Guangzhou Award | Best global urban innovation initiatives to be unveiled in Guangzhou (Ⅱ)

The Global Mayors' Forum & 6th Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation (Guangzhou Award) will be held in Guangzhou from December 7 to 9. As of December 5, representatives of 65 cities from 37 countries as well as nine international organizations have confirmed their participation.

The 6th Guangzhou Award received a total of 274 initiatives from 193 cities and local governments in 54 countries and regions, and 15 cities stood out as the shortlisted cities after the selection by the Technical Committee. 

Let's take a look at the 15 shortlisted cities and their urban innovation initiatives, among which five winners will be announced  on Thursday night.

Kampala, Uganda 乌干达坎帕拉

An innovation for pit-emptying services using a GIS-enabled application 


Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, has a resident population of 1,738,000, but it fluctuates to over 4,000,000 during the day as people from surrounding areas commute for work, business, and various activities in the city. Over 60% of this population lives in informal housing, while only between 10% and 15% of the city is connected to the formal sewerage system. 90% of the population relies on the on-site sanitation model, making waste-emptying services unavoidable for many residents. Accessing emptying services was a challenge as many had to visit the offices physically to receive the service which was offered on first-come first-serve basis after proof of payment submission. Pit latrines and septic tanks are often emptied haphazardly into the environment by unregulated vendors providing these services.

It is within this context that the Weyonje App was developed and introduced. Citizens can use the app on their mobile phones to order emptying services that are monitored until the sludge is successfully delivered to the regulated dumpsite. Citizens without smartphones, especially those living in poor informal settlements, have the option to contact the Village Health Team (VHT), which requests the service on their behalf using the Weyonje Village Health Team Application. 
The App ensures that the faecal sludge is safely transported and managed at the treatment plant. Data from the App feeds digitally into the city’s data management dashboard enabling the city to track progress and gaps in the emptying service.

Mannheim, Germany 德国曼海姆

Annual report on the achievement of the SDGs as a management tool and transformation of vacant land into a park 


The City of Mannheim has been actively monitoring progress towards the SDGs since 2015. For example, it advanced its monitoring process by resolving to present the city's annual Voluntary Local Review report as one of the main municipal instruments in 2022 and enabled the administration, councillors, and the local community to gain a better understanding of how the city’s actions are responding to the SDGs.


The conversion of the former military base by the city of Mannheim is a clear example of a city directly localizing the SDGs into the daily processes of governance. Citizens were consulted on what to do with the former military base. It was decided that the space be transformed into a community park. It was also decided to organize a major Gardening Show called BUGA (facilitated by the Federal Government) dedicated specifically to the SDGs.


There are now plans to transform the 80-hectare site into a landscaped park and recreation area that will be a habitat for many different species, as well as a space for sports and other recreational activities. In addition, BUGA holds exhibitions on regional urban food production and clean and climate-friendly energy production in cities, serving as a stage for associations, the government and initiatives related to the SDGs.


Pimpri Chinchwad, India 印度宾布里金杰沃德

Navi Disha community toilet model


The Indian city of Pimpri Chinchwad being a prominent industrial hub, hosts a significant number of migratory industrial labourers who have established residence in low-income settlement areas. City has 160 Community Toilets that provide clean and hygienic sanitation facilities in these areas. Under the Navi Disha initiative, women from the targeted communities have formed groups that have taken responsibility for operating and maintaining the community toilets ensuring superior sanitation standards.

印度宾布里金杰沃德市是著名工业中心,拥有大量在低收入地区定居的工业移民。为了给这些地区提供干净的卫生设施,市内修建了 160 个社区厕所(Navi Disha项目)。在此项目框架下,来自目标社区的妇女组成工作小组,负责运营和维护社区厕所,确保其良好的卫生标准。

Round of discussions were conducted with the communities for conceiving the initiative. Women within these settlements came forwards to take up the operation and maintenance of the community toilet in their area.


Along with training in community toilet management, the municipality also makes a monthly payment to each women’s group to cover the cost of sanitation equipment and cleaning materials to generate revenue streams for the women's groups.


The initiative is a good example of gender mainstreaming in the sanitation value chain along with effective public-community partnerships and agile administration. Over 400 women are now engaged within the initiative managing 40 toilets with total of 862 toilet seats. Over 30,000+ beneficiaries are getting access to clean and safe toilets every day. With overwhelming interest from other women groups, municipality has planned to scale over 120 community toilets under Navi Disha, with engagement of over 1,200 women and increasing the beneficiaries by at least three folds by June 2024.

此项目是将性别平等纳入主流卫生价值链的一个典范,也建立了有效的公共社区伙伴关系。目前,超过400 名女性参与,管理着40个厕所共862个厕位。每天有超3万名使用者可以使用卫生、安全的厕所。项目外其他的妇女团体也对此展现出极大兴趣。因此,市政府计划在项目框架下扩建120多个社区厕所,吸引1200多名妇女参与进来,到 2024年6月,项目受益人数增加至少三倍。

The municipality aspires to introduce the women groups to alternative revenue streams, involving them in decision making for future initiatives such as women-led sustainable Solid Waste Management and establishing robust feedback and monitoring mechanisms.


Ramallah, Palestine 巴勒斯坦拉姆安拉

Forum of Expertise, a community-led active aging initiative that empowers seniors to thrive through voluntarism and life-long learning 


"Forum of Expertise" is an innovative community center in Ramallah that is dedicated to enriching the lives of older people by providing a space for social activity, engagement and wellness. It provides four core programs: a cross-generational platform for the exchange of knowledge and expertise; a tailored process for voluntary engagement; a targeted capacity-development program; and comprehensive well-being programs that cater for every aspect of older people’s lives.


The Forum creates a physical space that is accessible to all. This allows for formal and informal gatherings, thus fostering growth, with the overall aim of addressing social isolation among older people. A range of programs are created with the community. The Forum has adopted a decentralized structure that involves the community in decision-making, supervision, and evaluation, alongside regular feedback loops to enable ongoing and continuously evolving processes and sets of strategies.


The Forum's efforts exemplified the power of creativity and adaptability in times of crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum responded to the challenges of isolation with a series of innovative online initiatives. These included a documentary program of 35 episodes, each featuring a Palestinian musician exploring diverse musical styles and traditions. Additionally, the Forum conducted 18 in-depth interviews with experienced creative writers, providing insights into their journeys. These programs were made available on line and on YouTube, reaching a wide audience and fostering engagement among the elderly during the lockdown.


São Paulo, Brazil 巴西圣保罗

Programa Tô Legal 


The initiative has provided an opportunity for those who are unable to enter the formal employment market to work legally, and has fomented entrepreneurship. It has also improved transparency, efficiency, location monitoring (GIS), and reduced corruption through payment control.


Tô Legal's main goal is to ease and expedite the issuance of authorization and permits to those who work and provide services informally in public areas and sidewalks. It was conceived as a gateway for those who need to work legally, but who lack qualification, education, or the experience needed to seek formal employment.


Tô Legal is an electronic system funded by and used in the city of São Paulo in Brazil, which allows citizens who currently work illegally and insecurely on the streets to formalize themselves and their production over time. Via the system, citizens are now able to apply for documents, to change their registration or to pay municipal fees online. Civil servants can readily access permit and authorization information, which expedites inspection procedures.


Tehran, Iran 伊朗德黑兰

Substituting chemical pesticides with pruning waste in the production of herbal formulations 


During the outbreak of mulberry whiteflies in the urban green space of Tehran between 2016 and 2018 in Atrat Park, the performance of the Caesalpinia gilliesii naturally attracting full-fledged insects (whiteflies) was the first spark of study as an investigation of the trap plant. 
2016 年至 2018 年,位于德黑兰市的阿特拉特公园(Atrat Park)绿地爆发桑粉虱虫害。此次事件让人们发现,吉式苏木(Caesalpinia gilliesii)具有能够吸引桑粉虱成虫的特点。这一特性激发了人们将其作为捕虫植物来控制虫害的灵感。
The utilization of pruning plants and Caesalpinia gilliesii plants represents a transformative leap in replacing chemical pesticides within the herbal formulation production process. This initiative in Tehran serves as a catalyst for transitioning contemporary cities from their industrial past into more eco-friendly urban environments. To achieve this, the project leverages urban green spaces to combat urban pests, effectively replacing the need for harmful chemical pesticides while concurrently reducing expenditure on these costly toxic substances. Central to this initiative is the utilization of natural resources. Rigorous experimentation has been conducted to ascertain their effectiveness, resulting in the publication of five scientific papers. 
利用剪枝废料和吉式苏木(Caesalpinia gilliesii)取代化学农药,是天然杀虫剂配方生产的一个革命性突破。德黑兰的案例促使当代城市从过去的工业环境转型成为更加环保的城市环境。德黑兰利用城市绿地来消灭城市中的害虫,成功减少了化学农药的使用,并大大削减了由此产生的高昂开销。该项目的核心是对自然资源的利用。为确定其有效性,德黑兰市有关部门组织开展了严谨的科学试验,并发表了五篇学术论文。
This project pioneers a natural, eco-conscious solution for herbal formulation production, contributing significantly to the transformation of modern cities into toxin-free, nature-friendly urban landscapes. The project aligns with ten SDGs, making it a vital contributor to the global effort for a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future.

Xianning, China 中国咸宁

Enhancing traffic safety near schools through a child-friendly collaborative construction and sharing approach


In the Chinese city of Xianning, inadequate municipal utilities used to cause problems such as the coexistence of people and vehicles in the same way, muddy roads on rainy days, and the lack of traffic lights. In order to address these problems that hinder children from getting to and from school safely, Xianning has put forward an effective and efficient "government + enterprise + community" cooperation program. It also represents a holistic approach that promotes not only the infrastructure construction, but also the participation and involvement of active stakeholders at the local level.

学校路口没有红绿灯、人车混行、下雨天满地泥泞…… 为了补齐当地校园周边的市政设施短板,消除不利于未成年人上下学的诸多痛点,咸宁市提出了一项有效且高效的“政+企+社区”联动的综合解决方案,在促进基础设施建设的同时,带动了地方层面的利益攸关方共同参与解决社会问题。

The project was spearheaded by the Xianning city government, and broke down departmental divisions by involving seven municipal departments, design institutes, schools, communities, and relevant companies. Through measures such as using franchise model, adjusting land use, separating pedestrian and vehicles, introducing walking-bus routes, and establishing various waiting areas, the initiative successfully transformed the streets around the school into safe and high-quality shared community spaces and co-built garden.In addition, a series of social practice activities intended for students have been organized for the improvement of the surrounding environment of school, so as to build the ideal campus and safe roads for children.


Since the initiative started, the proportion of students walking to school has increased from 30% to 95%. 100 parent volunteers operates four designated walking routes to school, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of nearby traffic accidents from over 50 to just one. This innovation has been rapidly extended to 20 schools, generating substantial social impact both domestically and internationally, with recognition and promotion by the UN Habitat and the UNICEF.


Sources:, Guangzohu Daily
Editor: Lyu Yun

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