For Mayors Acting on Climate Change, Buro Happold Offers Plans, Tools

Mar 2, '21 11:53 AM EST

New ways for cities to deal with climate challenges – and to fund those initiatives – have long been a priority for global innovator Buro Happold. It was no surprise, then, that an international alliance of cities taking voluntary action to combat climate change would engage Buro Happold’s leading thinkers to help plan those actions and study ways to pay for the important initiatives.

The work is especially important as cities deal with staff cuts and dwindling funding at the same time that they face greater climate-related risks than ever before.

Culminating in instrumental regional climate action plans and an online tool for identifying climate funding opportunities, Buro Happold has been working with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, known as GCoM, which includes members from over 160 U.S. cities and five U.S. regions.

As part of the program to support U.S. cities and regions in their efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions and bolster resiliency to climate change, Buro Happold worked with the European Union funded IUC, or International Urban Cooperation program, on a pilot to create climate action and adaptation plans for five major metropolitan regions in the U.S. Essential for cities and regions, climate action and adaptation plans quantify greenhouse gas emissions, identify vulnerabilities to climate-related risks, and develop strategies to curb these emissions and prepare for climate change. This approach replicates similar applications that have been highly successful across Europe.

Buro Happold’s work on the regional plans segued into creating a funding research tool – a platform that assists cities in finding federal, state and local money to pay for their efforts to reduce emissions and protect against climate-induced risks. With the firm’s knowledge of how municipalities work, Buro Happold translated the funding challenge into the web-based tool, searchable by location, project type, and other criteria, and accompanying guidance document, which are now in use by hundreds of city officials across the U.S.

The online resource is now operated by GCoM, which is promoting its use across its member cities and regions. 

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy represents cities and local governments with a shared long-term vision of promoting and supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and move to an inclusive, just, low emission, and resilient society. “GCoM’s investment in regional climate action and adaptation planning, the funding tool and other major priorities are some of the many ways GCoM are supporting U.S. cities and regions in fighting and adapting to climate change. These types of tools and services will build capacity and fund and finance jurisdictions to help meet the Paris Climate Agreement,"  says Adam Friedberg, who leads Buro Happold’s Cities Team in North America with nearly two dozen economists, planners, engineers, resiliency and sustainability experts, social scientists and real estate specialists.

The Metro-scale Climate Leaders GCoM initiative is funded by the European Union and supported through a global network of partner organizations. More detail on GCoM’s U.S. component is found here:


About Buro Happold

Buro Happold is an international, integrated engineering consultancy operating in 24 locations worldwide, with 60 partners and over 1,900 employees including some of the world’s leading consultants and engineers. For over 40 years we’ve been building our reputation for delivering creative, value-led building and city solutions for an ever-changing world.