Sustainable Cities

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 United States makes up 5% of the world’s population and yet uses nearly a third of the its resources. In the United States, 80% of  the population lives in urban areas. These urban areas and the people who live in them play a crucial real role in achieving sustainability. As complex systems of infrastructure, cities can address the efficient conservation of energy and water, management of waste, and movement of people, goods and services while creating the foundations for  a more sustainable and equitable future.

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. We aim to support cities’ efforts towards effective and efficient sustainability through our Sustainable Cities Program.

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) functions as a peer to peer professional network, connecting government groups seeking realistic and achievable solutions with economic and environmental challenges cities face…. Read More »

The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) is a collaboration of international cities committed to achieving aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals. Cities striving for carbon neutrality recognize that averting the worst impacts of climate change will require cutting GHG emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Because urban areas account for nearly three-quarters of humanity’s emissions, reaching this goal will depend in large part on our ability to reimagine and reinvent cities in ways that promote economic prosperity, social equity, enhanced quality of life, and climate resilience…. Read More »


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Essential Capacities for Urban Climate Adaptation, produced by the Innovation Network for Communities (INC) with support from the Summit Foundation, is based on an extensive review of climate adaptation literature, city adaptation plans, and in-depth consultation with practitioners. The report identifies seven essential capacities that leading cities have begun to develop to effectively implement climate… Read More »

Recent Grants

Our Sustainable Cities Program features grantmaking that focuses on common frameworks and metrics that can drive city sustainability efforts, inspirational city models and policies, visionary leaders, and city climate mitigation and adaptation. Here are a few of the projects and organizations we have supported recently.