Urban Transformations
Urban Transformations

A series exploring urban change through the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities, the premier global award celebrating and spotlighting impactful stories of sustainable urban transformation. Learn more at prizeforcities.org.

WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities
How London Uses Road Fees to Tackle Air Pollution and Inequality
How London Uses Road Fees to Tackle Air Pollution and Inequality
Half a century ago, a lethal haze of smoke and fog, otherwise known as the Great Smog of 1952, covered London and killed as many as 12,000 people. More recently, in 2013, Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah died at the hands of air pollution. ...
5 Finalists Transforming Urban Spaces: The 2020-2021 Prize for Cities [PODCAST]
5 Finalists Transforming Urban Spaces: The 2020-2021 Prize for Cities [PODCAST]
The WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities is the premier global award celebrating and spotlighting transformative urban change. The five finalists for the $250,000 prize come from very different urban environments — in Kenya, Argentina, Mexico, India and the United ...
In Nairobi, Residents Redesign Public Spaces to Build Flood Resilience
In Nairobi, Residents Redesign Public Spaces to Build Flood Resilience
During Caroline Owala’s childhood, flooding during rainstorms was a normal occurrence. “When it rained, it would be very difficult for us to even sleep because the flooding would get into the houses,” she told WRI. Caroline grew up in Kibera, ...
In Monterrey, Mexico, a University’s Tragedy Sparks a Citywide Turnaround
In Monterrey, Mexico, a University’s Tragedy Sparks a Citywide Turnaround
Monterrey, like other major Mexican cities, rapidly expanded outward during the end of the 20th century. New policies favored investment in new suburban neighborhoods, attracting residents and businesses to the periphery, and provoking several decades of insecurity and population decline. ...
In Ahmedabad, India, Women Are Climate Leaders, Not Victims
In Ahmedabad, India, Women Are Climate Leaders, Not Victims
During the summers, in the crowded informal settlement she calls home in Ahmedabad, India, Meenaben would lay wet jute on the floor and hay on the roof of her home to lower the temperature inside. If she didn’t, her home ...
5 Big Ideas to Address the Climate Crisis and Inequality in Cities
5 Big Ideas to Address the Climate Crisis and Inequality in Cities
City life can be deeply unfair. This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic exposed just how differently the rich and poor are able to cope with lockdowns, from ability to work from home to access to green space. The pandemic’s ...
Street Transformations to Fight COVID-19: 3 Ways to Create Lasting Change
Street Transformations to Fight COVID-19: 3 Ways to Create Lasting Change
As the COVID-19 outbreak disrupts mobility worldwide, more and more cities are transforming their streets to increase space for walking and cycling and reduce car use during and after the pandemic. These changes are designed to help people get around ...
After the Crisis: How COVID-19 Can Drive Transformational Change in Cities
After the Crisis: How COVID-19 Can Drive Transformational Change in Cities
Across the world, from Wuhan to New York City, cities are on the frontline of the unfolding COVID-19 crisis. Starting with overwhelmed heath care systems, cities are experiencing unprecedented strain across social, economic and environmental systems as economies grind to ...
For People to Live and Thrive in a Changing Climate, Cities Need to Change – But How?
For People to Live and Thrive in a Changing Climate, Cities Need to Change – But How?
In the 21st century, a seemingly global prosperity masks an unequal distribution of benefits. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world’s cities, where extreme wealth can exist next door to concentrated poverty. In some cities, like those in South Africa, ...
4 Emerging Concepts That Could Transform Cities
4 Emerging Concepts That Could Transform Cities
Big ideas can forever alter the fate of cities when they are written into cement, steel and stone. When St. Petersburg, Russia, was created in 1703 by Peter the Great, he envisioned the new capital as an emblem of a modern ...
5 Things We Learned About Urban Transformation
5 Things We Learned About Urban Transformation
Positive change happens in cities, but it’s often lost in a sea of bad news about air pollution, rising costs of living, traffic jams and inequality. When we launched the WRI Ross Prize for Cities in February 2018, we aimed ...
Useful Knowledge and Building Blocks of Change: An Outside Perspective on the WRI Ross Prize
Useful Knowledge and Building Blocks of Change: An Outside Perspective on the WRI Ross Prize
Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in a day-long roundtable discussion with the five finalists for the WRI Ross Prize Cities, organized by WRI at the Ford Foundation in New York City. The roundtable followed the first-ever award ...
One Woman Saves Kids’ Lives by Redesigning the Roads They Walk: Q&A with Ayikai Poswayo
One Woman Saves Kids’ Lives by Redesigning the Roads They Walk: Q&A with Ayikai Poswayo
Some schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, see more than a dozen of their students injured or killed in road crashes every year. Haphazard development in the nation’s capital paired with a growing number of vehicles have created dangerous conditions ...
First-Ever WRI Ross Prize for Cities Awarded to SARSAI
First-Ever WRI Ross Prize for Cities Awarded to SARSAI
The inaugural WRI Ross Prize for Cities, a $250,000 award celebrating and spotlighting urban transformation, was awarded to SARSAI on Wednesday for its incisive, easily replicable and highly impactful approach to creating safer journeys to school for children in Dar es Salaam ...
Urban Transformations: In Durban, Informal Workers Design Marketplaces Instead of Getting Displaced by Them
Urban Transformations: In Durban, Informal Workers Design Marketplaces Instead of Getting Displaced by Them
Warwick Junction is a finalist for the WRI Ross Prize for Cities. Warwick Junction’s maze of stalls, arches and bridges can elicit wonder in any first-time visitor to South Africa’s largest marketplace. The area’s nine distinct markets are wedged between ...
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