Urban Solutions Platform
Urban Solutions Platform
Solution proposed by:
In a Nutshell:
In line with WWF’s mission to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, WWF challenges cities to reduce their ecological footprints and protect biodiversity. This website provides 100+ inspiring examples of how cities around the world are stretching and innovating to meet the overall goal.
Where and When:
It profiles solutions from over 100 cities globally.
The world is facing an extraordinary emergency – to reduce humanity’s ecological footprint to a sustainable level, and to stop the rapid global loss of biodiversity. Cities are now the main growth centres of population, consumption, and resource use, as well as waste. This makes them the new hot spots of global environmental change. For the first time in history, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. It is a jarring and rapid change. At present almost all population growth takes place in cities. According to UN projections, 70% of humanity will be living in cities by 2050. Cities require focused attention, right now.
How can cities adapt water, air, mobility, or building systems to reduce ecological footprints and protect biodiversity? Answers can be found within these 100+ learning cases, organized around 13 vital themes such as air, water, food, ecosystem services and biodiversity, housing, mobility, consumption, citizenship and resilience. WWF has catalogued real examples of how cities are approaching the need to minimize their ecological footprints and protect ecosystem services and biodiversity. The cases are diverse, focused on positive examples where smart ideas have been implemented and concrete results reported. The focus of the learning cases is on human needs – with high priority given to biodiversity and ecosystem services, key elements of human wellbeing.
As it has become clearer that working with cities is critical in achieving the One Planet Future vision, WWF has increased its focus on urban issues. Conservation goals are closely linked to production and consumption patterns, which are largely driven by the demands of urban societies. WWF is convinced that through improved design of products and services and increased public participation in creating sustainable solutions, our goals and vision can be achieved, while sustaining and even increasing our quality of life. The aim of the Urban Solutions project is to support learning about, and action toward sustainable cities. Our vision is a future where we all live well within the capacity of one living planet – in other words, a One Planet Future. WWF's work for sustainable cities is part of our larger efforts to meet global meta-goals of sustainable development. WWF has studied and catalogued 100+ real examples of how cities are approaching the need to minimize their ecological footprints and protect ecosystem services and biodiversity. The inspiring examples provided by these learning cases highlight how cities are working, in real life and in real time, to reduce their footprints and protect biodiversity and ecosystem services.
WWF has studied and catalogued 100+ real examples of how cities are approaching the need to minimize their ecological footprints and protect ecosystem services and biodiversity. The selection of learning cases is diverse and international, focused on positive examples of cities where smart ideas have been implemented and concrete results have been reported. We have focused on learning cases rather than ”best practices” for several reasons. It is never possible to claim with certainty that a case is the current best practice, as new information can arise that may overturn such claims. Further, learning points are process-oriented and dynamic, and can support the expansion of ideas in different contexts. Finally, it is important to avoid the impression that there are definitive “best practices” out there – so sustainable that more innovation and learning are not needed. Instead, we work with the conviction that our learning cases can and should continue to foster rapid and creative action in cities worldwide.
The findings of our global inventory suggest that cities are taking the lead. Cities are setting more ambitious goals for greenhouse gas emissions than their governments. Cities are taking independent action, often with innovative solutions, pushing governments to follow. In our survey of 100+ learning cases, there are cities transforming transport, creating walkable and livable environments with better air quality. Cities are taking advantage of ecosystem services vital for water supplies, food security, and climate change adaptation. There are cities investing in smart grids, and in energy-efficient housing. And cities are promoting renewable energy with regulations, subsidies, and tax relief.