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Sustainable urban finance is tied to international efforts to reduce climate change impacts

Sustainable urban finance refers to investments in urban development projects that meet social, environmental, and financial objectives (Kim 2016; European Commission 2018). The term combines three concepts:

Sustainable Urban Finance 

Source: Authors 2019


  • SUSTAINABLE: Relating to the “triple bottom line” of social, environmental, and economic development, supporting the transition from brown (polluting) to green (clean energy) projects, and managing climate adaptation requirements (Elkington 1997). Urban sustainability objectives include:
    • Social: saving lives, improving health, providing education and opportunity.
    • Environmental: clean air, soil, and water quality. Water and sewer services.
    • Economic: growth of household income and GDP.


  • URBAN: Relating to the provision of city infrastructure and services.


  • FINANCE: Relating to sources of capital:
    • Public funding: Municipal and national budgets and government transfers.
    • Blended finance: Public, bilateral, concessional funding or finance, and private finance.
    • Private: Debt and equity.

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