Cities Changing the World

Canadian cities Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto are among a group of 120+ cities worldwide that are leading, championing and delivering on stepped up climate action plans.

Toronto photo credit Andrew


C40 formed in 2016 as an international group of city mayors determined to be an integral part of the solution to the global climate change problem.

“C40 Cities are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly and provide proven models that other cities and national governments can adopt.”

Excerpts from the C40 knowledge hub website explain “Why Cities?”

“In terms of size, cities occupy only two percent of the world’s landmass. But in terms of climate impact, they leave an enormous footprint. Cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. And with 90 percent of the world’s urban areas situated on coastlines, cities are at high risk from some of the devastating impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and powerful flooding.”

“We have reached a defining moment for our planet. To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid catastrophic climate change we need to act faster and with more urgency than ever before. Fortunately, mayors of the world’s leading cities have emerged as strong and inspiring champions of the kind of ambitious climate action the world needs. Cities know what needs to be done to limit global heating to 1.5° Celsius, and they know that achieving this climate-safe future is only possible if we act now and in collaboration with other levels of government, businesses, civil society and citizens.”

“Cities can help nations achieve their Paris Agreement commitment by supporting the implementation of transformational actions to increase the supply of renewable energy, improve building energy efficiency, increase access to affordable, low carbon transport options, and change consumption patterns.”

Winter Trees photo credit Lucy

Here is a whirl around the world by scrolling through the list of impressive company that Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto are keeping via the C40 global network:

East, Southeast Asia and Oceania

  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Quezon City, Philippines
  • Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Yokohama, Japan


  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Athens, Greece
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Heidelberg, Germany
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Milan, Italy
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Oslow, Norway
  • Paris, France
  • Rome, Italy
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Tel Aviv-Yafa, Israel
  • Venice, Italy
  • Warsaw, Poland

Latin America

Quartz photo credit Lucy
  • Bogata, Columbia
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Cuucitiba, Brazil
  • Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Lima, Peru
  • Medlin, Columbia
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Salvador, Brazil
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil

North America

  • Austin, United States
  • Boston, United States
  • Chicago, United States
  • Houston, United States
  • Los Angeles, United States
  • Miami, United States
  • Montreal, Canada
  • New Orleans, United States
  • New York, United States
  • Philadelphia, United States
  • Phoenix, United States
  • Portland, United States
  • San Francisco, United States
  • Seattle, United States
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Washington, D.C., United States

South and West Asia

  • Amman, Jordan
  • Chenhai, India
  • Delhi NCT, India
  • Dhaka North, Bangladesh
  • Dhaka South, Bangladesh
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Karachi, Pakistan
  • Kolkata, India

Showcasing Climate Action Plans

The report, Cities leading the way: Seven climate action plans to deliver on the Paris Agreement, showcases seven cities with climate action plans that put the city on a path to become emissions neutral by 2050 and more resilient to the impacts of climate change. All seven climate action plans have been deemed compatible with the C40 Cities Climate Action Planning Framework, which sets out the essential components of a climate action plan to deliver low-carbon resilient development consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Lucy feeds a black capped chickadee Photo credit Allan

“Climate Change is one of the greatest challenges mankind has ever faced. In this ongoing race against time, the cities of the world have a key role to play – both as pioneers and prescribers.” “To achieve this, it is crucial to involve all territorial stakeholders – public and private entities, associations and citizens. Such is the challenge if we want to meet the targets set in the Paris Agreement at COP21.” Anne Hidalgo Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40.

By 2050, over 65% of the world’s population will live in cities2. As centres of population, consumption, buildings and transport infrastructure, cities present a unique opportunity to accelerate the transition to low carbon resilient systems.”

“The focus of the case studies are:

1. Barcelona: Putting climate justice and citizen action at the heart of climate action planning

2. Copenhagen: Achieving a carbon neutral city by 2025

3. London: Zero carbon transport network and clean air for Londoners

4. New York City: Accelerating and prioritising transformational action

5. Oslo: Implementing climate budgets

6. Paris: A fair, equitable and resilient transition to carbon neutrality by 2050

7. Stockholm: Achieving a fossil-fuel free city by 2040”

2025 is almost here – Just imagine Copenhagen achieving its target of being carbon neutral within the next five years and sharing its blueprint for success with others!

Looking Deeper

Whitemud Ravine photo credit Lucy

Curious about what a model city climate action plan looks like?

Paris action plan synthesis report –


“Long before the Conference of Parties in Paris 2015 (COP21), the City of Copenhagen had created and implemented an agreement to achieve carbon neutrality. This included an initial 20% CO2 reduction target for 2015 from 2005 levels, with a longer-term goal of becoming the first carbon neutral capital by 2025. The City has developed a pathway to deliver an emissions neutral city by 2025, assuming its share of responsibility for climate change. The CPH 2025 Climate Plan was adopted by the City Council on 2012. It reflects the decision to make the city carbon neutral by 2025, combining growth with development and increasing the quality of life for citizens while simultaneously reducing GHG emissions.”

“The CPH 2025 Climate Plan is based on four pillars: energy consumption, energy production, mobility, and city administration initiatives, and is being implemented in three phases, the first of which came to an end in 2016. After each phase, an evaluation is conducted, the results of which will determine what is done in the following period. The overall objectives will remain the same, however. A roadmap from 2016 outlines what will happen in the second phase, from 2017 to 2020. The roadmap describes 60 initiatives which correspond with the main priorities for the four pillars.”

Climate Change Threats to Canadian Cities

From The Climate Atlas, we learned the importance of disaster planning, modern climate resilient urban infrastructure, and, preparing for increasing heat waves, for Canadian cities going forward:

“Sadhu Johnston, Vancouver’s city manager, has spent many years doing hands-on work in urban sustainability in the USA and Canada. He says that facing up to the reality of climate change is vital for city planning and city living: ‘Change is happening, and we need to be prepared for that change.’ ”

“Over 80 percent of Canadians live in cities and towns. The dense concentration of people, government, business, infrastructure, and economic resources in urban areas makes them uniquely vulnerable to the growing risks of a warming world. This same density also makes cities a powerful source of resilience and resourcefulness when it comes to taking action on climate change.”

Urban Infrastructure

Photo credit Lucy

“City life is highly dependent on services such as electrical power, drinking water, and transportation. All of these everyday necessities are vulnerable to changes in climate.”

“On Canada’s coasts, cities are vulnerable to rising sea levels, which bring with them the threat of flooding as well as more destructive storms and damaging waves [5]. Inland, changes in weather patterns and extremes could threaten cities with both too much water (in the form of overland or flash flooding) and too little water (in the form of extended periods of drought).”

“Communities in the north face a particularly difficult problem: they rely on stable, frozen permafrost for building and road construction. Global warming has already affected permafrost stability across the north, and continued warming will severely challenge municipal infrastructure and the roads, rail lines, and airports that provide essential links between the north and the rest of Canada [6].”

Ogilvie Ridge Edmonton photo credit Lucy

“Newly proposed design standards have started to take climate change into account, but have yet to be made an essential part of most urban planning. And of course existing structures and transportation links will require increased maintenance and extensive retrofitting to face the new climate reality.”

“Modern, climate-friendly approaches to designing and building these systems can reduce climate vulnerability while at the same time saving money, improving quality of life, and building more resilient communities.”

“Read in more detail about urban infrastructure issues in our report on urban resilience and the built environment.”

Disaster Planning

“The 2013 floods in Calgary, the 2016 fires in Fort McMurray and the 2017 floods in southern Quebec demonstrated how incredibly expensive and damaging large-scale disasters can be for cities and the heavy toll they can take on residents.”

“Climate change means that we face a higher risk of more severe and more frequent disaster-level weather events such as floods and wildfires. It also increases the chance that multiple disasters could occur in a single season. The changing climate makes weather more variable as well as more extreme, which makes planning for disasters–and responding to them–much harder [1].”

Planning for Heat Waves

Fall Colors photo credit Christine

“Climate models indicate that many of Canada’s cities will experience dramatic increases in the number of hot days and nights as the climate continues to warm. These changes put city dwellers at a higher risk for heat stroke and heat exhaustion [2]. Toronto counsellor Gord Perks notes that ‘We’ve been lucky so far that we haven’t had a deadly heatwave, but that’s a likely thing that will happen.’ ”

“The prospect of dangerously hot weather in Canada’s cities means we need to follow Toronto’s lead in planning for heat waves: the city uses a heat warning system to alerts the population to elevated risk and operates a network of cooling centres to offer relief to vulnerable citizens.”

Taking Action – Vancouver

In addition to checking out Paris’ and Copenhagen’s climate action plans, closer to home, Canadian Readers may be interested to learn more about Vancouver’s plan to become “the greenest city in the world”.

From, we learned that:

Vancouver B.C. photo credit Lucy

“Modern urban life in Canada is sustained by high-carbon sources of energy that cause global warming: we rely on fossil fuels for transportation, and much of our electrical power is generated by gas, oil, and coal. Given that over 80% of Canadians live in cities, efforts to reduce urban energy consumption while transitioning to renewable energy will have a dramatic impact on Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Transforming our energy systems has all kinds of advantages over and above helping with climate change. Climate-friendly energy systems will generate less pollution, provide more security, cause less environmental damage, and offer better quality of life. Johnston notes that ‘Vancouver is demonstrating to the world that cities can drive down carbon, and by doing so become more competitive and continue to grow.’ He warns that ‘many people think there’s this dichotomy: that it’s either the environment and carbon reduction or the economy. There is a third way, and that’s bringing those two together and growing a green economy.’ ”

Vancouver has made climate action a municipal priority as part of its commitment to become the “greenest city in the world”: Here’s Vancouver’s 5-minute videoclip:

For Readers who want all the details, check out Vancouver’s 371 page report:

Taking Personal Action

Photo credit Lucy

“Canadians who live in cities can take action on climate change on a personal level by making energy efficient choices and planning ahead for the most likely impacts of climate change where they live. Collectively, we can support and demand climate action from our business and political leaders, who have the power to make larger-scale change. ‘Ultimately we all have to be a part of the solution,’ Sadhu Johnston says, ‘and by doing it we’re healthier and happier people with greater communities.’ ”

Learn more about Canadian cities and climate change at:

What is a 15-Minute City?

Carlos Moreno developed the 15-minute city concept in Paris and is a driving force behind its uptake in Paris and beyond. Watch his short TED talk here.

“A 15-minute city vision is usually established at the mayoral (or equivalent) level and can be linked to a transit-oriented development plan, urban development plan or equivalent land-use plan. Taking a participatory, inclusive approach to this process is important to ensure the plan is grounded in the city’s realities and has a broad base of support.”

We learn from Paris, how to Build Back Better with a 15-minute city:

“In a ‘15-minute city’, everyone is able to meet most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home. It is a city composed of lived-in, people-friendly, ‘complete’ and connected neighbourhoods. It means reconnecting people with their local areas and decentralising city life and services. As cities work towards COVID-19 recovery, the 15-minute city is more relevant than ever as an organising principle for urban development. It will help cities to revive urban life safely and sustainably in the wake of COVID-19 and offers a positive future vision that mayors can share and build with their constituents. More specifically, it will help to reduce unnecessary travel across cities, provide more public space, inject life into local high streets, strengthen a sense of community, promote health and wellbeing, boost resilience to health and climate shocks, and improve cities’ sustainability and liveability. Learn more about the 15-minute city in the short clip below.”

Videoclip (2=minutes) C40 city mayors

Ottawa’s Official Plan

Photo credit Lucy

We are excited to learn that the concept of 15-minute neighbourhoods is embedded in the City of Ottawa’s 2019 official plan (

“The new Official Plan is a document that describes how the city will grow and has a goal to be the most liveable mid-sized city in North America. To achieve this goal, Five Big Moves were adopted to frame new Official Plan, including the concept of 15-minute neighbourhoods.”

“What do we mean when we say a 15-minute neighbourhood? It is a neighbourhood where you can access most of your day-to-day needs within a 15-minute walk from your home, including when using a wheelchair or other mobility aids, on sidewalks or pathways.”

“A 15-minute neighbourhood is a neighbourhood where you can walk to get to the grocery store, where you can easily walk to frequent transit, and where children can safely walk to school. ”  

“Walkable, 15-minute neighbourhoods reduce our dependency on cars, promote equity, social connections and a greater sense of community, foster physical and mental health, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

What is the built environment? 

“The ‘built environment’ includes the human-made design and layout of the communities in which people live, work and play.” 

“The built environment is made up of:

  • Neighbourhoods;
  • Homes;
  • Workplaces;
  • Schools;
  • Shops and services;
  • Sidewalks and bike paths;
  • Streets and transit networks;
  • Green spaces, parks and playgrounds;
  • Buildings and other infrastructure;
  • Food systems (the path that food travels from field to fork: the growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, marketing, consuming, and disposing of food).”

Changes to our physical world can lead to better or worse personal health.

Lake Ontario, Toronto, Photo credit Lucy

“The built environment can affect our behaviours and how we feel.  For example, well-designed communities that make it easy to access healthy food and get around by transit, foot or bicycle can contribute to better health and happiness.”

“A healthy built environment can:

  • Promote being active, eating healthy and other healthy habits;
  • Encourage social connectedness;
  • Prevent injuries and promote safety;
  • Improve air, water and soil quality;
  • Provide access to natural and green spaces;
  • Ensure all members of the community have good opportunities to be healthy regardless of their age, income level, gender, ethnic background, or any other social or economic reasons.”

“Healthy communities can help create environments that give everyone opportunities for all people to thrive and live their lives to the fullest. They have the potential to make the healthy choice the easier choice for residents.”

“The 5C’s of healthy communities are some community design features that promote healthy built environments.”

“All across the country, urban infrastructure faces the less dramatic, everyday threat of increased wear and tear caused by ongoing climate change. Engineers and designers build city infrastructure to suit local weather conditions. Shifts in averages and extremes of temperature or precipitation can exceed design expectations, shortening the effective life of the built environment. For example, higher temperatures can soften asphalt, making roads and bridges wear out more quickly.”

“Healthy communities are:

  • Compact and Complete

○       A diverse and compact mix of housing options for all ages and incomes, with shops and services, access to healthy food options, schools, employment, public transit, and open green spaces that can promote walking and social connectedness by making it easy to get out and meet.

  • Connected

○       Safe, complete streets and transportation networks that promote walking, cycling and transit use, making it easy and pleasant to get around.

  • Cool

○       Parks, trees and green spaces provide shade and improve air quality, making the community  cooler, and promoting active living and positive mental health.

  • Convivial

○       Attractive and lively public and community spaces where people can easily connect with each other and withday-to-day services make communities vibrant and livable.

“The built environment is shaped by policies and regulations, planners, engineers, developers, governments, elected officials and engaged community members.” 

Why Focus on Health and the Built Environment Today? 

photo credit Lucy

“The way communities are built has impacted people’s health and well-being throughout history- and continues today.  Even though we have access to sophisticated health care such as immunizations and antibiotics, we are faced with new, complex, and growing health challenges and accompanying health-related costs.”

Read our discussion paper: The Building Blocks for a Healthy Ottawa (38 pages)

Amenity-Rich Neighbourhoods in Canada

This timely November 23rd Globe and Mail article offers further insight on liveable neighbourhoods in Canada, and how being mindful about the social, economic and health benefits and design principles for amenity-rich neighbourhoods can strengthen Canada’s pandemic recovery plan to ‘build back better’.

Read further to find out the elements of an amenity-rich neighbourhood, the article’s block-by-block analysis of Statistics Canada and CMHA data, and to check the maps to see whether you are among the lucky 23% of Canadians to live in one.

The criteria applied in the analysis:

“A neighbourhood is considered “amenity dense” when a resident in that neighbourhood can walk to a grocery store, pharmacy and public transit stop within one kilometre; when there is a childcare facility, primary school and library within 1.5 kilometres; and when they can drive to a health facility within three kilometres and a place of employment in 10 kilometres. (These areas are highlighted in pink on our maps.)”

Momentum is Building Globally Online – TedTalks’ Countdown

Allan feeding a chickadee Edmonton, photo credit Lucy

Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. It launched globally on 10.10.2020. Check out all the talks and performances.

Angel Hsu Ted Talk – Cities are Driving Climate Change

“Cities pump out 70 percent of all global carbon emissions — which means they also have the greatest opportunity to lower CO2 levels and energy consumption. Climate and data scientist Angel Hsu shares how cities around the world are leading the response to climate change by innovating new, low-carbon ways of living.”

Stuart Oda TedTalk – Indoor Vertical Farms?

Amanda Burden Ted Talk – How public space makes cities work

Vicki Arroyo Ted Talk – Let’s prepare for our new climate

Momentum is Growing to Build Back Better

Paris photo credit Tony

The C40 Knowledge Hub offers free “Resources for co-creating an inclusive vision” and city models of planning in action:

“The Inclusive Community Engagement Playbook is a detailed practitioners’ guide to everything cities need to know about how to deliver inclusive community engagement. Inclusive engagement processes can enable cities to identify local peoples’ priorities and craft a strong 15-minute city plan. The Playbook includes an innovative and diverse selection of tools of varying complexity to cater to cities with different needs and capacity, as well as case studies from cities around the world. The Playbook is available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.”

“Cities with designated participatory budgets include:

  • Paris, where 10% of the City’s spending is determined by participatory budgeting processes at neighbourhood level. The city’s residents have the opportunity to participate in the design and selection of projects to be implemented in their own local area. This is one of the largest participatory budgets in the world.3
  • New York City, where the city’s participatory budgeting process ‘myPB’ has allocated $120 million to 706 community-designed projects over the last eight years, leading to improved local services.4
New York City photo credit Lucy

“Milan has cited the 15-minute city as a framework for its recovery, aiming to guarantee that essential services – particularly healthcare facilities – are within walking distance for all residents, while preventing a surge in car travel after the end of lockdown. Milan aims to create 35km of new bike lanes before the end of June and pedestrianise several school streets by September. It is also allowing some shops, bars and restaurants to use street space to serve customers outside, among other things. MadridEdinburgh and Seattle are other cities taking similar approaches as they emerge from COVID-19 outbreaks.”

“In China, ShanghaiGuangzhou and other cities have included 15-Minute Community Life Circles in their masterplans. Chengdu is another city taking a polycentric approach to urban development: it has a Great City plan to create a smaller, distinct satellite city in its outskirts, where everything will be within a 15 minute walk of the pedestrianised centre and connected to current urban centres via mass transit.”

Shanghai Photo credit Lucy

“There are many examples of cities around the globe that are responding to this opportunity to expand cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in the wake of COVID-19. Trailblazers include:

  • Bogotá and Berlin’s temporary bike lanes.
  • Seattle and San Francisco’s ‘open streets’.
  • Milan and Barcelona’s ambitious plans for road-space reallocation.
  • Lisbon and Mexico City’s public and private shared bike schemes, with many offering free or subsidised rides.5  “

Cities with 15-minute city-style visions, plans and programmes include:

  • Portland, Oregon, where the 2015 Portland Climate Action Plan sets a 2030 Complete Neighborhoods goal for 80% of residents to be easily able to access all their basic daily non-work needs by foot or bike, and to have safe pedestrian or bicycle access to transit.10 Portland’s indicators of neighbourhood completeness include distance from bike routes and transit services, distance from a neighbourhood park and community centre and the quality of sidewalks. The Plan prioritises underserved, low-income neighbourhoods for complete neighbourhood improvements.11

“Read more about food access, shortening cities’ food-supply chains and more in Food and COVID-19: How cities are feeding residents today and building a better tomorrow.”

Ensure that shops selling fresh food are present in all neighbourhoods, eliminating food ‘deserts’.

  • In 2019, as part of its Green New DealLos Angeles set a 2035 goal for all low-income residents to live within half a mile of fresh food, decentralising options.6
  • In Lagos, the city has been utilising closed schools as markets, so people can buy food and medicine close to their homes, without having to travel long distances and to avoid large crowds of people in central markets.
  • London is planning to diversify food retail options by strengthening street markets during the COVID-19 recovery, to avoid a return to heavy dependence on centralised supermarkets.”
Los Angeles photo credit Lucy

“Promote affordable housing in each neighbourhood. Cities can do this by setting affordable housing requirements for new developments – an approach known as inclusionary zoning – or offer density bonuses or other incentives to developers for providing affordable units, for example. Cities must also ensure that any existing public or private affordable housing is preserved.”

  • In 2020, Johannesburg adopted an inclusionary zoning policy that requires the provision of affordable units within multi-family developments, while granting additional density rights.
  • Los Angeles’ transit-oriented communities programme, passed in 2016, offers developers the opportunity to build more units, in addition to other incentives, if they include on-site affordable units within a short distance of key transit stops.
  • Paris is greening school playgrounds and granting residents access outside school hours for recreation, community gardening and to escape the summer heat. Read more about how cities are reducing risk from extreme heat in Building climate, health and economic resilience in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
  • Many public schools in New York City allow food stalls and farmers markets to use their parking lots and schoolyards.”

Momentum is Building – Denmark

Recently, C40 announced that “46 additional Danish Municipalities will be developing Paris compatible climate action plans… This is in addition to the 20 Danish municipalities that are already on their way to finalising their plans and means that well over half of the municipalities in Denmark are now working towards setting ambitious climate targets. The 46 additional Danish municipalities have all committed to “setting a clear goal: net zero by 2050.”

Momentum is Building for a Green and Just Recovery

In July 2020, C40 mayors released the report, Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery, by the Global Mayors COVID Recovery Task Force. The executive summary is accessible here:

With our Friends4Trees4Life focus on trees, climate action at every level, and, as urban dwellers in Edmonton and Toronto, we are excited to learn the C40 Mayors’ action agenda includes actions for health and well-being and nature-based solutions, among others:

“We will lead in taking action for health and well-being – giving public space back to people and nature, reclaiming our streets and guaranteeing clean air to ensure liveable, local communities: ○ Create ‘15 minute cities’ where all residents of the city are able to meet most of their needs within a short walk or bicycle ride from their homes

 ○ Give streets back to people, by permanently reallocating more road space to walking and cycling, investing in city-wide walking and cycling networks and green infrastructure

○ Building with nature to prioritise ‘nature based solutions’ such as parks, green roofs, green walls, blue infrastructure and permeable pavements, to help reduce the risks of extreme heat, drought, and flooding, and improve liveability and physical and mental health”

Zero-carbon neighbourhood

Edmonton Whitemud Ravine, photo credit Lucy

“Paris is also building its first zero-carbon neighbourhood, with 100% of the spaces designed to be reversible and adaptable for different uses over time. on weekends.”

“Let’s change for good! The Collective for Climate develops the first zero carbon neighborhood of Paris. The project aims to reduce 85% of its total emissions through a myriad of innovative approaches and will go beyond the carbon neutrality goal thanks to the creation of a Carbon Fund.”

“The project includes on-site geothermal and photovoltaic energy production that will benefit the entire district. The emissions will also be considerably reduced thanks to the choice of construction materials, with 80% of the superstructure to be built in timber or stone; and 100% of the façades to be composed of bio-sourced materials such as terra cotta bricks and hemp.”

Read more about The Collective for Climate’s winning project at Porte-de-Montreuil:

What Should Cities Be Like in 2050?

From neighbourhoods to cities of the future.

Learn about the National Geographic’s invitation to SOM architects to imagine the ideal city of the future for inclusion as part of its April 2019 issue devoted entirely to cities and the future challenges they face at National Geographic April 2019, and about the concept of “biomorphic urbanism” on SOM’s website.

SOM explains the choice of 2050 for its Future City design:

“Working with National Geographic staff, we selected the year 2050: far enough in the future to make significant changes in how we think about and build cities, yet still close enough for many people to see change within their lifetimes. This is also the year when the United Nations estimates the global population will reach 9.8 billion people, with 70% of those living in cities. This combination of factors made 2050 an appropriate target date.”

Edmonton photo credit Lucy


Maybe you would rather curl up with a physical book as you dive deeper into this topic?

Toronto’s former mayor, David Miller, offers up this timely book release, with its cheeky and intriguing title of: Solved: How the World’s Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis.

GoodReads has this to say and recommend about the book:

“…In Solved, David Miller argues that cities are taking action on climate change because they can – and because they must. He makes a clear-eyed and compelling case that, if replicated at pace and scale, the actions of leading global cities point the way to creating a more sustainable planet.”

“Solved: How the World’s Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis demonstrates that initiatives in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Oslo, Shenzhen, Melbourne, and beyond can make a significant difference in reducing global emissions if implemented worldwide. By chronicling the stories of how cities have taken action into their own hands to meet and exceed emissions targets laid out in the Paris Agreement, Miller empowers readers to fix the climate crisis. As much a “how to” guide for policymakers as a work for concerned citizens, Solved aims to inspire hope through its clear and factual analysis of what can be done – now, today – to mitigate our harmful emissions and pave the way to a 1.5-degree world.”

So Many More Innovators to Learn About

Notwithstanding David Miller’s tantalizing claim that the climate change problem is “solved” (!), we may wish to return to the topic of Cities and Climate Change in future blogs.

We are happy to be learning that city leaders are embracing the urgent call for climate action, sharing best practices and showing the way forward to help accelerate positive change. This helps to buoy our optimism about the future.

Topic categories on C40’s knowledge hub for potential deeper mining in future include:

  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • Air Quality
  • Buildings and Construction
  • City Diplomacy
  • Clean Energy
  • Climate Action Planning
  • Collaboration, Coordination and Outreach
  • Food
  • Inclusive and Equitable Climate Action
  • Sustainable Finance and Economics
  • Transport and Urban Planning
  • Waste

Readers may want to begin their own deeper exploration now at:

And if anyone does dive in deeper, we invite you to share what you find – comments and guest blogs are welcomed!

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