An SDG-aligned Organisation for Resilient Citymaking

Last Updated
10 May 2021
Start Date
10 January 2020
Completion Date
10 January 2030

Action Implemented

After World Urban Forum 10, we at Think City have re-organised around six key flagships that aim to scale our SDG impact across Malaysia. Our flagships are focused on developing SDG Cities (linked to a UN-Habitat initiative), culture-based urban regeneration, climate resilience, social resilience, urban data analytics, and knowledge and capacity-building. We have progressively aligned our organisation with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of our pivot to become a key urban SDG delivery partner in Southeast Asia. We are at the design stage and plan to develop a framework to measure our internal and external SDG impact.

Outcomes and Expected Impact

Think City has proposed the establishment of an internal impact committee to drive our pivot towards SDG alignment. Some potential outputs from the committee include SDG awareness training for staff, a data gathering methodology, and tailored project indicators. We also expect to create large-scale impact through our new flagships and projects, such as building an SDG zone in the north of Malaysia, promoting Kuala Lumpur’s cultural economy, and implementing nature-based climate adaptation in cities. A preliminary assessment amongst our internal flagship leads found that Think City’s projects most aligned with SDG 9, 10, 11, 13, and 14.

Sustainability and Scalability

The preliminary assessment provides us a basis to assess the gaps in our internal alignment and develop a larger-scale framework that can be embedded into our organisation’s decision-making process and operations. This would set a precedent to ensure all our projects are SDGs-aligned and have potentially scalable impact. For example, we are piloting a smartphone application to increase the access of low-income households to basic resources. If successful, we hope to reach additional households across the nation. By creating a framework to monitor our SDG impact, we hope to inspire other organisations to pursue SDG impact creation and greater accountability.

Innovative and Cultural Aspects

As a think-and-do-tank, a key part of Think City’s pivot towards the SDGs will entail creating innovative solutions to urban challenges. We are currently exploring a wide range of projects, from a finance mechanism to promote urban greening to a digital platform that matchmakes investors to sustainable city projects. Through our culture-based urban regeneration flagship, we also leverage Malaysia’s diverse local culture and communities to catalyse urban rejuvenation. This can range from community-based public realm improvements, grants programmes, to the conservation of heritage assets. Our pivot places emphasis on developing self-sustaining projects to achieve sustained, long-term impact.

Lessons Learned

Early observations have identified a need to foster greater collective understanding on the SDGs within the Think City team, as well as with external partners. Establishing a common understanding on the goals would facilitate better buy-in, reduce the challenge of stakeholders with clashing agendas, and create more effective change through collective action. It is also critical to embed a degree of flexibility in the SDG assessment framework and metrics to tailor for different project circumstances. Similarly, we emphasise the importance of thinking creatively to plug any data gaps that hinder measuring our SDG achievement.

Social Inclusion

One of Think City’s main aims is fostering inclusive cities. We take a people-centric approach to create inclusive solutions that empower and benefit local communities. This includes undertaking on-the-ground stakeholder engagements to better understand urban challenges and localise our SDG targets with detailed indicators. Our social resilience flagship is focused on strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities, particularly low-income groups in public housing. Additionally, we plan to conduct an internal in-depth assessment on Think City’s alignment with SDG 5: Gender equality, SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth, and SDG 10: Reduced inequalities, to identify opportunities for improvement.

Key Dates

Start year: 2020

Title of outcome document

Abu Dhabi Declared Actions

Associated with the Outcome Document

The Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum

Name of Organization

Think City

Focal Point

Name : Natalie Oh

Type of Organization


Initiative Location

Region : Asia and the Pacific

Your initiative is contributing to

Make Cities Resilient by 2030

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

New Urban Agenda Commitments

Sustainable Urban Development for Social Inclusion and Ending Poverty

Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Prosperity and Opportunities for All

Environmentally Sustainable and Resilient Urban Development

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