The economic and social benefits of low-carbon cities: a systematic review of the evidence

Over half the population of the world live in urban areas. This means that efforts to meet human development goals and sustain economic growth must be concentrated in cities. However, the pursuit of more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable urban development is complicated by climate change, which multiplies existing environmental risks, undermines the effectiveness of existing infrastructure, and creates new resource constraints. This paper demonstrates that there are many synergies between aspirations for urban development and the imperative for climate action. It draws on over 700 papers, focusing on the literature on low-carbon measures in the buildings, transport, and waste sectors. This systematic review clearly shows that low-carbon measures can help to achieve a range of development priorities, such as job creation, improved public health, social inclusion, and improved accessibility.