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Compact and connected cities are better for people and the environment

The argument has been proven, the data is clear: compact and connected cities are better for people and the environment. Importantly, compact and connected cities are also good for the economy. According to a report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, urban sprawl costs the US economy over $1 trillion dollars per year.

C40 research shows that planning and policy decisions made over the next 5 years could determine up to one third of the remaining global carbon budget that is not already ‘locked-in’ by past decisions – this means decisions being faced by mayors today, like whether or not to build roads or cycle lanes, are critical and immediate. Mayors have the opportunity to avoid locking in future emissions by building efficient infrastructure. By choosing a low-carbon pathway in their cities now, the investment cost needed would be 4 times less over the long term. Furthermore, the cost savings in the US alone would be in the order of $500 billion dollars annually.

To help mayors and city officials avoid poor urban planning decisions which create sprawled landscapes with inefficient land uses and strive instead to create more walkable and transit-oriented cities – reducing urban sprawl in the process – C40 is pleased to announce a new and more directed focus on urban planning and development. C40’s new series of networks aim to ensure that today’s rapidly urbanizing cities don’t replicate past mistakes.

“There is a clear theme to what most C40 mayors see as the characteristics of a successful future city – compact, connected and coordinated – the successful cities of tomorrow are not those building roads, but those building cycleways and pathways” said Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40. “Mayors and their citizens want cities that are easy to get around — cities designed for people rather than cars. Through these new networks, C40 aims to help our mayors and cities address today’s most important urban and land use planning and development issues – their decisions will influence how urban citizens live and move within cities for generations.”

C40’s Urban Planning and Development Initiative (formerly the Sustainable Communities Initiative) will work with cities to develop land use plans and utilize integrated planning to deliver ambitious low-carbon development for more compact, connected and sustainable cities and neighbourhoods through four focused networks: Land Use Planning Network, Transit Oriented Development Network, Low-Carbon Districts Network and Food Systems Network.

C40’s networks are working for cities – 38% more city-wide action is delivered by cities involved in C40 networks.


Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 2.35.30 PMIn addition to accelerating progress within cities through better urban planning and development, in early April C40 will be launching the Mobility Management Network, which is designed to support cities in delivering policies and projects to improve integration across transit modes, make public transit more attractive and easier to use, as well as reduce and re-distribute travel demand to help unlock the capacity of transport systems.