New initiative helps post-industrial cities become leaders in sustainable redevelopment

In July of 2017, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) launched the Urban Transitions Alliance. Funded by Stiftung Mercator, the initiative is designed to help industrial and former industrial cities become global leaders in sustainable urban redevelopment.

These cities sharing their stories and commitments at the recent COP23 conference in Bonn, Germany. The initiative was represented at the official COP23 side event Cities in Transition: Industrial Legacy for a Low Carbon Future by Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA, Deputy Mayor Simone Raskob of Essen, Germany, and Deputy District Mayor Jian Cai of the People’s Government of Guangzhou, Huadu, China.

The Urban Transitions Alliance was launched at the TWINS Conference Ruhr in Essen to bring forward a process of defining shared challenges and co-creating solutions for industrial and former industrial cities.

The global climate transition requires all – nations, businesses and cities – to redefine their development. Pushed by forces beyond climate, many industrial cities around the world are currently doing just that. They set out to turn the challenge posed by fading industrial activity into an opportunity to become hubs of clean energy, innovation and sustainability.

To stop climate change, a planet-wide low-carbon transition needs to happen. Cities like Pittsburgh, the former Steel City of the USA, and Essen, a major coal mining hub, have been experiencing first-hand what such a transition entails. These cities had to create new visions for their future and, ultimately, to define their own paths towards more sustainable economies.

The Urban Transitions Alliance has brought together a group of such cities, including the following cities from the United States, Germany and China:

  • Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • Cincinnati, OH, USA
  • Buffalo, NY, USA
  • Essen, Germany
  • Bottrop, Germany
  • Beijing, Economic-Technological Development Areas (E-Town), China
  • Beijing, Huairou District, China
  • Shijiazhuang, Yuhua District, China

These key leaders are stepping up, creating vibrant, green economies and leading the way toward a sustainable future for their cities and residents.

Featured photo set shows how Buffalo, New York’s Riverbend steelmaking site was repurpose and renewed.

See Urban Transitions Alliance website + photo credit.

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