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City-Level Decoupling: Urban Resource Flows and the Governance of Infrastructure Transitions

city-level_decoupling.jpg

Publication Date: April 2013

Around three-quarters of the world's natural resources are already consumed in cities, and the proportion of the global population living in urban areas is set to rise to 70 per cent by 2050. At the same time, cities generally offer lower per capita resource use and emissions than their surrounding areas.

As the price of depleting natural resources continues to rise, promoting sustainable urban infrastructures can benefit the environment and shield cities from potential economic and social instability in an increasingly resource-constrained 21st century. 

Achieving inclusive sustainable development for all, says this study, requires 'decoupling' city-based economic growth rates from the unsustainable consumption of finite natural resources, which has characterised most urban development to date.

See also the annex to the report for 30 case studies of how promoting sustainable urban infrastructures can benefit the environment and shield cities from potential economic and social instability in an increasingly resource-constrained 21st century.

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