The World Resources Institute has announced a gift of more than $30 million from developer Stephen Ross in support of efforts to help cities grow smarter and more sustainably.
The single largest gift in the nonprofit research organization’s history will establish the Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, a new initiative aimed at integrating WRI’s expertise and on-the-ground experience in the areas of urban planning, sustainable transport, energy and climate change, water resources, and governance. To that end, the center, building on the efforts of EMBARQ, the organization's sustainable transport and urban development program, will work to greatly increase WRI’s reach while combining international best practices in sustainable development with an embedded understanding of local issues.
Over the past decade, WRI has assembled a team of more than a hundred and seventy people focused on cities and transport, 80 percent of whom reside in fifty-five cities in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Turkey, and has supported the design of low-carbon cities in Chengdu and Qingdao, China, renewable energy development in Bangalore, and land-use planning in Mexico City. The organization also has partnered with C40 and ICLEI to develop tools to measure city-level greenhouse gas emissions that are being tested in more than sixty cities.
"Sustainable urban development poses one of the great challenges of our times. Cities are the major drivers of economic growth, and should also offer a higher quality of life, and healthier environments," said Ross, who serves on the WRI board of directors and is a 2013 signatory of the Giving Pledge. "WRI has proven that it can translate global ideas into tangible practices and catalyze sustainable solutions in developing countries through a network of on-the-ground practitioners, global expertise and partnerships, and credible research. I am thrilled to be able to make such an impactful contribution that will build on WRI's work, and I am confident that together we will be able to help usher in an era of more vibrant cities and better transport around the globe."