Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative

Accelerating the implementation of sustainable urban solutions through new business models

Scaling up local solutions, like Mexico City's Metrobus, requires flexible business models that take into account cities' unique needs. Photo by Taís Policanti/Flickr

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There is a gap between the growing demand for sustainable urban services and cities’ abilities to develop and finance innovative solutions. Alternative ways of providing infrastructure and financing public services do exist: some cities are reducing electricity demand through energy efficiency measures rather than building more power stations for growing urban populations, while others are investing in transit-connected, mixed-use development instead of building new roads. New investments in environmentally sustainable infrastructure and services help increase access to better jobs and housing for urban citizens everywhere. However, successes often remain isolated and do not result in wide-spread or large-scale change. We aim to change that.

The Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative (FSCI), funded by the Citi Foundation, is a partnership between WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group that helps cities accelerate and scale up investment in sustainable urban solutions through the development of innovative business models. The collaboration leverages the international experience and complementary capabilities of each partner: WRI’s analytical and research competencies and long-term engagement with cities, C40’s high-level connection with city leaders, and Citi Foundation’s urban economic progress agenda.

The FSCI consists of three key components:

  1. A peer-to-peer learning community through which cities can exchange experiences on developing sustainable projects
  2. Technical assistance to cities developing sustainable projects
  3. An online platform that enables cities to explore sustainable city projects around the world and develop their own projects

By identifying the ingredients of successful sustainable urban projects around the world, this groundbreaking partnership is helping city governments and investors develop business models that enable all stakeholders to bridge quickly from innovative ideas to their implementation. It’s not just about finding more money; investors and city decision-makers need new ways of seeing eye-to-eye on what makes urban investment a sustainable and a financially viable solution.

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