60 percent of the buildings that will exist in 2030 are yet to be built. Two thirds of them will be in the global south (WRI 2016, p.24). This presents a huge opportunity to reduce energy waste by constructing efficient new buildings.
70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities (GHG Protocol 2015). Reducing emissions will lead to more livable cities.
Containing urban sprawl
US$5.11 trillion is lost each year due to traffic congestion and air pollution, which were also linked to 7.6 percent of deaths worldwide in 2016 (World Bank 2016; WHO 2016). Sustainable development can reduce health-related costs.
Urban growth leads to expansion of the road networks which enable urban sprawl, but high costs and land availability can constrain this. Building appropriate densities through transit-oriented development strategies allow for more concentrated economic activity.
Securing housing and basic services
Too many people lack access to basic services. More appropriate housing densities allow for better cost-effective energy and water investments and better connectivity of transportation systems.
More investment in sustainable infrastructure and services will lead to more efficient use of financial resources, reduced capital costs over time, and greater economic activity that will expand the tax base.
A faster transition will help cities adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change while providing basic infrastructure and services.