During a session at COP28 called “Closer to Home: Planning the Cities of the Future”, several commitments and announcements were made supporting efforts towards better urban planning and the management of our cities.

Cities around the world are battlegrounds in our fight against climate change. The latest IPCC report highlights that integrated urban planning can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23 to 26 per cent by 2050. 

The opportunities for retrofitting and transforming how the cities of the future will be planned and built are enormous. With 60 per cent of the urban space we will need in 2060 yet to be built, the risks of sticking with business as usual are major.

What is needed is clear: sprawl and low density urban development needs to be tackled to limit the consumption of natural land and reduce car dependency; urban models based on monocentric development must be transformed into polycentric cities made of connected, mixed-use neighbourhoods that provide access to key services, amenities, and public transport to all; car-dominated roads and highways must give way to people-centric streets and nature-friendly neighbourhoods; and pollution needs to be rapidly reduced and a low carbon future needs to be built in our cities of today and tomorrow.

Such transformations require convergent action at the local, national, and global level. All too often, cities are not supported by national frameworks or statutory tools, and are barely reflected in global guidance and mechanisms for financing. This needs to change.

The actions the world takes now will play a key role in supporting initiatives scaling up climate action in cities. Find out more in the Call for Action for Sustainable Cities.