World Resources Institute announces WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
EMBARQ, the sustainable transport and urban development program of the World Resources Institute (WRI), is pleased to announce the launch of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. The Center will increase WRI’s reach in developed and emerging cities, building on the work of the EMBARQ Network, which will continue to help cities make sustainable transport a reality.
The WRI Ross Center is being created through a generous gift of US$30.5 million by Stephen Ross, a WRI Board member, who is a world-recognized business leader, real estate developer, and philanthropist.
Why cities, why now?
Already, half the global population resides in cities. That figure is set to increase to 70% by 2050. By 2030, the world’s cities are expected to add 1.5 billion people, up to 1 billion cars, and build more urban area than all of humanity has built throughout history. The majority of this growth will occur in the developing world, and developing cities will bear roughly 80% of the costs associated with climate change adaptation. The decisions that leaders make today will determine how billions of urbanites will live over the next century.
Well-designed cities can generate jobs, innovation, and economic growth for all. But when designed poorly – sprawling, wasteful, and car-centric – they can divide cities and exacerbate pollution, inequality, and political instability. Moreover, poor design has long-term consequences given that urban infrastructure often lasts decades, and disproportionately impacts the most disadvantaged segments of society.
Recognizing this urgency, the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities galvanizes action that will help cities grow more sustainably and improve quality of life in developing countries around the world. The Center will integrate and strengthen WRI’s work in cities, adding to the work of the EMBARQ Network, which currently employs more than 170 staff and experts focused on sustainable transport and urban development, 80% of them on the ground in 55 cities in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Turkey.
EMBARQ and the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
EMBARQ, which helps cities make sustainable transport a reality, will serve as the sustainable urban mobility pillar of the Center, complementing WRI’s expanding work in water, energy, and governance. EMBARQ will bring its combination of on-the-ground impact and global research expertise to help the Center influence over 200 cities by 2019, creating more accessible, equitable, healthy, and environmentally sustainable communities. This integrated approach – further uniting EMBARQ with expertise across from across WRI programs – will unlock the potential for cities in emerging economies to become powerful engines for social, economic, and environmental progress that improve citizens’ quality of life.