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Sustainable Cities

We help city leaders to tackle sustainability challenges, improve the quality of life in cities, and pursue smart growth by integrating environmental thinking into everything they do

By 2030, 5 billion people, 59 percent of the world’s population, will live in cities. Rapid urbanization requires new transport, power, water, and waste systems. While cities generate the world’s economic growth, they are also responsible for 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. McKinsey works with city leaders on protecting and improving the environment for city dwellers, workers, and visitors while pursuing economic growth and social progress.

Sustainability is a part of every aspect of our work with city leaders, both in setting priorities and in delivering transformational impact on the ground. To support governments, the private sector, citizens and other stakeholders, we draw on the global resources of our firm, including capital productivity, economic development, technology design and delivery, and performance management expertise.

Examples of our work

As trusted partners of city governments throughout the world, we help shape strategy, enable change, and support delivery in sustainable city initiatives. Our recent projects include:

Optimizing an urban transport system

In a mobility project for an Eastern European city that spanned rail, highways, and parking management, we helped reduce average commuting times by 15 percent, increase bus and train passenger journeys by 20 percent, and save $10 billion through upgrades to the city’s subway master plan.

Designing a city for mixed use and sustainability

We helped the leadership of one of India’s largest states develop a vision and master plan for a new capital city. In a region rapidly urbanizing and faced with increasing climate and social stresses, the new city represents a commitment to a more sustainable urban development model intended to achieve breakthroughs in resident happiness and health.

Featured experts

Jonathan Woetzel

MGI Director and Senior Partner, Shanghai

Andres Cadena

Senior Partner, Bogotá

Vadim Pokotilo

Partner, Moscow

Jonathan K. Law

Partner, New York

Jaana Remes

MGI Partner, San Francisco

Shannon Peloquin

Partner, San Francisco

More from this practice

Future of Cities

As urban populations increase, solutions to challenges in mobility, infrastructure, and housing are of utmost importance.

Impact story

How a city paved the way to a new low-carbon economy

An environmentally aware city tackles the next frontier of carbon abatement opportunities.

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