Director, Urban Development, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

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World Resources Institute

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29 days ago

This position can be based in any of the following WRI’s offices: US-DC or where state registered, UK, Hague, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, China, India, Turkey or Addis Ababa. The applicant will be expected to hold existing work authorization for their preferred location at the time application is submitted.

About the Program:

WRI Ross Center builds on WRI’s global and local experience in urban planning and mobility, and uses proven solutions and action-oriented tools to increase building and energy efficiency, manage water risk, encourage effective governance and make the fast-growing urban environment more resilient to new challenges. Aiming to influence 200 cities with unique research and tools, WRI Ross Center focuses on a deep cross-sector approach in selected megacities on three continents, and targeted assistance to additional 100 urban areas, bringing economic, environmental and social benefits to people in cities around the globe.

WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities I Helping cities make big ideas happen™ (

Job Highlight:

You will lead the Urban Development workstream which is delivered by expert teams in 6+ countries working on urban planning, data, finance, nature-based solutions and resilience. You will also help guide the overall strategy for the WRI Ross Center.

You will be supported by and be a core member of the Executive Team of WRI Ross Center.

You will report to the WRI Ross Center Global Director.

What you will do:

Strategy development and implementation (20%)

  • Refine and steer a strategic approach to integrated planning for low-carbon, resilient, land use and mobility, in partnership with other Cities Executive Team members, drawing upon the program’s expertise and tools in urban transport, land use, energy & climate, water, finance and resilience.
  • Ensure effective strategy alignment across the Cities network.

Fundraising (30%)

  • Lead or play an instrumental role in significant fundraising efforts, particularly on multi-sector topics, from developing the opportunity and pitching the proposal, to stewarding the donor and managing outcomes, impact and budgets.
  • Raise funds to initiate and develop a coherent and compelling portfolio of projects, ensuring alignment with the global and country strategies.

Integration and Collaboration (30%)

  • Revisit and implement an integrated Urban Development offer/strategy for Cities building on the capabilities we already have (in Air Quality, Urban Water Resilience, UM, UEC, Data&Tools teams).
  • Collaborate across WRI’s programs and WRI Ross Center workstreams such as mobility, energy, climate and research.
  • Provide inspirational leadership, manage, guide and nurture a qualified team of experts across the network.
  • Convene experts from different areas of work to identify synergies across projects, establish strategic offers and develop processes to fortify communication and collaboration across areas.

Positioning and Representation (20%)

  • Represent the program externally on key topics of expertise, at conferences or meetings, in writing, and with media.
  • In partnership with country teams, represent the WRI Cities approach on urban development through direct engagement and interaction with cities, national governments and other global actors.
  • Project our work externally towards positioning our program as a leader in cities.

What you will need:

  • Education: You have a completed Master’s degree in planning, urbanism, or economic/urban development-related fields with an excellent understanding of urban transport, land use, climate, energy, water, vulnerability, and governance.
  • Experience: You have 15+ years of full-time relevant work experience with 5 years of prior supervisory experience in developing and growing urban land-use and spatial planning programs, large-scale projects, innovative business models, and/or new products and services.
  • You have experience working directly with city governments or at the metropolitan scale to implement real-world projects with measurable positive results.
  • You have experience leading successful, large fundraising efforts, especially with bilateral aid agencies.
  • You have a solid understanding of governance and urbanization issues in less developed countries, particularly if based on work or life experience in those countries.
  • Languages: You have proficiency in written and spoken English. Working knowledge of one or more of the following languages is highly desirable: Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Mandarin, Cantonese, a major Indian language, and/or a major African language.
  • Requirements: Existing work authorization is required at the time of application submission. WRI is unable to sponsor work authorization.

Potential Salary:

Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors. WRI offers a competitive remuneration and benefits package.

How to Apply:

Please submit a resume with a cover letter by the date of 12 February 2023. You must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

What we offer:

  • A competitive salary
  • Access to the WRI global network with the opportunity to exchange with and learn from passionate colleagues working at the cutting edge of their fields across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the US.
  • The chance to have an impact and to develop your career within a mission driven organization with access to varied learning and training opportunities.
  • A workplace that strives to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of our work.
  • The opportunity to join and get involved in different working groups and affinity groups to shape the future of WRI.
  • Long-term commitment to hybrid working model with flexible working hours.
  • Generous leave days that increase with tenure.

About Us:

Founded in 1982, World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. WRI has a global staff of over 1,800 people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps, and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

Our mission and values:

WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.

Our values are shared ideals that bind us together: Integrity, Innovation, Urgency, Independence, Respect.

Our culture:

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. We are committed to providing equal opportunities in employment, we embrace all diversity and encourage women, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, Afro-descendants, and Indigenous people to apply. Recognizing our strong commitment to gender equality, WRI has also been awarded EDGE certification.

Our team in Human Resources carefully reviews all applications.