighbourhood being developed in central Copenhagen around green and thriving principles, is among the projects that will receive C40 support.

C40 will also support pilot projects in Austin, United States; Barcelona, Spain; Bogotá, Colombia; Chengdu, China; Dakar, Senegal; Guadalajara, Mexico; Istanbul, Turkey; Lisbon, Portugal; Milan, Italy; Paris, France; Qingdao, China; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rome, Italy; Santiago, Chile; Shenzhen, China; Stockholm, Sweden; São Paulo, Brazil; Vancouver, Canada; Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Warsaw, Poland; and Wuhan, China.

These cities will receive technical assistance, as well as opportunities to exchange knowledge and expertise with one another. C40 will also help cities explore funding opportunities for their neighbourhood projects.

Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Municipality, said: “I am thrilled that Copenhagen is part of the Green & Thriving Neighbourhoods programme. With Jernbanebyen as our project, we together with our partners strive to transform one of the last major areas for urban development in central Copenhagen into a reference project that can serve as an inspiration for equitable, healthy and sustainable communities around the world. The project will not only strive for a net-zero objective, it will also ensure inclusion and affordability through a diverse range of housing for people of all ages and backgrounds; it will integrate a mix of uses, including essential amenities and services for the local community; finally, the public spaces will be designed to limit the use of cars and provide more spaces for people, nature and biodiversity.”

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said: “There is an appetite for more liveable, people-oriented cities that has been reinforced by the COVID-19 crisis, driving a surge of interest in the ‘15-minute city.’ A green and thriving neighbourhood should enable residents of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to meet their daily needs close to home. It should support the local economy and green jobs, provide opportunities to walk, cycle and take public transport, offer better waste management solutions and cleaner energy systems and incorporate green infrastructure – all of which contribute to accelerating climate action while benefiting other critical urban agendas, such as promoting equity, prosperity, resilience and quality of life.”

São Paulo Mayor Ricardo Nunes said: “The city of São Paulo has increased its vegetation coverage from 48% to 54.13% across its territory, resulting in improved air quality, temperature and pollution reduction, as well as increased soil permeability and regulate river flow. The Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods project aligns with other initiatives led by our administration that are helping to enhance the environmental and social condition of the region.”

Chengdu Vice Mayor Lin Nan said: “Chengdu joined C40’s Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods platform, becoming one of the first group of pilot cities in the world. We are striving to find solutions to prominent environmental problems, improve urban living standards and fulfill Chengdu’s responsibility as a world sustainable city. With C40’s international platform and technical networks, we look forward to working with other member cities to explore new ways of responding to climate change and bringing a bright future of harmony between humanity and nature.”

Martha Patricia Martínez Barba, General Director of the Institute for Development Planning and Management of the Metropolitan Area of ​​Guadalajara, said: “We are at a key moment where the update of our Metropolitan Land Use Plan (POTmet) represents an opportunity to generate strategies that allow us to have a more humane and sustainable metropolis. In this process, alliances are indispensable and the opportunity provided by C40 and the inspiration of the 15-minute is invaluable.”

C40’s work on green and thriving neighbourhoods is made possible with funding from Urban Partners, an urban investor seeking to power the progress of cities, and support by Novo Nordisk, a leading global healthcare company. Nrep, the real estate investment business of Urban Partners, has committed to achieving a net-zero real estate portfolio by 2028.

Hélène Chartier, C40’s Director of Urban Planning and Design, said: “Urban planning and design decisions taken today will have a major impact on our ability to meet emission targets and deliver a good quality of life for an expanding urban population. That’s why C40 is proud to work with partners to support cities around the world as they develop and revitalize their neighbourhoods. We encourage architects, urban planners and other city leaders to join this growing global movement and creating green and thriving neighbourhoods.”

Claus Mathisen, CEO of Urban Partners, said: “It is our purpose to contribute to a future where cities are an active part of the solution to the climate crisis rather than the problem. As a partner to C40´s Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods platform and the pilot programme, it is my hope that we can both help develop a new urban vision and scale the actual solutions and blueprints for the sustainable and healthy cities of the future.”

Jo Jewell, Director of Cities Changing Diabetes at Novo Nordisk, said: “Novo Nordisk is proud to be a partner of C40’s Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods consortium, which embodies the key principles for driving community health and wellbeing that we have supported through our public-private partnership programme, Cities Changing Diabetes. We believe that inclusive community building that brings prevention into our neighbourhoods is critical to promote physical, social and mental health. With this platform, we want to be part of demonstrating how urban development and public health work can go hand in hand to build healthier populations, setting an example for cities worldwide.”

C40 and Novo Nordisk are working on a tool to help cities model the health and climate benefits associated with people-centred, low-carbon neighbourhoods.

Today’s announcement is part of a broader effort by C40 and a coalition of partners to accelerate sustainable urbanism and design, and to support cities in adopting cross-sectoral approaches to neighbourhood planning. 

Earlier this month, C40 joined forces with the Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation Chair of the IAE Paris Sorbonne Business School, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to launch the Global Observatory of Sustainable Proximities, a knowledge and capacity building platform focused on local initiatives around the world that are helping urban dwellers to meet essential needs without venturing far away from home. Together with Nrep, C40 is building an international network of practitioners advising cities on ways to build and expand green and thriving urban neighbourhoods. C40 also published a guide on Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods with Arup, the global collective of designers, advisors and experts dedicated to sustainable development.

Download the full press release to learn about each pilot city project.

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