KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (February 11, 2018) — Today, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities opened the application process for the “WRI Ross Prize for Cities,” a global competition to identify and celebrate transformative urban projects. The prize is the vision of business leader and philanthropist Stephen M. Ross. The Ross Prize will award $250,000 to a high-impact project that has yet to achieve the recognition it deserves for changing a city.
The Ross Prize will accept applications for urban projects that have catalyzed positive change in cities: spurring growth, improving air quality, innovating in public transit, connecting underserved communities to urban services, and inspiring other cities around the world. A key element of the Ross Prize is to understand and learn from transformative projects that are not yet well known. Comparable projects that have already received significant international recognition include: New York City’s High Line Park; Bogotá, Colombia’s CicloRuta bike path; Seoul, South Korea’s Cheonggyecheon Riverwalk; and Medellín, Colombia’s Metrocable.
“The WRI Ross Prize will celebrate high-impact initiatives that have helped to transform cities’ environmental, social, and economic fabric, and encourage others to learn from them, replicate their success and amplify the positive impact of the efforts,” said Stephen M. Ross, Chairman and Founder, Related Companies, and World Resources Institute board member. “There are so many worthy and innovative initiatives underway all around the globe and we are excited by the potential to ignite change and inspire others with their ideas and achievements.”
The announcement comes during the 9th session of the United Nations World Urban Forum, where leaders, civil society and urban development experts are gathered to discuss implementation of the New Urban Agenda. An advisory group made up of urban experts and practitioners from around the world will nominate projects and a distinguished group of jurors will determine the winner. Finalists will be identified by the fall of 2018 and the winner celebrated at a gala event in New York City in April 2019.
“People change cities every day. They build houses, businesses, and infrastructure. They occupy and alter sidewalks, parks, and public spaces. They plant trees and pave fields, altering the underlying landscape. Often these changes are incremental; once in while they are transformative, changing the city for the better. The WRI Ross Prize will help us find, celebrate, and showcase initiatives that have created ripple effects on social, economic, and environmental outcomes well beyond the places and times in which they started,” said Ani Dasgupta, Global Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.
"Cities offer great opportunities for as well as risks to sustainable development goals. Seizing urbanization’s potential will require cities to innovate, adapt, and evolve quickly, harnessing public, private, and community forces for change. We hope that the prize will help us identify more examples of transformative change to learn from and ultimately grow,” said Jessica Seddon, Director, Integrated Urban Strategy, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.