Guangzhou Award finalists announced

26th September 2018 Jack Aldane

Finalists for the fourth Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation have been revealed.

The Guangzhou Award shortlist, announced at the workshop on Urban Innovation for the Local Implementation of Global Agendas in Indonesia, showcases 15 cities that stand to win awards for innovation after applications ended in August earlier this year. Initiatives under consideration include efforts to further city-to-city learning in service, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the New Urban Agenda.

The awards are established by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), World Association of the Major Metropolises (METROPOLIS) and the City of Guangzhou.

Nicholas You, urban specialist and director of the awards, told Cities Today: “What all the finalists have in common is that they all show how cities and regions are fulfilling a proactive role in the implementation of the Global Agendas–the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda in particular. Another very interesting observation is that cities are taking a holistic approach to ‘leaving no-one behind’ and are thus tackling several SDG targets at the same time.”

The finalists’ initiatives include:  

Santa Fe, Argentina: A community-led programme to manage the risk of flooding called the Western Urban Natural Reserve project. It aims to transform 142 hectares of reservoirs into a protected natural area that is also incorporated into a system of green public spaces.

Sydney, Australia: Green Square will be Australia’s largest urban renewal project to date. Supported by participating public and non-public stakeholders, it aims to be the most liveable, resilient, lively, walkable, accessible, sustainable and unique area of the city for the benefit of its estimated 61,000 residents.

Salvador, Brazil: Two linked projects to address environmental protection, remediation, reforestation, and education. Advanced by the SECIS Sustainable City and Innovation Secretary to address the vulnerable situation of one of the most sensitive biodiversity locations in the world currently threatened by growing urbanisation.

Repentigny, Canada: The Citizens and Families initiative connects citizens and municipal staff with information quickly and effectively, a key characteristic of a smart city. The Youth and Vulnerable People initiative focuses on providing access to digital technologies focusing on creativity and expression and assistance with basic needs.

Wuhan, China: Restoration of Jinkou Landfill and the polluted Zhanggong Dyke solved the ecological and urban problem that have troubled Wuhan for decades. This comprises a 50.5-kilometre ecological belt that reduces pollution and links up the once-polluted Zhanggong Dyke to provide an urban forest park for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Yiwu, China: A strategy to create a good business and living environment for both local and foreign residents to promote mutual understanding and a better sense of integration. Yiwu has taken the bold measure of improving the living environment for foreigners as the yardstick to measure its improvement in living environment for all residents.

Santa Ana, Costa Rica: The Santa Ana en Cleta project is dedicated to the empowerment of Santa Ana’s local population by teaching women how to ride a bike and how to use it as a means of transport. The initiative is considered a step towards the development of the Active and Sustainable Mobility programme for the city of Santa Ana.

Surabaya, Indonesia: The participatory 3R waste management programme gives residents the ability to pay for their transit needs in empty plastic bottles. It is hoped that the ongoing change process will eventually disincentivise the use of plastic bottles as the programme develops.

Milan, Italy: The Milan Food Policy is a planning strategy integrating and implementing a Food Cycle System throughout the city. The initiative is strongly linked to social goals of improving health and well-being of citizens and has generated more than 40 initiatives related to reuse, recycling waste food and reducing food miles.

Guadalajara, Mexico: Planning reform made into an institute called IMEPLAN (Metropolitan Institute of Planning), is the first one of its kind for Mexico. IMEPLAN aim is to engage its citizens, experts and municipalities to imagine, innovate and plan at a metropolitan scale.

Utrecht, Netherlands: The city is activating and cooperating with local stakeholders and connecting local initiatives and expertise with international developments. Utrecht is localising SDG indicators to measure and track its own public and private development performance.

Kazan, Russia: The Embracing Diversity initiative celebrates Kazan’s multi-cultural and multiethnic cultural heritage. The initiative ensures co-existence and tolerance to achieve peace and harmony, civil identity of minorities, and effective integration of migrants.

eThekwini, South Africa: More than 220,000 households in eThekwini live in informal settlements that suffer overcrowding and disasters including fires and floods and have poor access to water, sanitation, electricity and emergency access. The eThekwini municipality is implementing informal settlement upgrading and partnerships with the private sector to achieving sanitation solutions.

Mezitli, Turkey: The city’s ‘women’s-only market’ is free, which allows for entry easy for women who are typically dependent on finances controlled by males. The market of traditional handicrafts brings into one space women from different backgrounds and promotes exchange and gives mutual support that build women’s confidence.

New York, United States: The Global Vision l Urban Action makes New York the first city in the world to report directly to the United Nations on local progress in achieving the SDGs. Although some cities do report on local implementation of the SDGs as part of a national framework, the United States has thus far not submitted a Voluntary Local Review (VLR).

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