Part of: Financing Sustainable Urban Development: An Introduction

How much sustainable urban investment is needed?


Cities represent 70 percent of global investment needs (CCFLA 2015, p.3) and our analysis shows they will require roughly US$5.3 trillion per year (or US$159 trillion by 2050) in sustainable urban infrastructure investments. From 2000 to 2016, city and state/provincial governments were responsible for 64 percent of environmental and climate-related investments (OECD 2018, p.20). Note that cities are also engines of economic growth, generating 80 percent of global gross domestic product (UN Habitat 2016, p.27). 

Annual Needs of Five Urban Sectors Globally 
(trillions of US dollars)* 

*Sectors such as power/electricity and telecommunications were not included because they are not considered “urban” since generation of electricity takes place mostly outside urban areas. 

Sources: Authors based on data from OECD 2017World Bank Group 2018, and McKinsey Energy Insights 2019.