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City and Regional Work

The global effort for sustainability will be won, or lost, in the world’s cities, where 70 to 80 percent of the world’s population is expected to live by 2050.

Cities that are able to provide for thriving lives within the planet’s resource budget will be successful and resilient.

The benefits of Footprinting at the local and regional levels include:

  • Helps governments track a city or region’s demand on natural capital, and compare this demand with natural capital available.
  • Informs a broad set of policies, ranging from transportation to building codes to residential development.
  • Highlights significance of long-term infrastructure decisions, amplifying future opportunities or risks.
  • Adds value to existing data sets on production, trade and environmental performance by providing a comprehensive framework to interpret them.
  • Helps understand the link between local consumption and global environmental impact
  • Raises sustainability awareness and engagement among citizens.


Footprints of Three Mediterranean Cities


Big Urban Footprints

In many countries, one or two major urban centers are major contributors to the national Ecological Footprint and also run significantly higher per capita Footprints than the average for their nations. Comparing city and national Footprints and biocapacity can thus shed more light on potential leverage points for improving sustainability. Our Mediterranean Report, for instance, found that the resource demands of citizens in Athens exceeds the biocapacity of all of Greece.

Net Present Value Plus

Net Present Value Plus, or NPV+, is a new approach to benefit-cost analysis for capital projects. Virtually any entity making a capital investment—cities, states, universities—can use NPV+ to better plan for a more realistic future.

Featured Case Study


Calgary, the largest city in Alberta, Canada, was the first city to develop specific Ecological Footprint reduction targets. With a population of nearly 1.2 million, Calgary is located in the southern part of Alberta, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at the confluence of the Bow and the Elbow Rivers. In 2005, Calgary... View Full Case Study
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