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Time for phase 2 of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge


Phase one of the Climate Smart Cities Challenges, Viable Cities' first global collaboration, closed at the end of January. Now all partners will review the 58 applications from cities across four continents to be selected for Phase 2, the innovation competition that will be launched at Expo 2020 Dubai. 

In their applications, cities have formulated challenges that they believe need to be solved in order to create climate-neutral cities with a good life for the people living there.

- Assessors from all the partners behind the initiative will now select 20 strong candidates, from which three cities will be chosen," says Olle Armstrand Dierks, Viable Cities portfolio strategist, who prepared the initiative together with the partners.

Applications will be screened against a set of criteria listed on the Climate Smart Cities website, but Olle Armstrand Dierks highlights three of them.

- The challenge should be suitable for an open innovation competition, then of course it should have the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and be suitable for scaling up. In addition, the applicant city must have the capacity and resources to participate as a test bed.

By the end of March, the three cities - and their challenges - will be selected and preparations will begin for the innovation competition to be launched this fall at the World Expo in Dubai.

- Before Expo 2020 Dubai, we will work together with the cities, looking at their challenges and ensuring that they have a local presence and the necessary infrastructure of collaboration between public authorities, business and civil society . Based on this, we will design the challenges for the competition to enable broad participation.

The innovation competition is then open to those organizations that believe they have the potential to solve the challenge. The finalists will be presented during Innovation Week in January 2022 and then the challenges will be solved.

Although only three cities' challenges are selected, the results, knowledge and experience gained from them will benefit many more.

- It is hoped that the innovation contest will contribute to knowledge sharing in a wider network, for example to those cities that applied but were not selected.

The Climate Smart Cities Challenge is a collaboration between Viable Cities, Teknikföretagen, UN-Habitat, Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency, Smart City Sweden, the Committee for Sweden's participation in Expo 2020 Dubai and Nesta Challenges.

The initiative is intended as a start to systematically use innovation competitions as an instrument in the climate transition.

- We believe that innovation competitions can be an important channel to mobilize skills and commitment from the business community in particular, but also from academia and civil society.

Read more about the Climate Smart Cities Challenge partnership here.

Olle Armstrand Dierks, Portfolio Strategist Viable Cities.

Olle Armstrand Dierks, Portfolio Strategist Viable Cities.