How Cities Can Curb Climate Change and Protect Vulnerable Residents

A new U.N. report urges cities to upgrade their infrastructure to bolster climate resilience and build more sustainable, climate-friendly places.

March 3, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Washington D.C. Protest

Nicole Glass Photography / Shutterstock

In a piece on Wired, Matt Simon highlights the role of cities in the fight against climate change as laid out in a recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

The report presents opportunities along with challenges, notes coauthor William Solecki, of the City University of New York’s Hunter College, adding, "We recognize the world is very rapidly urbanizing—up to 70 percent of the world's population by 2050 will live in cities."

While urban agglomerations can lead to more deadly disasters that affect more people at once, "the good news is that cities could be designed so much better than they are now." In fact, "There's really opportunities to upgrade our infrastructure in a way that both addresses long-standing inequities and also invests in climate resilience," according to Rachel Cleetus, policy director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a report coauthor.

As Simon notes, the report recommends what it calls 'climate resilient development,' a set of processes that "link scientific, Indigenous, local, practitioner and other forms of knowledge" and "are more effective and sustainable because they are locally appropriate and lead to more legitimate, relevant and effective actions."

The report highlights the importance of local buy-in and combining strategies that adapt cities to the inevitable effects of climate change with policies that reduce emissions to slow future damage and protect vulnerable communities.

Monday, February 28, 2022 in Wired

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago


Opinion: Aging Population, Declining Fertility Requires Long-Term Investments

Faced with the dire consequences of a one-two punch of aging populations and declining birthrates, one writer has suggestions for how policy can help ensure a better future.

August 9, 2022 - Financial Times

People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets

Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.

August 14, 2022 - The New York Times

Three blue Amazon delivery trucks at bays at a distribution center

Key Warehouse Centers Challenge Distribution Center Expansion

Communities near major e-commerce distribution centers are increasingly resisting new construction, citing air pollution and other public health impacts.

August 16 - Bloomberg CityLab

Yellow house on residential street in Atherton, California

Another Silicon Valley Enclave Resists Multifamily Housing

Ultrawealthy residents have blocked a proposal to build townhouse developments in one of California’s most affluent communities.

August 16 - The New York Times

Galveston, Texas

Flooding 210 Days a Year—No Storms Necessary

It no longer takes a storm to cause flooding in many coastal areas of the United States. Galveston, Texas could eventually face floods more than half the days of the year.

August 16 - Houston Chronicle

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.