Building cities that work for everyone

In our globalised, connected, and urban world, cities hold a unique role and responsibility to ensure that people and nature alike can thrive, both locally and globally. Now, more than ever, the way that city dwellers live has a far-reaching impact on people and on the planet. Cities have immense potential to drive the transformative changes we need to create a socially-just and ecologically-safe future.

To meet residents’ needs within planetary boundaries and support sustainable lifestyles, cities will need new systems of governance and decision-making, procurement, investment, production, distribution and consumption. It is crucial that COVID-19 recovery efforts incorporate initiatives that will help to innovate and build healthy, sustainable and resilient cities, and better lives for everyone in the context of increasingly complex and volatile global issues.

The Thriving Cities Initiative aims to demonstrate how cities can co-create regenerative systems and powerful narratives to inspire collective behaviour change and mainstream 1.5°C living.

Cities leaders will need to work across divisions and in partnership with local community and business leaders to open up new insights and possibilities for transformation. The needs of people, health, wellbeing, labour and human rights must be at the centre of planning and implementing recovery efforts to rebuild resilient, sustainable communities.

If we are to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, we need to confront unsustainable patterns of consumption and transition to more equitable and sustainable lifestyles. To achieve this, cities as a whole need to reduce their consumption emissions by 50% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050.

Thriving Cities Initiative integrates all of C40 existing initiatives: mitigation, adaptation, inclusivity, equity and resilience and supports the acceleration and/or increased ambition through:

  • Developing a holistic vision for a green and just recovery from COVID-19;
  • Designing transformative, inclusive climate initiatives for Deadline 2020 Climate Action Plans;
  • Embracing Inclusive Climate Action on a global scale with cities considering their role in a just transition globally;
  • Extending the green and/or circular economy to a ‘doughnut economy’ that is regenerative and distributive by design and doesn’t export ecological and social impacts;
  • Extending in-boundary greenhouse gas accounting to explore the global ecological impact of cities’ consumption choices;
  • Integrating critical ecosystem services such as food systems, air quality, water, waste and materials management into city strategy as outlined in C40 Accelerators.

Contact the team