• Students Reinventing Cities, C40’s global design competition for young people, launched its third edition
  • Participating cities include Addis Ababa, Amman, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Curitiba, Freetown, Guadalajara, Johannesburg, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Rome, Salvador, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Toronto and Wuhan
  • Students interested in learning more should join a C40 webinar on 12 December

Students Reinventing Cities, C40’s global competition harnessing the power of youth to reimagine urban areas, launched its third edition today. Young people across the globe are invited to develop ideas for cities to create green and thriving neighbourhoods that improve quality of life.

This year, 17 world-leading cities – Addis Ababa, Amman, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Curitiba, Freetown, Guadalajara, Johannesburg, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Rome, Salvador, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Toronto and Wuhan – are seeking design solutions from young people to build a greener, more inclusive urban future.

Areas of focus include design for a transit-oriented community in Toronto, a zero-carbon neighbourhood in Wuhan, affordable housing and social integration in Salvador, accessible mixed-use commercial hubs in Barcelona and London, repurposing an abandoned prison in Los Angeles, and integrating the 15-minute neighbourhood concept in Guadalajara and Curitiba.

Students Reinventing Cities has already engaged thousands of young people across more than 200 universities around the globe, building momentum for people-centred and climate-resilient planning while training the next generation of professionals on sustainable and inclusive practices.

Melissa Grazielle de Araújo, winner of the 2022/23 competition in São Paulo, Brazil, said: “It’s so important for us, young people, to have a say in how cities are designed. We have so many fresh ideas. The best thing was being able to propose a project that we actually believe in, that we need, because it’s the city that we hope to have in the future.”

The competition is seeking design solutions from multidisciplinary teams that bring together a range of expertise, and exhibit passion and understanding for climate action. Winning teams will receive global media coverage and opportunities to present their projects to city leaders, as well as other city-specific prizes.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, and C40 Co-Chair, said: “Freetown is delighted to join this incredible project for the second time. As Co-Chair of C40, I’m committed to actively engaging young people in climate action. Students Reinventing Cities is a tangible example of how cities can do exactly that, and receive innovative design solutions to their urban challenges at the same time. For example, the winning proposals from the previous competition are directly informing our city’s redevelopment plan for the Brima Attouga Stadium. I’m excited to see what students come up with this time!”

Bruno Reis, Mayor of Salvador, said: “This is a fantastic initiative. Encouraging students to reimagine cities is investing in our future, bringing young people closer to public administration and showing what we can achieve together. Bringing young people into this conversation is fundamental so that we can broaden their awareness of citizenship, belonging and participation in the debate on the future of cities. I hope this will be an opportunity for our students to develop and show the world the unique potential that Salvador has to offer.”

Olivia Chow, Mayor of Toronto, said: “I am thrilled the City of Toronto is partnering with C40’s Students Reinventing Cities competition. This transformative initiative empowers students to reimagine the future of urban living, with a focus on the Thorncliffe Park Transit-Oriented Community. I hope that this site inspires the students to come up with a plan that fosters the creation of a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient cityscape.”

Jens Kramer Mikkelsen, Director of Urban Development at Urban Partners and former Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, said: “We welcome this competition and the ideas it will generate because we’d like to be inspired – especially by students and young people, who the future belongs to. Today, sustainability isn’t a choice. It’s what guides our business, and we’re improving with each project. We are keen to share our experiences with others, but it all starts with inspiration that leads to progress. That’s why we’re excited to see Jernbanebyen as a part of this project.”

Cindy Andersen, Managing Director of Ingka Centres, said: “This global initiative challenges local governments and young people to rethink urban spaces into social inclusive, low-carbon and resilient models for the future. We at Ingka Group (IKEA) are proud to support this competition as part of our commitment to create a better everyday life for the many people and our planet. We wish the best of luck to all the participants, look forward to learning more about how you see our future, and we hope that you will join us in our mission to positively impact in the world. Together, we can re-invent the future of cities and make them more liveable, inclusive, and green for the many people.”

Teams have until March 2024 to register and June 2024 to submit their projects; timelines may vary for certain cities. Join the competition launch webinar on 12 December to learn more about how to get involved. 

The third edition of Students Reinventing Cities is made possible thanks to the support of FedEx and IKEA. These two global companies value the collaboration that the initiative evokes amongst cities, youth and academia.

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