Photo credit: Tredje Natur

Sustainia, C40 and Realdania have just released the Cities100 2017 publication. For the third year in a row, Cities100 features the 100 best urban solutions to climate change around the world. What’s more, you can explore the 300 solutions from all three Cities100 reports online, via the Global Opportunity Explorer.

The new Cities space on the platform allows you to filter all Cities100 solutions using either the Global Goals or the 10 city sectors, which enables you to quickly find just the kind of urban solutions you are looking for, from efficient waste management to clean transportation. The 300 solutions represent urban innovation from 120 cities in 45 countries, providing a glimpse of tomorrow’s sustainable societies.

Insights from the Cities100 2017
The 2017 edition of Cities100 presents 100 solutions from 73 cities and 29 countries across five sectors: transportation, waste, energy, mitigation and adaptation.

This year’s report shows how more cities than ever before are using climate action to future-proof against challenges such as extreme weather, air pollution and growing populations. Moreover, climate action is improving quality of life for urban dwellers, as it is transforming cities into greener, cleaner, healthier, and more enjoyable places to live while generating financial gains.

Below you will find some exciting trends and insights from this year’s Cities100.


Weathering the storm through parks and partnerships
Extreme weather is flooding the headlines, and cities are at the front lines of coping with the impacts. Cities100 gives us new hope in seeing that by working together, cities are strengthening their resilience. For example, New York City and Copenhagen are both coastal cities facing increasing flooding risk from rising sea levels and more frequent downpours, therefore they’ve joined forces and are learning from each other’s solutions.

Copenhagen’s cloudburst project delivered an estimated savings of $290 million through flood resiliency, and New York will be following suit by integrating parks and green infrastructure that will treat stormwater and prevent flooding. In turn, Copenhagen will be implementing solutions following New York’s adaptations to coastal flooding.

Money can grow on trees
Cities100 shows how cities are beginning to value nature as an asset. By integrating nature into city infrastructure for better climate adaptation, cities can quantify the value of ecosystem services. For example, Barcelona’s urban greening program is expanding their tree canopy to improve air quality, build resilience to extreme weather, increase biodiversity, and make the city a more pleasant place to live. Not to mention, the shade from the trees is expected to reduce energy use for air conditioning, therefore offering an estimated savings of $10 million annually.

Clever financing and citizen action
Cities100 showcases increasingly clever climate action financing models, as cities are finding new ways of funding sustainability projects. For example, Suwon residents have created a cooperative to invest in solar installations and reinvested 50% of the profits in other solar or community welfare projects.

Clean air is a priority
Improving air quality is becoming a driver for climate action, while bringing other benefits such as cleaner energy, transport and waste management, as well as greener cities. For example Seoul is creating a program to reward citizens for reducing their driving, which is expecting to cut 10K tons of CO2 every year.

Climate action at the heart of city planning
Fighting climate change while creating greener and healthier cities is becoming mainstream. More cities are integrating climate action into city planning, building and governance, while aiming for ambitious goals in terms of renewable energy and climate adaptation. A great example is New York, which is the first American city to institutionalize climate resilience.

Small is powerful!
Size can matter in urban climate action. Smaller cities have a unique position to test solutions that can be scaled and implemented in bigger cities. Fort Collins and Georgetown are two cities in the US that are going 100% renewable, providing hope and optimism despite their president’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. This year’s Cities100 showcases many small cities that are working to create a big difference.

This article was first published on the Global Opportunity Explorer.