Jan 2015 – Dec 2019

China Sustainable Cities Project Phase 2



China – East Asia

To help support Chinese cities to implement climate-smart urban and transport planning principles; use lessons learned to give greater confidence in a low carbon urban development model; and help contribute to peaking China’s emissions.

$22,945,000 Grant Value

$1,205,000 evaluation budget

Other funders

  • Hewlett -

  • ClimateWorks -

  • Oak -

  • Mercator

Energy Foundation’s China Sustainable Cities Programme and the World Resources Institute (WRI) EMBARQ programme are using international best practice and technical assistance in city demonstration projects to provide a policy and implementation blueprint to cities on the use of climate-smart urban design principles. 

They are building an improved evidence database by supporting research on the technical challenges and solutions to the implementation of transit-oriented development principles, and building increased capacity by training key implementers (e.g. mayors, planners) and advocates (e.g. urban sustainability non-governmental organisations) in China, as well as sharing knowledge with other cities in China.

To communicate the findings and messages of the research, WRI ran a very successful campaign in 2016 to promote the use of public transport as an approach to making the city more sustainable.  To better communicate their work, a blog series on transit-oriented development has been published to engage the wider public. In addition, as well an interview with Jan Gehl, a leading architect, has been widely distributed by relevant national and local news media such as the Paper and Oriental Daily.  


The investment will contribute to achieving the abatement potential of around 318 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in 2030. In addition, it will contribute to increased take up of a model of development that reduces car dependency and increases modal shift, reduces the lock-in of high-carbon road infrastructure, limits urban sprawl, and improves transport efficiency and air quality.

318 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent is about the same as buying everyone in Beijing a return flight to New York six times

The communication collaterals produced as part of this project have been widely used and applied by others, including by the World Bank’s Knowledge Hub. The messages in these materials have now been disseminated to over ten cities in China, supported by China-GEF-World Bank Urban Transport Partnership Program Project.