The Center for Urban Transformation launches the challenge of urban innovation in eight fast-growing cities
- In partnership with Utopia, the Urban Innovation Challenge aims to activate an ecosystem of 800 innovative urban entrepreneurs, investors and mayors in eight global mega-cities of tomorrow to shape the next urban era
- The fastest growing cities in the world are found primarily in Asia, Africa and Latin America, with population booms that create both challenges and opportunities.
Detroit, United States, December 6, 2021 – The new edition of the World Economic Forum Urban transformation center today launched its first urban innovation challenge in partnership with Utopia, an innovation group focused on emerging cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
As part of this challenge, eight of the world’s fastest growing cities have designated neighborhoods to serve as urban testing grounds for new businesses, products and services that can improve the quality of life for local residents and mitigate the social and environmental challenges associated with rapid urbanization.
Participating cities include Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Dhaka, Jakarta, Kigali, Nairobi, Kigali and Rio de Janeiro.
Global judges will help determine the winners for each city. They are Iyinoluwa Aboyejii, general partner, Future Africa; Shin-pei Tsay, Director of Policy, Cities and Transportation, Uber; Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Sequoia; Jennifer Musisi, Head in Residence of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative; Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Airbnb; Tim Brown, President, IDEO; Shivani Siroya, Founder and CEO, Tala; and Prem Ramaswami, President, Urban Products, Sidewalk Labs.
In collaboration with IDEO, Urban Us and URBAN-X, the challenge will be accompanied by a three-month program of regular public events to build collective intelligence and bring together an imaginative community to explore urban futures. The winners will be announced in February 2022 with the participation of the mayors.
What leaders say about the Urban Innovation Challenge
“To revive the economy and accelerate sustainable urban development, we are collaborating with multiple stakeholders and believe that the Urban Innovation Challenge will foster an urban innovation ecosystem that will make Jakarta a liveable city,” said Anies Rasyid Baswedan, governor of Jakarta.
“Cities continue to be hubs for people around the world to come together, imagine and become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” said Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder and CSO of Airbnb. “The confusion of work, travel and life through remote work means that even more cities have a tremendous opportunity to emerge as hubs of innovation. “
“The way we shape our cities has a profound influence on all aspects of society and our impact on the planet,” said Tim Brown, President of IDEO. “The future demands that we radically change this impact, so it has never been more essential to innovate on a city scale. “
“My goal is to democratize technology and promote digital inclusion. This urban innovation challenge can help entrepreneurs in Dhaka leverage technology to solve the problems of people in underserved communities to rethink our city, ”said Sonia Bashir Kabir, vice president of SBK Tech Ventures.
“Much of Africa’s urban growth occurs over the next several decades. The Urban Innovation Challenge encourages young people across the continent to help build a better future for their cities, ”said Jennifer Musisi, lawyer and public administrator in Kampala. “Governments can see entrepreneurs as key allies in tackling complex challenges and improving their cities for the many people. “
“I fundamentally believe that the pursuit of sustainability and equity in cities is the first step in dealing with the looming climate crisis. By harnessing the power of urban innovation, we can have a positive impact on our planet, while radically improving the quality of life for all, starting with cities, ”said Prem Ramaswami, President of Urban Products, Sidewalk Labs .
“Lagos, the heart of Nigeria, the economic engine of West Africa and the start-up capital of Africa, is full of innovation potential largely driven by our incredible population of young people,” said said Babajide Sanwo-Olu, executive governor of Lagos. “Our participation in the Urban Innovation Challenge is a great opportunity to harness this potential, further underscoring our commitment to enable and strengthen this spirit of innovation to create transformative value in one of the densest cityscapes in the world. . “
“While there is a lot of talk about the pressing challenges of climate change and equity, cities can take action. City-wide innovation and creativity fundamentally shape the future and have the greatest chance of centering the people – who matter most – in the midst of it all, ”said Shin-pei Tsay, Director at Uber.