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
Paris' Vision for a '15-Minute City' Sparks a Global Movement
Paris’ Vision for a ’15-Minute City’ Sparks a Global Movement
Until just a few years ago, the right riverbank of the Seine in Paris was an urban highway used by over 40,000 vehicles every day. Despite being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the road was either heavily gridlocked during rush ...
Inclusive Design Creates a Safer Transportation System for All Residents of Peshawar, Pakistan
Inclusive Design Creates a Safer Transportation System for All Residents of Peshawar, Pakistan
For decades, the city of Peshawar, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northern Pakistan, has been rocked by wars and acts of terrorism that disrupted public safety and made it difficult to plan the city’s growth. A particularly challenging consequence ...
In Iloilo City, Philippines, an Inclusive Housing Program Protects Vulnerable Communities from Flood Risks
In Iloilo City, Philippines, an Inclusive Housing Program Protects Vulnerable Communities from Flood Risks
Aileen Monsale, a resident of Iloilo City, Philippines, lost her home in 2008 after devastating floods hit the low-lying city following Typhoon Fengshen – which many called a “storm of the century.” Like thousands of people in Iloilo City, her ...
An Innovative Jobs Program in Odisha, India Helped Informal Workers Through COVID-19 and Beyond
An Innovative Jobs Program in Odisha, India Helped Informal Workers Through COVID-19 and Beyond
When India’s federal government announced a public health lockdown on March 24, 2022 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it generated desperate scenes. Economic activity ground to a halt. Millions of migrant workers traveled back to their home states. In ...
In Barranquilla, Colombia, Urban Parks Revitalize a Declining City
In Barranquilla, Colombia, Urban Parks Revitalize a Declining City
Samira Perez, a longtime resident of Barranquilla, Colombia used to spend her time and money on taxis to take her children to local shopping malls after school and on the weekends. There, they would pass the time marveling at upscale ...
Podcast: Rogier van den Berg on the Prize for Cities and Urban Transformation
Podcast: Rogier van den Berg on the Prize for Cities and Urban Transformation
“You can’t resolve the climate crisis without resolving cities,” says Rogier van den Berg, acting global director at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, in a new podcast. Speaking with Kes McComick of the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics ...
Kids playing at a public park in Barranquilla, Colombia
5 Cities Show How to Thrive in Turbulent Times
History shows that when disasters and crises strike, cities often bounce back stronger and more resilient than before. The great Chicago fire famously gave rise to skyscrapers. Infectious disease outbreaks led to public health policies and modern sanitation. The devastation of World War II catalyzed unprecedented ...
Can Cities Thrive in Turbulent Times? 3 Questions for Cities in 2022
Can Cities Thrive in Turbulent Times? 3 Questions for Cities in 2022
Infectious disease outbreaks can have enduring influence on urban design and several have irrevocably shaped how modern cities feel and function. For example, parks, wide street design and even the home bathroom are all important legacies of cholera outbreaks; today, ...
Sparking Inclusive Urban Transformation in These Revolutionary Times
Sparking Inclusive Urban Transformation in These Revolutionary Times
Two years ago, I participated in the learning roundtable for the first cycle of the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities. I confess that my expectations were rather moderate, but that, to my surprise, I found it truly refreshing and ...
Inclusive Cities for a Changing Climate: Prize for Cities 2020-2021 Grand Prize Winner [PODCAST]
Inclusive Cities for a Changing Climate: Prize for Cities 2020-2021 Grand Prize Winner [PODCAST]
The WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities is the premier global award celebrating and spotlighting transformative urban change, and its $250,000 grand prize winner for 2020-21 has been announced: Sustainable Food Production for a Resilient Rosario, an urban agriculture project from ...
Rosario, Argentina Uses Urban Farming to Tackle Economic and Climate Crises
Rosario, Argentina Uses Urban Farming to Tackle Economic and Climate Crises
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sustainable Food Production for a Resilient Rosario won the 2020-2021 Prize for Cities on June 29, 2021. Learn more here. (June 29, 2021) The residents of Rosario, Argentina’s third-largest city, are no strangers to crises. When the country’s economy ...
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. ...
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