Recognising Urban Ingenuity Across the Globe


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Today, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. The explosive growth of urban communities is one of the most significant demographic trends of the 21st century. It also challenges governments, companies, organisations and individuals to provide the services and amenities to make modern cities work. The 2013 FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards: Urban Ideas in Action programme aims to discover and promote the most ingenious ideas, inventions and innovations that help ensure cities remain centres of creativity and progress.

With more than 3.6bn people currently living in urban areas – a number expected to exceed 6bn by 2050, according to the United Nations – cities, their leaders, and inhabitants will have to find new ways to thrive. The competitiveness and vitality of the world’s cities depends on the decisions and innovations of all urban stakeholders, from citizens and communities to organisations, corporations and municipalities. This global programme was developed by the FT and Citi, in collaboration with INSEAD, to recognize those promoting urban progress.

In 2012, the Awards featured a broad global representation, with 160 applications from over 40 countries. Category winners were announced at a gala dinner in New York  in the fields of Energy, Education, Infrastructure and Healthcare.

Winning in the Energy category was the Community Cooker – an innovative and practical waste-burning stove, with tremendous potential for environmental, economic and social change in low resource environments. It operates on a simple principle: young locals collect rubbish, which is burned in the cooker at high temperature levels. The heat generated is used for cooking, sterilizing and industrial purposes.

College Possible won the Education category. Creating a vital support network, College Possible helps ensure that low-income students achieve a post secondary degree and break the cycle of multi generational poverty, enabling them to have a positive impact on the success of their urban communities.

Winning the Infrastructure category was the Vélib’ project. Launched by JCDecaux, Vélib’ put cycling at the heart of urban mobility, making self-service bicycle systems an important complement to public transport. The concept is based on three core principles; developing a system that is easy to use, available everywhere and affordable.

The GlaxoSmithKlein New Citizen Health Care Project won the Healthcare category, and is an innovative 100-square metre urban centre designed to integrate migrant populations into city life through the delivery of community health promotion, healthcare education and health services. Launched in 2009 in Sanlin Town, Shanghai, the centre is largely operated by professionals and volunteers from migrant farming families.Ro

In 2013, the FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards will recognise urban ingenuity in a wide range of areas — from city administration, transport systems, energy and utilities, education and resource management, to housing, health, public safety, social services, mobile technologies and community engagement. To be considered, solutions should:

  • Have been implemented between 2007 and 2012
  • Address a serious social, economic, environmental or health-related challenge
  • Improve the quality of urban life

Submissions will be accepted online from January 28, 2013 to March 31, 2013. Winners will be chosen by region and a global winner will be announced at an awards dinner in New York in December 2013.

For more information on the Awards and to apply online, visit If you would like to nominate an organisation or individual for the Awards, contact [email protected]