Water & Environment

Guiding the Development of Sustainable Cities

Jonathan Dickinson has joined WSP USA as a practice leader focusing on sustainable cities.

“In my new role, I am working with cities to develop and implement strategies to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions and to make them more resilient to projected climate change impacts,” Dickinson said.

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Jonathan Dickinson

Dickinson, who works in the New York City office for the sustainability and energy team within the water and environment practice, is collaborating with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to develop a tool that will help cities to identify interactions—both positive and negative—between existing or prospective climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a network of the world’s largest cities that are committed to taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase their resiliency to projected climate change effects.

“This is a global project that involves working with our WSP colleagues in the UK, South Africa, and Australia to support pilot cities participating in this project,” he said.

Dickinson said the goal is to provide city leadership with information that will enable them to make informed choices that will have a lasting and beneficial impact on the environment.

“These projects provide cities with the knowledge and resources they need to become more prosperous, livable, healthy, and resilient to the ever-increasing challenges they face,” he said. “Cities are leading the fight on climate change action, and it is incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to work with them in developing innovative solutions to complex problems.”

Taking the Lead

Dickinson believes cities hold the key to the success of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resiliency to future climate change impacts.

“I see an opportunity for cities to take the lead in sustainability, which they are doing in the U.S. and around the world,” he said. “The 2015 Paris Agreement created new demands for sub-national climate change action, and it is increasingly evident that the world needs to achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change effects.”

He said that since then, cities in the U.S. and around the globe have been prioritizing their efforts to combat climate change, and are looking to partners like WSP to help them make informed, efficient decisions best suited to their needs.

Sustainability Solutions

Originally from Warwick, Rhode Island, Dickinson earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Hobart College, and a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island. “While in college, I spent a semester as a student in the National Outdoor Leadership School,” he said. “This experience was transformative and led me to pursue a career in the environmental field.”

For 12 years, Dickinson served as a climate change advisor in New York City under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “I led the city’s greenhouse gas emissions measurement and reporting efforts, and worked to develop and implement the city’s climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives,” he said.

His goal is to build upon his work with New York City to introduce similar initiatives in other cities around the U.S. and the world.

“I would like to take advantage of the incredible talent throughout our organization to collaborate across sectors and build a leading sustainable cities offering that will deliver sustainability solutions to cities globally,” he said.

Dickinson, who joined WSP in August 2017, said he was impressed by the firm’s culture of collaboration and the breadth and depth of technical expertise, and decided it was a great place to continue his career.

“WSP is incredibly well positioned to meet the increased demand for climate change action from cities,” he said. “Our firm’s experience and expertise in all sectors – energy, buildings, transportation, water – allows us to develop and deliver comprehensive, innovative sustainability solutions to cities.”


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