109 Ideas to Improve 21 Cities (and 5 of our Favourites)


This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)

Things are hotting up with the Living Labs Global Award 2012, with their shortlist of 109 potentially transformative ideas for 21 cities announced yesterday. Living Labs Global is a non-profit located in Barcelona and Copenhagen, and their annual awards aims to reward ‘companies and organizations that have developed solutions that add high value to users in cities around the world’.

This Big City is thrilled to be partnering with the event, and the shortlist certainly has something for everyone. A total of 555 entries were received from 55 different countries, with the 109 shortlisted ideas covering areas such as ‘Affordable Housing, Prevention of Obesity, Transport & Mobility, Tourism, Access to the Knowledge Society and Inclusive Governance’.

The complete shortlist is well worth checking out, but if you’re pressed for time here’s 5 of our favourites:

SmartFloor: Cities waste an incredible amount of energy everyday, and not just through inefficient buildings and transportation. Pedestrian and vehicular movement generates energy which most cities are yet to harness, something SmartFloor is hoping to address with ‘a combination of innovative mechanical energy transfer and piezoelectric thin film sandwich’. Got it? No?! Basically it turns movement into energy.

Green Alley Programme: Originating from Chicago, this programme ‘showcases innovative environmental technologies to help manage stormwater, mitigate the urban heat island effect, promote recycling, and conserve energy’. After developing a pervious paving material and training local construction workers in how to use it, Chicago introduced 2,114 miles of this revolutionary system across the city.

Open Source Ecology: Sustainable civilisation with modern comforts? This entry is for ‘a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines’ required to achieve just that. But the goal goes beyond the built environment, aiming to ‘create the next economy, an open source economy’.

E-cube: Ever considered building your own sustainable home but put off by the logistics? This ‘affordable DIY kit for the zero energy house can be assembled on site without special skills or tools’. In addition to making housing more sustainable this idea aims to reduce dependency on financial institutions by making home ownership more affordable.

MindMixer: We’ve written about mindmixer.com on This Big City, and it’s great to see them shortlisted. This web-based Town Hall aims to ’empower citizens to engage, inform and collaborate with government officials’, providing a web platform to supplement traditional outreach methods without adding too much to the workload of government staff.

Check out these 5 ideas and 104 more right here.

Image courtesy of TJJ on flickr

  • http://beingwhereweare.blogspot.com/ Stephanie

    The link in the last one is wrong…someone forgot the ‘n’

    • http://www.thisbigcity.net Joe Peach

      Thanks Stephanie. Fixed!