NCE Coalition for Urban Transitions: National Policy workstream

The Coalition for Urban Transitions was a Special Initiative of the New Climate Economy (NCE). LSE Cities co-led research into national policy tools available to facilitate more compact and connected urban development in collaboration with the OECD.

The Coalition for Urban Transitions was an international initiative to support decision makers to meet the objective of unlocking the power of cities for enhanced national economic, social, and environmental performance, including reducing the risk of climate change. It was hosted by the World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, and jointly managed by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and WRI with a dedicated delivery team.

The Coalition provided an independent, evidence based approach for thinking about how to transition towards compact, connected and coordinated (3C) cities to ensure that the growth of urban areas, and the accompanying process of economic, social, and environmental transformation, maximises benefits for people and the planet.

The Coalition was composed of leaders from think tanks, research institutions, city networks, international organisations, infrastructure providers, and strategic advisory companies.

LSE Cities co-led the workstream on National Policy Levers alongside the OECD from 2016 - 2021.  The workstream aimed to answer how major national policy frameworks, instruments or innovations in rapidly urbanising regions could be used to scale up and shift national urban development towards more compact, connected, low carbon urban growth. While the OECD brought expertise on national housing policy to this work, LSE Cities mainly focused on sustainable national transport policies.

Following an initial scoping phase, a first working paper was published in December 2017. Following this initial overview paper that looked at the status quo on integrating national transport and housing policies in ten case study countries, a DfiD grant enabled the continuation of the project in 2018.

In March 2019, LSE Cities published ‘National Transport Policy and Cities: Key policy interventions to drive compact and connected urban growth”. This paper provides a foundation for national transport policy-makers to begin pragmatic but ambitious conversations about actions they can take to make cities more accessible – either by leapfrogging car-centric development pathways, or by transitioning towards a more compact and connected future. It provides a global review of 189 national transport interventions and then presents results from a survey of experts that narrows down the top five most impactful policy interventions.

In April 2019, a new phase of research funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) started and ran until 2021. As part of this research LSE Cities and the OECD published an in-depth policy paper looking at the housing and transport policy reforms required to create more compact, connected, clean and inclusive cities in Mexico. The paper is based on workshops and in-depth interviews with policy-makers in Mexico and highlights the opportunities for a more coordinated approach to urban development that could help Mexico to radically transform cities for the post-COVID era.

LSE Cities and OECD then collaborated on another policy paper that analysed to what extent existing COVID stimulus funding and recovery policies align with compact, connected and clean urban development objectives, and suggested concrete policy priorities that could support national governments in their efforts tackle the climate emergency and ensure inclusive and accessible urban development for the critical decade ahead.

Note that Philipp Rode is also a member of the steering group designed to support the Coalition for Urban Transitions with strategic advice, technical expertise, and academic research.


Project Team

Research directors
Philipp Rode (LSE Cities)
Aziza Akhmouch (OECD)

Project coordinator
Catarina Heeckt (LSE Cities)

Nicole Badstuber (LSE Cities)
Nuno Ferreira da Cruz (LSE Cities)
Rebecca Flynn (LSE Cities)
Catarina Heeckt (LSE Cities)
Andrew Hoolachan (LSE Cities)
Soo-Jin Kim (OECD)
Corina Kwami (LSE Cities)
Jonathan Liebenau
Tadashi Matsumoto (OECD)
Katherine Maxwell 
Oscar Huerta Melchor (OECD)
Matthew Ulterino