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In a series of studies for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, new evidence shows that cities will be central to global economic growth and climate action. Up to 2030, less than 500 cities worldwide are projected to contribute over 60% of global GDP growth.

However, urban growth that is poorly planned and unstructured can lead to a range of economic, social and environmental costs, such as traffic congestion, inefficient public transport, air pollution, health impacts, and inadequate infrastructure for basic services such as energy, water and waste. Business as usual urban development will also contribute over half of the global growth in energy-related carbon emissions.

At the same time, governments can deliver better urban growth. Pioneering cities across the world are demonstrating that more compact, connected and coordinated urban development, built around mass public transport, can create cities that are economically dynamic, healthier, and that have lower emissions.

The New Climate Economy (NCE) is the flagship project of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. It was established by seven countries, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as an independent initiative to examine how countries can achieve economic growth while dealing with the risks posed by climate change.

The NCE Cities Research Programme is led by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics, and includes a consortium of researchers from the Stockholm Environment Institute, the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, the World Resources Institute, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, and Oxford Economics. The NCE Cities Research Programme is directed by Graham Floater and Philipp Rode.

The studies by LSE Cities for the Global Commission include ‘Cities and the New Climate Economy: the Transformative Role of Global Urban Growth’ (NCE Cities Paper 01), ‘Steering Urban Growth: Governance, Policy and Finance’ (NCE Cities Paper 02) and ‘Accessibility in Cities: Transport and Urban Form’ (NCE Cities Paper 03). These studies form the basis of the cities chapter in the New Climate Economy Report ‘Better Growth, Better Climate’.

Graham Floater, director of the cities research for the Global Commission, said: “Over the next two decades, cities will grow by over a billion people and generate two thirds of global economic growth. If this rapid urban growth is managed badly, we face a world of sprawling, inefficient, polluted cities – and a major climate change risk. But a new breed of cities is emerging with compact, connected development – innovative cities that are more productive, attractive and low carbon. Governments can learn from these cities.”

Philipp Rode, co-director of the research and Executive Director of LSE Cities, said “The success of cities centrally depends on their ability to provide efficient access to people, goods and ideas. Reducing congestion and excessive travel costs in cities through enhanced public and shared transport, walking and cycling is a prime example of how economic development strategies can deliver social and climate benefits.”

All related publications can be found here.

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