Four cities selected for the Climate Smart Cities Challenge

  • Kathy Nothstine

    Kathy Nothstine

    Head, Future Cities

    View profile
  • Hannah Picton

    Hannah Picton

    Assistant Programme Manager

    View profile

14 Apr 2021

These cities, alongside the challenge partners, will support innovators to develop, test and scale cutting-edge solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under an open innovation competition. 

The winners are:

  • The City of Makindye Ssabagabo, Uganda 
  • The City of Bogotá, Colombia
  • The City of Bristol, United Kingdom
  • The City of Curitiba, Brazil

The City of Makindye Ssabagabo will on focused on green residential development

The City of Bogotá will host a challenge around freight logistics

Aerial shot of Bogota

The City of Bristol is focusing on affordable housing models

The City of Curitiba is aiming to establish zero-carbon areas

The full details of each city’s challenge will be launched at the World Expo in Dubai in October 2021. Along with the challenge partners — UN-Habitat, Viable Cities, Vinnova, Teknikföretagen, the Swedish Energy Agency, Smart City Sweden, Business Sweden and Nesta Challenges — the four cities will spend the next several months engaging stakeholders and defining the details of each challenge. 

The invited cities were chosen from applicants from all over the world through an open call application phase. The Climate Smart Cities Challenge focuses on specific areas that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time deliver significant social impact, such as zero-carbon neighbourhoods, freight logistics management and green and affordable residential buildings. 

During the initial open call phase, each city was invited to share their aspirations to reduce greenhouse emissions, by identifying local challenges that would benefit from a multi-stakeholder and innovative approach, while also able to strengthen the capacity of local governments to procure, test and implement frontier technologies.

What’s next?

The next stage of the challenge will support innovators to develop, scale and demonstrate impactful solutions to the specific city challenges. 

At the local level, challenge-driven innovation helps to achieve sustainable development goals. Challenge competitions can contribute to the development of mission-oriented policies, by connecting multidisciplinary expertise and cross-sectoral perspectives with societal needs. City leaders are able to ensure that Innovative solutions, originated from challenges, are directed towards improving people’s lives in cities.            

To stay up-to-date on the next stages of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge, visit and sign up for the Nesta Challenges newsletter for future opportunities (be sure to select ‘cities’ as your interest area).

You might also be interested in...

How can Swedish innovation promote climate-neutral cities?


Helping cities achieve low-carbon futures


How to frame a city-based challenge


What a good city-based challenge looks like