Humanity faces global environmental and social challenges of unprecedented proportions. The city, as a system of built, natural and social environments, offers a unique opportunity to influence the sustainability and livability of the planet.
The majority of the world’s population lives in cities and by 2050 two-thirds will dwell in urban areas. In the United States, cities are inhabited by over 80 percent of the population and this number is expected to reach 87 percent by 2030. As the United States constitutes roughly five percent of the world’s population and uses nearly a third of its resources, US cities offer a prime opportunity to achieve and demonstrate sustainability.
Cities and city leaders can effect physical and social changes that yield profound impacts to the environment and quality of life both locally and globally. As complex integrated systems of infrastructure, cities can address the efficient conservation of energy and water, management of waste, and movement of people, goods and services. As social/civic systems, cities provide a tangible means for residents to engage in the planning and design of the physical and social structures necessary for a more sustainable society.
The Summit Foundation believes that the pace and impact of current efforts must be dramatically increased if we are to achieve a world where people can thrive and nature can flourish. To this end, we seek to radically increase the sustainability of cities by:
- Arming urban leaders with frameworks and metrics that can drive city sustainability efforts;
- Supporting and promoting inspirational city models and policies;
- Supporting and promoting visionary leaders; and
- Supporting the work of city climate mitigation and adaptation within the above priorities.