This is a profile image of James Patterson-Waterston

James Patterson-Waterston


Leads global efforts in sustainable urbanization for organizations in infrastructure, real estate, and public sectors driving decarbonization, economic development, and inclusive growth.

James leads McKinsey’s worldwide initiatives in sustainable urbanization and economic growth. With experience in more than 30 countries across five continents, he champions ambitious sustainable development and net-zero strategies. James excels in supporting clients with investment attraction, special economic zones, and regional development.

Furthermore, he co-leads our knowledge partnership with C40 Cities—a global network of nearly 100 mayors from leading cities around the world united in action to confront the climate crisis.

James Co-Chairs the UK Government’s Professional and Business Services Council Trade Promotion Working Group. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities and holds the position of an elected Academician of the Academy of Urbanism.


Public spaces in Latin America and the Caribbean: a guide for their reactivation in the post-pandemic era,” Inter-American Development Bank, March 2022

Net-zero business models for a Just Transition,” UK Research & Innovation, January 2022

Creating local green jobs: the United States, Italy and South Africa,” C40 Cities, October 2021

Coal-free cities: the health and economic case for a clean energy revolution,” C40 Cities, September 2021

Seizing the urban opportunity: insights from six emerging economies,” Coalition for Urban Transitions, March 2021

Invest and prosper: a business case for investment in planning,” Royal Town Planning Institute, October 2020

Chongqing 2035: spatial and economic transformation for a global city,” Vivid Economics, World Bank Group, December 2019

Natural asset and biodiversity valuation in cities,” Global Platform for Sustainable Cities, World Bank Group, November 2019

Climate emergency, urban opportunity: how national governments can secure economic prosperity and avert climate catastrophe by transforming cities,” Coalition for Urban Transitions, September 2019

Melaka: pathway to urban sustainability,” Global Platform for Sustainable Cities, World Bank Group, May 2019

Exploring urban IoT solutions,” Connected Places Catapult, June 2018


Vivid Economics, a McKinsey Company

Buro Happold



University of Cambridge, Peterhouse
MPhil, environmental planning and design

University College London
MSc, construction and development economics

University of Liverpool
BA, architecture