Green Economies and Infrastructure

Photo of woman staring at windmill, wearing high visibility jacket and hard hat

SDDirect provides cutting edge expertise in the delivery of inclusive cities and infrastructure. We believe that cities and infrastructure that work for everyone are an essential part of inclusive economic development and sustainable investing. Cities and infrastructure are drivers of national economies, critical to people’s health and well-being and crucial in tackling climate change. Harnessing the economic benefits of cities and infrastructure through inclusive design, planning, delivery and governance can be a game changer for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and ensuring cities work for everyone, building resilience and supporting citizens to adapt. 

Not everyone shares equally in the benefits of urban living or infrastructure development. Diverse people are affected differently by urban and infrastructure development, on account of gender, age, ability, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status and other intersecting identities. When investments or programmes do not account for this, they can create barriers to excluded groups, exacerbating exclusion, reinforcing existing inequalities, and undermining sustainability.  

SDDirect supports partners in the design and provision of critical infrastructure and urban development to help ensure opportunities and benefits of cities and infrastructure are broad-based - to girls, women, socially excluded and disadvantaged groups and not just the better off.  

Our approach includes technical guidance, research and analysis, institutional strengthening, gender and inclusion mainstreaming and programme design that:  

  • Amplifies the voice of urban citizens and communities to influence the design of cities and infrastructure through participatory approaches. 
  • Shapes institutional change required for partners and clients to deliver more inclusive cities and infrastructure in the long-term 
  • Strengthens the accessibility and impact of urban and infrastructure programmes for communities including excluded groups 
  • Enhances the sustainability of investments to provide better returns; reduce risks; and enhance positive social and environmental outcomes for communities, governments, and businesses 
  • Catalyses impact on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment through the built environment

If you would like to hear more about our work on Green Economies and Infrastructure, please reach out to Chris Hearle, Senior Technical Specialist in Governance and Inclusive Societies, at

Economic costs of discrimination against LGBTQI+ people

As a gay man in my thirties, I often wonder whether my sexual orientation has hindered my career at any point. I can remember being forced to come out on a work trip, a colleague commenting how I am “different” to other men, and a manager remarking on how my clothes are feminine. But have these attitudes and behaviour had any effect on my productivity and the economic output of the countries I have lived and worked in?