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RELEASE: Distinguished Jury for First ‘WRI Ross Prize for Cities’ Announced to Identify and Reward Transformative Urban Projects

Sir David Adjaye, Lord Norman Foster, Jean Liu, Rahul Mehrotra, Yousef Al Otaiba, Sheela Patel, Marinela Servitje, Steve Strongin, and Jim Umpleby join Stephen M. Ross on jury

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2018) — Nine distinguished urban leaders from diverse backgrounds and geographies joined Chairman Stephen M. Ross on the jury of the WRI Ross Prize for Cities today, lending decades of experience in architecture, business and social advocacy to the competition’s inaugural search.

“This is an extraordinary group of individuals who have accomplished a great deal for cities,” said Stephen M. Ross, chairman and founder of Related Companies. “Their expertise and knowledge will help us find projects around the world that are making an outsized impact.”

The WRI Ross Prize for Cities will award $250,000 to an initiative that has created transformative change toward more sustainable cities but has yet to achieve wide recognition. “Our aim is to help people understand that transformative change in cities is possible, learn from such initiatives in action, and honor the entrepreneurial teams who have who have had such an impact on their cities,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO at World Resources Institute.

WRI is currently accepting applications from individuals and groups, from the public and private sector, and from civil society. The deadline for applications is June 30, 2018.

“This prize will help find some of the most innovative projects for transforming cities into systems that work for more people,” said Jim Umpleby, chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of Caterpillar Inc. “When people’s basic needs are met, they can more effectively pursue economic and educational opportunities, creating paths to prosperity for an entire city.”

“The projects recognized through this prize are a living example of a fundamental idea my father instilled in me from a very young age: we must always use our energy, resources, ideas, and time for the public good,” said Marinela Servitje, president of Sietecolores: Interactive Ideas. “By materializing creative solutions that allow our cities to become more sustainable every day, we are also taking a step forward in making sure that every single person's right to a full life is met.”

“Technology brings us a tremendous opportunity to rethink the approaches to solving urban transportation and environment challenges,” said Jean Liu, president of Didi Chuxing. “Smart transportation, for example, is changing the way we move around, use our cars, and even design our cities for generations to come. But we will only be able to achieve this goal if we work together. Collective thinking and public-private collaboration are key to success.”

While the application is open for all, a global Advisory Council of urban practitioners has also recommended projects to be invited to apply. An international team from across the WRI Ross Center network will select five finalists in October 2018 for further evaluation and work with them to produce video and other documentation about the transformative changes they have catalyzed. The jury will select a winner from among these and a single winner will be announced in April 2019.

The winner will be chosen based on the transformative nature of the project – the impact beyond the initial project area, leveraging of additional resources, and ultimately whether it changed people’s sense of what’s possible in cities.

“As cities face continuing pressure to provide for growing populations, whilst reducing the environmental side effects of this growth, it is an opportune time to investigate new, innovative and transformational design solutions,” said Sir David Adjaye, founder and principal architect of Adjaye Associates. “Over the next 30 years the construction opportunities for cities, new and old, is tremendous; the vision of what those buildings, neighborhoods and infrastructure will look like is up to us.”

“Cities change all the time, but once in a while a project sparks a bigger change,” said Ani Dasgupta, global director of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. “We need to do more with less, which makes projects that create ripple effects for social, economic, and environmental outcomes so important.”

“The WRI Ross Prize for Cities is an important initiative that highlights and celebrates innovative projects that have sparked transformative change in urban environments across the globe, giving them the recognition they deserve,” said Lord Norman Foster, founder and executive chairman of Foster + Partners. “The future of society is inextricably linked with the future of cities.”

To learn more about the WRI Ross Prize for Cities, including how to submit applications and support the prize, visit wrirossprize.org.

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