SPOTLIGHT

Around the world, people and communities are taking on urbanization challenges in their cities. Here we share some of these stories.

Disclaimer: The organizations or companies linked here do not amount to an endorsement by the Cool Cities team.

 

INDIVIDUALS

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Individuals

Karen Seto in Study: For Some Urban Areas, Warming Climate is Only Half the Threat

“This is the first and only study that projects urban land expansion globally through 2050. It fills a critical knowledge gap in understanding the resource demands of future urbanization, such as for land, energy, materials. At the same time, this study also helps us understand how cities can modify their local environment to mitigate the impacts of urban-induced changes in local and regional temperatures.” 

 

— Karen Seto, Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science

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Individuals

Bringing Energy Upgrades to the Nation's Inner Cities

America’s inner cities are filled with aging buildings that are notoriously energy-inefficient...Donnel Baird has launched a startup that aims to revolutionize how small businesses and nonprofits secure funding for energy efficiency and clean energy projects in low-income neighborhoods. (Yale E360. May 2016)

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COMMUNITIES

Communities

Los Angeles and the Eastern Sierra: A struggle for Water

Citing the impacts of climate change and decreased snowpack — as well as the demands of 4 million ratepayers about 300 miles to the south — the DWP has told ranchers they should no longer expect free water for irrigation uses. The planned water cutbacks, which were first announced in 2018, would affect some 6,400 acres of land near Crowley Lake (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 2021).

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Communities

This European Country May Have the Most Ambitious Green Agenda Yet

The centerpiece of Leonore Gewessler’s plan is a radical revamp of Austria’s public transportation networks, giving residents nationwide access to buses, trains and subways for a flat yearly fee that works out at €3 ($3.38) a day, encouraging citizens to leave their cars at home. (Fortune, June 2022)

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Communities

Billion Oyster Project

Billion Oyster Project is restoring oyster reefs to New York Harbor in collaboration with New York City communities. Oyster reefs provide habitat for hundreds of species, and can protect our city from storm damage — softening the blow of large waves, reducing flooding, and preventing erosion along the shorelines. (Billion Oyster Project, 2020)

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Communities

Walmart, Schneider Electric Team Up to Help Suppliers Transition to Renewable Energy

For Walmart to meet the goal of avoiding one billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, suppliers have to get on board. The retailer was one of the first in its class to take a swing at supply chain emissions (also called scope 3 emissions), which make up the vast majority of Walmart's total output. (Utility Dive, Sept. 2020)

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CITIES

Cities

C40 Mayors Support 

Global Green New Deal 

At least ninety-four C-40 mayors are already supporting a Global Green New Deal. The group recognized a global climate emergency and committed to keep global heating under the Paris climate agreement goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius (SmartCitiesDive, Oct. 2019). 

 

More about the worldwide collaboration from C40: The Global Green New Deal.

 

Cities

"Marshall Plan for Middle America" Calls for Billions to be Spent to Help Western PA Go Green

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called for a massive investment in middle America the likes of which hasn’t been seen in recent memory. He likened the investment needed in the region to the billions that were spent rebuilding Europe after World War II under the Marshall Plan (TribLIVE, Nov. 2020).

Earlier this year, the city of Pittsburgh has also announced a commitment to 100% renewable electricity in all major city facilities.

Cities

The Sustainable Stockholm in a Historical Perspective

Learn how Stockholm became the city it is today with a series of environmental efforts through the decades. 

Cities

How America's Hottest City Will Survive a Rapidly Warming World

This month, Phoenix is a hotspot in every sense of the word. The coronavirus is raging out of control. Protesters have flooded the streets after police officers fatally shot a man in a parked car on July 4. It’s been more than a month since the daily maximum temperature dropped below 100 degrees.Yet the city is working to fight the literal heat. The goal is for Phoenix to become the country’s first heat-ready city — equipped to survive a rapidly warming world. (Washington Post, July 2020)

Cities

Rebuilding and Resiliency with LEED in Greensburg, Kansas

Ten years after a two-mile-wide tornado devastated the town of Greensburg, Kansas, the rebuilt community is a model for what green building can do. More than just an environmentally sound choice, building green can also mean building for self-sufficiency and resiliency, qualities always embodied by residents of the plains states. (US Green Building Council, May 2017)

Cities

Biophilic Cities Network Partners

The Biophilic Cities Network is comprised of cities from around the globe dedicated to improving the connection between residents and urban nature. Biophilic Cities acknowledges the importance of daily contact with nature as an element of a meaningful urban life, as well as the ethical responsibility that cities have to conserve global nature as shared habitat for non-human life and people. (Biophilic Cities Network)

Cities

5 Ways Momentum for Climate Action Has Grown Since the Paris Agreement Was Signed

In Medellín, Colombia, the installation of an aerial tram system called Metrocable is linking low-income hillside communities with the center of the city and thus boosting access by residents to jobs, education and other services. The mayor of Paris has made her plan for a '15-minute city', where residents can meet all their needs within 15 minutes of traveling from home, a cornerstone of her re-election campaign. (World Resources Institute, Apr. 2020)

Cities

The 15 U.S. Cities 

Investing the Most in Solar Energy

The U.S. solar industry has grown significantly in the last decade as solar power has become more affordable, efficient, and accessible. Since 2014, the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has dropped by almost 50 percent. The U.S. now has over 2 million solar PV installations, which produce enough electricity each year to power more than 12 million homes.

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