Third cycle of premier urban prize will award $350,000 to global projects demonstrating how cities can thrive in turbulent times

WASHINGTON (October 31, 2021)—World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities has launched the third cycle of the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities, a global competition celebrating and spotlighting transformative urban change. The announcement comes on World Cities Day, a global occasion to mark efforts in advancing opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization around the world. Applications are now being accepted for the Prize for Cities, which will award $250,000 to one winner and $25,000 each to four runners-up. 

Recognizing the confluence of challenges with COVID-19 recovery, climate change and growing urban inequality, WRI invites submissions on the theme of “Thriving Together in Turbulent Times,” welcoming the opportunity to showcase outstanding projects and urban leaders spearheading citywide transformations in response to these challenges. Applicants should apply here by February 15, 2022.

“We are inviting submissions that think creatively about how and what cities can learn from different types of crises, challenges, and disruptions,” said Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO at World Resources Institute. “We are not just asking for responses to the COVID-19 pandemic – we seek projects that are helping cities adapt, save lives and lift up vulnerable populations now and in the future. We want to highlight the best solutions to create accessible, low-carbon and healthy communities while leaving no one behind.”

Innovative initiatives and projects that have responded to a range of economic, climate and social disruptions to create more equitable, resilient and healthy cities are encouraged to apply, including all types of organizations and individuals from public, private and not-for-profit sectors. 

Previous grand prize winners have demonstrated the vision, coalition-building and perseverance that are key to sustaining change and amplifying lessons learned. The 2020-2021 grand prize was awarded to Sustainable Food Production for a Resilient Rosario, a far-reaching urban agriculture program from the municipality of Rosario, Argentina. In 2019, the inaugural Prize for Cities was awarded to SARSAI, a program of the non-profit Amend, for its highly impactful and replicable approach to creating safer journeys to school for children in Dar es Salaam and other African cities.

“The Prize sets a very high bar by looking for projects and initiatives impacting communities locally as well as igniting change at the level of the city,” said Anne Maassen, Global Lead for the Prize for Cities. “In addition to inspiring others to become urban changemakers in their own right, WRI is also hoping to build a space to share insights about what makes projects and initiatives work, and to connect thinkers and practitioners to people so they can share practical approaches, knowledge and tools to transform cities.”

An international and multi-disciplinary evaluation team from across the WRI Ross Center network will select five finalists in June 2022. Criteria include the extent to which submissions demonstrate innovative ideas and novel approaches; impact on people’s lives, mindsets and behaviors, and those of the communities they live in; and impact on institutions within and beyond the city. A distinguished and independent jury of urban leaders and experts will then select one grand prizewinner, to be announced in December 2022. 

Jury members include Majora Carter, CEO of the Majora Carter Group, LLC; Lord Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman at Foster + Partners; Frannie Léautier, Senior Partner at SouthBridge Group and CEO of SouthBridge Investments; Rahul Mehrotra, Founder Principal of RMA Architects; Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme; Sheela Patel, Founder and Director of the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers; Martha Delgado Peralta, Deputy Secretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights in Mexico; Steve Strongin, Senior Advisor at Goldman Sachs; and Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Jury Chairman Stephen M. Ross, founder of Related Companies and a WRI Board Director, sponsors the Prize for Cities.

To learn more about the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities, including how to submit applications and support the Prize, visit


About World Resources Institute 
World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries, with international offices in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, regional offices in Ethiopia (for Africa) and the Netherlands (for Europe), and program offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Our more than 1,400 experts and staff turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. More information at or on Twitter @WorldResources.

About WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities helps create accessible, equitable, healthy and resilient urban areas for people, businesses and the environment to thrive. Together with partners, it enables more connected, compact and coordinated cities. The Center expands the transport and urban development expertise of the EMBARQ network to catalyze innovative solutions in other sectors, including water, buildings, land use and energy. It combines the research excellence of WRI with 15 years of on-the-ground impact through a network of more than 250 experts working from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey to make cities around the world better places to live. More information at