Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Better Cities are Possible: Responding to the Twin Crises of Climate Change and Inequality

Anna Walnycki, Aditya V. Bahadur and Tucker Landesman




How can cities promote resilient, low-carbon and just urbanisation, in a context of increasing climate breakdown and inequality?

In this toolkit, IIED’s urban researchers set out a vision for urban transformation to build just and inclusive cities. Building on the core principles of IIED’s framework for transformative urban recovery co-developed with grassroots organisations, national and international agencies, research institutions, international NGOs and city leaders, this paper sets out four key action areas for 2022:

  • Embracing disruptive resilience
  • Connecting urban climate justice with social justice and decarbonisation
  • Promoting housing justice while advancing climate justice, and
  • Supporting migration in the context of the climate emergency. 

Effective decarbonisation and adaptation strategies in cities will depend on developing local institutions in ways that go beyond our existing understandings of partnerships and participation. Meaningful and transformative planning that tackles the twin crises of inequality and climate change will depend on local and scientific data on risk and inequality, locally rooted institutions and leadership, and better quality and more nimble finance.

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