Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


Low-carbon cities built from the ground up can be located and engineered for adaptation and resilience



The Adaption plan for a low-carbon compact city will have the following goals.

  • Site new city in areas to be least affected by climate change (sea level rise, floods, extreme weather, etc.)
  • Engineer land-use design and buildings to be already adapted to future climate change
  • Use materials and engineering appropriate to geographic risks (Earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, etc.)
  • Mitigate remaining risks to community
  • Have plans in place for natural and climate disasters
  • Plan for possible migration of large number of people

Category of the action

Mitigation/Adaptation, Changing public attitudes about climate change

What actions do you propose?

Who will take these actions?

Risk analysts, insurance industry, corporations, academics, and professionals to determine natural and man-made risks of a low carbon city. along with the organizations and contractors needed to actually site, finance, plan and build new cities.  As explained in the United States Regional Climate Action proposal for building low-carbon cities from the ground-up, new cities can be started today without waiting for public acceptance, taxpayer subsidies or excessive developer profit. 

Where will these actions be taken?

This proposal assumes a complete risk assessment will be done by a wide range of professionals prior to construction of a low-carbon city. 

What are other key benefits?

Environmental Benefits:   Relocation of population away from environmentally effected areas.

Social Benefits:  Reduction of risks from climate change and natural disasters.

Economic Benefits:   Reduced cost of being prepared for climate change and natural disasters.


The key challenge of this plan is to form an organization capable of siting, financing and performing the minimum pre-construction planning necessary to break ground on a new low-carbon city.  The related United States Regional Plan for building low-carbon cities provides the means of forming this organization along with other challenges.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Planning for adaptation will have minor cost as part of the planning process and using appropriate materials for the geographic area.  However, the preparation will be much less expensive than the alternative. 

Time line

This plan to build new cities will take a generation, or more.    By increasing each new city’s population by 25,000 annually, it will take a city 10 years to obtain a population of 250,000, 20 years for 500,000 and 40 years for 1,000,000 inhabitants.   This plan is most likely to be executed over the project’s lifetime by those currently in their early 20s who will most likely be most impacted by the disruptions from climate change. 

Related proposals

There does not seem to be any publically known project to build a larger low-carbon compact city from the ground-up in the United States.   Most larger-scale projects are traditional development requiring cars for transportation, or eco-village transportation hub projects as bedroom communities to larger cities with high-density multi-family buildings, mixed-use limited to higher-rent corporate chains, and an absolute minimum of greenspace, parks, large public spaces, schools, or the desired walkable amenities of a larger city or resort community.