Awards & Competitions - International

Reinventing Cities

Competition launch: November 16th, 2017

Submission of expressions of interest: April, 20th, 2018

Submission of the final proposals: late Autumn 2018

Selection of winners: End of 2018 / Early 2019

(Provisional Timeline. This dates will be updated soon, when the competition Regulation document is published)


Seeking creative minds with a vision for a greener urban future! 

The Reinventing Cities competition is a call for urban projects to drive carbon-neutral and resilient urban regeneration across the globe and to implement the most innovative ideas to transform underutilized sites into beacons of sustainability and resiliency.

Initiated by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and made possible thanks to the support of Climate KIC and ofo, Reinventing Cities is an unprecedented global competition to drive carbon neutral and resilient urban regeneration. 

15 cities have identified together 45 underutilized spaces – 5 in Cape Town – to redevelop, including several empty plots and abandoned buildings, a former airport site, historical mansions, underused markets, car park to transform, and an abandoned incinerator and landfill.

City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille, said:

“Cape Town is facing one of the worst droughts in recorded history. The long-term sustainability of our city depends on our ability to plan ahead, use innovative technologies, and foster an acute awareness of how we use scarce resources. As such, we are excited to participate in the C40 Reinventing Cities Programme. Our application consists of five City-owned sites which will be made available to the private sector for the design and implementation of carbon-neutral development demonstration projects. The future of our city must be built on partnerships between the local government and businesses where we work together in delivering developments that are sustainable and economically viable, while at the same time improving the living standards for all.”

Through this competition, C40 and the participating cities invite architects, developers, environmentalists, neighbourhood groups, innovators and artists to build creative teams and to compete for the opportunity to transform these sites into new beacons of sustainability and resiliency. They will also have to demonstrate how innovative climate solutions can be achieved in combination with noteworthy architecture and local community benefits.

We are currently on a trajectory that will increase average global temperatures by 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100. If these emissions are not appropriately addressed, cities will become increasingly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. In order to avoid this scenario, the 2015 Paris Agreement commits signatories to pursue efforts that will limit the average global temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Cities could deliver around 40% of the savings needed to achieve this ambition.

To achieve these outcomes, cities will require: (i) local governments to coordinate the millions of individual emissions producers to change their development habits in key sectors for the global climate trajectory, including residential and commercial buildings, energy, transport, and waste, and (ii) the mobilization of private sector investment, innovation and creativity in carbon-neutral ways of living.

Cities will need new buildings to be as close to zero carbon as possible and high levels of retrofit for existing buildings, which account for 50% of emissions in C40 cities.

Reinventing Citiesis a great opportunity for cities, urban development stakeholders, and citizens to benefit from this ‘open source’ and international contest designed to accelerate decarbonised, resilient and sustainable urban environments around the world.

Each Reinventing Cities project will further serve as a model for carbon-neutral development, demonstrating innovative and replicable climate solutions. Not only will the bidder teams need to creatively address both content and form, they will also need to demonstrate that environmental performances can be achieved in combination with noteworthy architecture and community benefits, keeping in mind the potential for duplicating their approach across the city and elsewhere in the world.

Winning projects will serve as models for cities around the world, demonstrating how the alliance between the public and private sector can shape the future, delivering decarbonised and economically viable urban development.

Reinventing Cities will:

  • Help drive forward public policy making to support decarbonized, sustainable, intelligent and resilient cities;
  • Support the implementation of new ideas and innovations that can be rolled out on a global scale;
  • Actively drive collaboration between the private and public sectors to deliver new approaches to delivering low carbon urbanization;
  • Reduce the impact of buildings emissions which account for 50% of emissions in C40 cities. In order to meet the Paris Agreement, cities need new buildings to be as close to zero carbon as possible and high levels of retrofit for existing buildings.

Reinventing Cities – provisional Timeline

The competition will include two stages: the first will be the expression of interest phase, and the second, the proposal phase.

The provisional timeline of the competition is as follows:

  • Competition launch: November 16th, 2017
  • Phase 1 – expression of interest: from November 2017 to April 2018
  • Submission of expressions of interest: April, 20th, 2018
  • Selection committee for expressions of interest:  April – June 2018
  • Phase 2 – proposal: June to Autumn 2018
  • Submission of the final proposals: late Autumn 2018
  • Selection of winners: End of 2018 / Early 2019

It should be noted that for certain sites, a specific timeline might be put in place. For these sites, specific information will be published on the website and in the dataroom.


C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supports cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change.



For further information

More information on the Reinventing Cities competition, eligibility criteria and the project sites in each city can be found at the Official Website.

Follow the Competition on Twitter on #Reinventingcities

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