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
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 ...
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Eskişehir, Turkey, Leads on Energy-Efficient Buildings
A city without buildings is simply not a city. And yet when it comes to climate action, buildings tend to take a back seat to transport, energy production and industry. Making buildings more energy-efficient is the cheapest way to reduce ...
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 ...
Urban Transformations: In Tanzania’s Capital, Safer Children Mean Better Neighborhoods
Urban Transformations: In Tanzania’s Capital, Safer Children Mean Better Neighborhoods
 SARSAI is a finalist for the WRI Ross Prize for Cities. Chaos often reigns on the streets of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital. Minivans, cars and motorcycles careen along half-finished roads without markings, sidewalks or traffic lights. Pedestrians walk ...
Urban Transformations: The Reinvention of Eskişehir, Turkey from Dump to Destination
Urban Transformations: The Reinvention of Eskişehir, Turkey from Dump to Destination
Eskişehir Urban Development Project is a finalist for the WRI Ross Prize for Cities. Many cities are looking for a new future after the decline of traditional manufacturing industries. From the American Rust Belt to Europe’s industrial heartlands, mayors are ...
Urban Transformations: In Pune, India, Waste Pickers Go from Trash to Treasure
Urban Transformations: In Pune, India, Waste Pickers Go from Trash to Treasure
 SWaCH is a finalist for the WRI Ross Prize for Cities. Pinky Sonawane spent her childhood gathering garbage on the streets of Pune, India. She’d join her mother in pulling plastic bottles, cans and cardboard from roadside dumpsters, selling ...
Urban Transformations: In Medellín, Metrocable Connects People in More Ways Than One
Urban Transformations: In Medellín, Metrocable Connects People in More Ways Than One
 Metrocable is a finalist for the WRI Ross Prize for Cities. Medellín, Colombia, used to be the murder capital of the world. With the explosion of the global drug trade in the 1980s, crime burgeoned, plunging the city into ...
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Informal Workers Are Vital to Cities, ‘Legitimate Actors,’ Says Martha Chen
Illegal. Criminal. A drag on the economy. These are just a few of the derisive labels that beleaguer urban informal workers, says Martha Chen, co-founder of and senior advisor to Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing. Informal workers – ...
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