Shift Mindsets

Building new urban coalitions for socially inclusive zero-carbon cities.

Transformative Urban Coalitions

Catalysing Urban Partnerships to Drive Systemic Transformation Towards Sustainability

Cities account for 75% of carbon emissions worldwide, making urban leadership critical for achieving zero carbon emissions. To be sustainable, rapid decarbonization has to be socially just. Such transformations must be inclusive and driven by the needs and views of diverse groups of stakeholders, including citizens, policy makers, private sector, community-led organizations, etc.​

The TUC project seeks to shift the sustainability trajectory of cities towards zero carbon emissions by 2050, by altering the deeper social, technological, and political structures and systems that are currently reinforcing high-carbon, resource-intensive urbanization.

Transformative Urban Coalitions (TUC) is a coalition between United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), World Resources Institute (WRI) and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), with support from Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

This project facilitates the establishment of transformative urban coalitions in five Latin American cities to develop new strategies for addressing local challenges in urban development and inequality, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions.

Where We Work

The TUC project focuses on Latin America, where 80% of the population lives in urban areas and cities are already seeing the effects of climate change, especially from extreme heat events, water stress and air pollution. Urban sustainability transformations toward zero carbon by 2050 are therefore urgently needed. Five "Urban Labs" will be established in cities in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, to develop new models of urban coalition building and governance. In each of the five pilot cities, these Urban Labs will develop catalyst projects that initiate local sustainability transformations with a specific focus.

How we do it


5 "Urban Labs" integrates the expertise of urban actors, practitioners and researchers to develop tangible, catalytic and transformative solutions to urban challenges that contribute to sustainable development towards zero carbon cities.

Transformative research

Transformative research actively advances the transformation towards sustainability and provides practical support for processes in the "Urban Labs".

Community of Transformation

The Community of Transformation facilitates and ​incentivizes learning and exchange among pilot cities that promotes sustainable urban transformations within the cities and across the region.

Capacity building

Sharing and building capacities in and across the cities generates an understanding of different options for action and solution approaches.

Art & film

Art & film are important parts of the project to reach different and broader audiences. Among others, overall 30 short films, produced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Dirk Wilutzky, will be screened.​

Outreach & dissemination

Through targeted communication activities, the project supports triggering of mindshifts and galvanizes climate ambition across the pilot cities and beyond.

Subscribe for updates


Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety


United Nations University (UNU) ; Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
German Institute of Development and Sustainability – IDOS
World Resources Institute
International Institute for Environment and Development