Five cities win urban innovation awards in Guangzhou

Guadalajara, Mezitli, Milan, New York City and Wuhan are the winners of this year’s Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation. The awards emphasize the importance of city-to-city learning.

Fifteen cities were shortlisted for the 2018 Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation and five were named winners at an award ceremony on 7 December: Wuhan, China; Milan, Italy; Guadalajara, Mexico; Mezitli, Turkey; and New York City, USA.

“Wuhan’s project gives us all hope for the future,” said Celia Wade-Brown, former mayor of Wellington, New Zealand, and chair of the seven-member jury. “They’ve taken a toxic urban environment and turned it into a flagship park,” she added, referring to the city’s $690-million restoration of one of Asia’s largest garbage dumps and a polluted dyke. The project serves as a model for how other cities can improve quality of life by transforming polluted landfills and waterways into parks, pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes, wrote the jury.

Milan received an award for its Milan Food Policy, an innovative planning strategy that seeks to make food production and consumption more sustainable at a local and regional level. Guadalajara won for its citizen-led metropolitan governance scheme, which is pursuing sustainable urban development and “has much to share with other rapidly urbanizing places”. Mezitli won for an initiative that promotes gender equality and financial independence by establishing markets for over 6000 women, including immigrants and refugees, to grow and sell their own food. New York City was recognized for connecting its own strategic vision, One NYC, to the Sustainable Developing Goals (SDGs).

Established in 2012, the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation encourages cities to learn from each other and collaborate directly to solve problems. The awards are co-sponsored by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Metropolis (the Metropolitan section of UCLG) and the city of Guangzhou. Each winning city receives $20,000.

Image credit: Majorantarktis via Wikimedia Commons

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