WRI Ross Prize for Cities


Through our work with partners around the world, we’ve learned that sometimes urban projects add up to more than the sum of their parts. These rare, transformative initiatives create a ripple effect, igniting citywide change.

With the generous support of visionary business leader and philanthropist Stephen M. Ross, WRI Ross Center is announcing a global competition designed to identify, celebrate, and replicate these initiatives.

The WRI Ross Prize for Cities will award $250,000 to initiatives that have contributed substantially to transformative change toward more sustainable cities, but have yet to achieve the recognition they deserve.

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Sparking Transformative Change

Transformative initiatives positively impact the economy, the environment, and the community in ways that are unprecedented or unexpected. They open our eyes to new possibilities by overcoming bottlenecks, leveraging investments, or taking a unique approach to solving a well-known problem. They impress hope and excitement on the people they affect. And their impact extends beyond a single block or street, catalyzing positive change across a neighborhood or city.

Representative transformative initiatives include:


Details & Timeline

Entry into the competition is through submission and direct nominations from a global panel of experts.

Sustainable cities require all stakeholders, from small and large businesses to community groups, associations and government agencies. Nominees can be from the public or private sector, or civil society. From the initial list of nominations, five finalists will be chosen. Nominated transformative initiatives will be judged on their demonstrated ability to impact surrounding areas, overcome perennial problems, inspire people, and leverage new resources toward sustainable cities. A jury of prominent heads of industry, city mayors, academics, journalists, philanthropists, and other urban leaders will choose five finalists.

An award gala will take place in New York, featuring the finalists and culminating in the announcement of the first winner of the WRI Ross Prize for Cities.

  • January 2018 – Submissions open
  • August 2018 – Finalists selected
  • 2019 – First winner announced

Questions? Contact us at rossprize@wri.org

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