Smart Cities 229

Smart Cities Challenge: the innovators of the net zero future

45 projects selected for the final of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge intended to improve life in cities by aiming at the net zero goal

The program was launched by Un-Habitat and Viable Cities to accelerate the transition to net zero climate neutrality

( – The 45 finalist projects of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge have been announced , the challenge that exploits the creativity of innovators to guide cities towards achieving the Net zero energy and emission objectives.

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The project was launched by Un-Habitat in collaboration with the Swedish Viable Cities and attracted over 200 proposals.

The idea is to involve companies, start-ups, SMEs and organizations in proposing concrete projects that can be applied in the real world in multiple sectors: such as the protection of biodiversity, social justice, health, safety, employment. , efficient homes and much more.

” Cities and communities are central to realizing the climate transition, which is why initiatives such as the Climate Smart Cities Challenge are key to contributing to climate neutrality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through innovative solutions, ” said Darja Isaksson , director general of Vinnova – Swedish Innovation Agency.

The challenges of the innovators of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge

The project has made it possible to develop a real portfolio of innovative solutions which, in the next stages of development, will create a joint venture between all the winners to share information, successes and problems.

Before being included in the shortlist, the participants were evaluated according to three criteria :

  • the ability to apply the solution in the real world;
  • whether they are suitable for joining a research team;
  • if they have the potential to have a global impact.

The solutions proposed by the innovators faced specific challenges in 4 cities: Bogota, Bristol, Curitiba and Makindye Ssabagabo .

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It is vital to rethink the way we design, manage and plan our cities to enable them to function in a way that contributes to the goal of a carbon-free world ,” said the executive director of UN-Habitat . Maimunah Mohd Sharif.

The objectives of the projects city by city

BOGOTA ‘, Colombia

Improve the mobility of goods and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants due to traffic congestion. More than 67,000 trucks and vans clog the city center every day, emitting up to 850,000 tons of CO2.

“We are very grateful to all those who participated in this important challenge for Bogota. Without doubt, the selected proposals will help to achieve a more intelligent management of freight transport, to continue to reduce the environmental impact of the city ”. Carolina Urrutia Vásquez, Bogota’s Environment Secretary, said.

BRISTOL, United Kingdom

Contribute to the creation of a new model for the provision of affordable, zero-carbon homes. The city’s goal is to develop 24,000 new, affordable, zero-emission homes by 2050.


Create new neighborhoods net zero emissions to reach the carbon neutral goal by 2050. Multiple challenges to be faced, including energy, transport, waste management and housing.


Propose solutions to develop zero-emission, energy-efficient and affordable homes. As one of the fastest growing cities in the Kampala area, the city faces a severe housing shortage and an incredible burden of emissions from inadequate housing.

From theory to practice

In the coming months, the finalists will have the opportunity to work closely with the cities concerned, developing the best strategies for the city context and to guarantee a net zero goal. In June 2022 , the 4 winners of the Challenge will be announced at the World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland . Each team will be entitled to a € 400,000 prize to develop the solutions proposed in the cities starting from 2023.

The goal is obviously to create a wealth of possibilities to be extended to all cities globally, helping each other to achieve climate neutrality and net zero energy.

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