1/3 of city residents in the Global South live in informal settlements
95 % of urban expansion will take place in the Global South2
90 % C40 cities will implement new or enhanced public green spaces in the next 5 years

About this sector

Urban planning decisions made today will have a major impact on the carbon emissions, resilience, and quality of life of tomorrow. Sustainable land use planning measures help cities avoid and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the effects of climate change, and promote spatial equity.  

Mayors are working together to build cities that are safer and greener for all city residents by creatively using their significant authority over urban planning regulation. This commitment to sustainable urban planning helps move cities away from the paradigm of auto-oriented sprawl and toward a model of compact, connected, and resilient communities with a better quality of life for all. 

C40’s Urban Planning team helps to share best practices, establish inclusive policies, and create healthy neighbourhoods across our network of cities. 

High-impact actions in this sector include:
  • Promoting development in transit-oriented locations, with an emphasis on affordable housing
  • Implementing “15-minute city” or “complete neighbourhood” policies that provide public amenities, essential shops, and a mix of economic activities within a short walk or bike ride of residents’ homes

Networks & Programs

Land Use Planning Network

C40’s Land Use Planning Network provides a platform for cities to accelerate the  development and the implementation of sustainable and inclusive land use policies, such as comprehensive  land use plans and zoning codes that promote a mixture of uses, liveable densities, and low carbon mobility;  transit-oriented development (TOD) strategies; preservation of open space; and mainstreaming climate  resilience into urban design guidelines and regulations. 
Cities participating in the network have prioritized five focus areas around which they are actively sharing policies, strategies, ideas and challenges with one another.

Focus areas:
  • Comprehensive planning for denser, more liveable cities
    Sharing of strategies to create comprehensive  planning policies and zoning codes that reduce urban sprawl, preserve green and open space, and promote  mixed-use and well-connected cities, both for formal urban development and informal settlements. 
  • 15-minute city policies
    Transforming urban spaces into connected and self-sufficient “complete” neighbourhoods through planning regulations, local economic development programs and urban  infrastructure improvements. 15-minute cities encourage neighbourhoods to feature a diversity of  housing options that allow a mix of incomes, active streetfront retail, and a flexible built environment that  can serve different uses at different times of the day and of their lifespan. 
  • Enabling transit-oriented development
    Designing and implementing equitable transit-oriented  development policies and projects through planning, financing, and public engagement.
  • Integrating climate change and adaptation priorities into land use plans and policies
    Aligning climate  action plan and adaptation priorities to enable the integration across land use policies and tools. 
  • Inter-departmental collaboration, community outreach strategies and quantification of the impact of  sustainable urban planning policies
    Facilitating the development or adoption of the above policies.

Cities participating in this network are:
Abidjan, Accra, Athens, Auckland, Barcelona, Bogotá, Boston, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Chicago, Curitiba, Dakar, Dubai, Durban (eThekwini), Freetown, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Lagos, Lima, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Madrid, Medellín, Melbourne, Mexico City, Portland, Quezon City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Salvador, São Paulo, Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, Tshwane, Vancouver, Washington DC

  1. UN Habitat, Streets as Public Spaces and Drivers of Urban Prosperity, 2013.
  2. UN Foundation, 2016.

Contact the team