When we talk about cities, most of the things which come in our minds are negative. Things like pollution, traffic, unhealthy lifestyle and street riots contributes more towards our negative mindset. The WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit organization that encourages solutions to generate more prosperous, livable cities, took the initiative to change that mindset.
In early 2018, the center launched a worldwide contest to acknowledge the city projects which was considered accurately transformative by their staff. The center announced a prize of $250,000 for the cities which will transform its lifestyle in a better way. In a statement made by Jessica Seddon, director of integrated urban strategy at the center, she said that "We wanted to make a bold statement to award people who had really stuck their neck out there”.
200 applications from 41 countries moved in. In April 2019, the center will announce the winners. On December 12, projects in these five cities were called off as finalists.
· Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Reports from WRI Ross center for sustainable cities said that, a child in Sub-Saharan Africa is twice as likely to die in a road crash as a child in any other region of the world. With such a small amount of vehicle percentage i.e. 2%, the region accounts for an astounding 16 percent of the world’s total road deaths.
Amend, a nonprofit organization in Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique, is functioning upon to deal with these problems. They have initiated School Area Road Safety Assessments and improvement programs, Or SARSAI, where they united with local administration to advance the existing roadside infrastructure and student behavior. Amend’s outcomes are most visible in Dar es Salaam, where it has worked in 30 high-risk school areas to diminish rates of road deaths and injuries.
· Durban, South Africa
With thousands of footfall on Durban’s Warwick Junction. Many of the area’s vendors and informal workers are often excluded from the public space and public policies.
To privatize the area, a non-profit organization named Asiye eTafuleni, helped the informal vendors to become more involved in the municipal decision-making process, so that they would get benefit from the development of Warwick Junction. “It illustrated a way in which the market core of cities could remain open to smaller vendors and smaller traders even as the rest of the city increases its connectivity to the world and ‘modernizes,’” Seddon said.
· Eskisehir, Turkey
Eskisehir is a city which is located in the hills south of Istanbul, which has struggled in the past with blockage and a contaminated river known as Porsuk. The Eskisehir Metropolitan Municipality, which shaped the Eskisehir Urban Development Project to refurbish the river, created a series of parks alongside the river banks and incorporated the changes with a whole new electric tram network.
“The river went from being one of the most contaminated rivers in Europe to something that has been used for leisure and has green spaces down the edge of it,” Seddon said.
· Medellin, Colombia
Medellin is a city, which has expanded along the sides of the Aburra valley, the poor hillside neighborhoods has enabled them to be geographically, socially and economically isolated from the city center. Many residents had difficulties in commuting into the cities as well.
To bridge these openings, Medellin in 2004, formed the world’s first aerial cable car lines synchronizing directly with the public transport system. By linking the cable cars to subway, bus and bike stations, the city facilitated its residents to travel above congested and dangerous streets, instantaneously cutting commute times.
· Pune, India
A city situated in the western part of India, where the waste pickers were often considered as one of the most marginalized residents, who operated under a very informal status and struggled to make a livelihood. But, a group of 3000 waste pickers in the city has worked to give these people, a sense of stability.
SWaCH Pune Seva Sahakari Sanstha – India's first worker-owned waste-pickers cooperative – has recognized a formal contract with the city that allows it to provide waste collection services while providing secure paychecks to its members. “It gave people jobs they could depend on, extended health care coverage, and took the arrangement that had been efficient but hard for those doing the work and made it into a more ordered, standard source of employment,” Seddon said.