The 2014 World Cities Day Challenge: champion your city’s best idea

by Chris Michael for The Guardian

Guardian Cities and UN-Habitat want to hear one idea, pioneered by your city, that other cities should adopt. Could you be the person to represent your city?

Makoko Floating School
Groundbreaking … Kunlé Adeyemi’s floating school in Makoko, Lagos, Nigeria

This 31 October, it will be time to dress up, show off your best ideas and maybe even scare a few people. You guessed it: it’s the inaugural World Cities Day.

To celebrate the big event, Guardian Cities and UN-Habitat hereby announce the World Cities Day Challenge. They want to hear the best ideas from cities around the world – one idea, pioneered by your city, that other cities should adopt. And you could be the person to represent your city on the big day.

Every city has different ideas that make it great, from the first skyscrapers and metros in New York and London to more recent innovations like congestion charging, bike sharing, buried expressways or floating schools. What unique venture can your city boast to the rest of the world – something that would make a real difference to the lives of residents of other cities?

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If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the representative of your city’s best idea, the competition will pick one individual or group per city, who will each get their own slot on the Guardian Cities website to present their idea over the course of 31 October.

Readers worldwide will be able to follow from city to city, ask follow-up questions of the presenters and debate which ideas they like best. An expert panel including UN-Habitat representatives and Guardian Cities editors (and a few surprise special guests) will assess the presentations, and announce the winning city at the end of the day.

It doesn’t need to be your idea (though of course that’s fine, too!) – just one you think makes your city uniquely great. So whether you’re a school pupil or a mayor, a firm of architects or a solo inventor, don’t be shy: there is no restriction on who can volunteer, so long as you live or work in the city you represent and are available on 31 October to defend your city’s best idea in English.

Your big (or small) idea can be anything you like – a community initiative you started, a technical innovation someone else has invented, a groundbreaking building that just went up, a new green space you love … just so long as your city has already implemented it (or is in the process of doing so) and other cities could benefit from adopting it.

Just send a brief, 100-word outline of you and your city’s idea by Friday 26 September 2014; the city representatives will be selected by 30 September.


The High Line Park in New York.
Widely praised … the High Line Park, an aerial greenway built on a disused New York Central Railroad spur. Photograph: Richard Levine/Alamy

This article was originally published by The Guardian