Cities change every day, but as urbanization accelerates, incremental change is not enough to put cities on track for sustainability, equity and prosperity. In many places, we need transformation. From our work around the world, we know significant, positive, lasting change is possible. But too often these efforts are not celebrated for their achievements. 

The WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities is the premier global award celebrating and spotlighting transformative urban change. The Prize for Cities seeks to inspire urban change-makers by elevating trailblazing initiatives and telling impactful stories of sustainable urban transformation.

Businesses, NGOs, community groups, local governments and collaborations of all types of organizations and individuals from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors are welcome to apply.

Explore Submissions to the 2020-2021 Prize for Cities

One grand prize winner receives a cash prize of $250,000. Four runners-up receive $25,000 each.

The grand prize winner is selected by an independent jury of leading urban visionaries and practitioners from a shortlist of finalists. This shortlist is the result of a multi-round evaluation in which submissions are assessed according to set criteria and a rating scale by WRI’s evaluation team.

Each received submission goes through an initial screening process that assesses completeness and whether the submission meets basic criteria for consideration. Responsive submissions are passed on to an evaluation team of WRI’s global experts. Evaluators apply criteria and a rating scale according to evidence of big ideas, deep impact, and ripple effects that extend to the entire city and beyond. Evaluators also apply a qualitative lens to assess submissions based on their responsiveness to the cycle’s theme. The methodology was developed specifically for the Prize for Cities.

Five finalists are selected based on a deep understanding of the transformative impact of the initiatives and teams behind the submissions. In the months following the finalist selection, WRI evaluators speak to project teams, partners, residents, businesses and other organizations and experts to validate the transformation on the ground.

Our independent jury of leaders in architecture, community empowerment, development, finance, mobility and real estate select one of the finalists to be elevated as the grand prize winner. Rooted in our desire to inspire change and connect with the world we live in, we ask them to consider which of the finalists resonates most with them, as a symbol of transformative possibility right now.