Transformative Cities is an opportunity for progressive local governments, municipalist coalitions, social movements and civil society organizations to popularize and share their experiences of building solutions to our planet’s intertwined political and ecological crises.
The initiative draws on the emerging wave of transformative practices and responses taking place at municipal level worldwide, by creating a unique platform and award process that will facilitate the wider dissemination of the lessons and inspiration from such practices.
We believe that amplification of changes in different locations can help facilitate change on a global level; in other words, systemic transformation. Change in different forms is happening all over the world, and sometimes it is hard to know where to look. Transformative Cities can be seen as a telescope, to help navigate through the complex galaxy of struggles and positive transformation unfolding on a local level across the globe.
Check out the initiatives of the previous editions on our website.
With the Transformative Cities Award, we aim to highlight political practices and solutions that can serve as inspiration for others. We aspire to continue with a new model of awards, which is participatory, inspirational, and rooted in exchange and learning. We envisage a process of knowledge co-creation and practice exchange that leads to an atlas of political practices, whose inspiring stories speed up a process of systemic transformation towards a more democratic, equal, peaceful and resilient world.
This award does not seek to pass judgment on social movements, civil society organizations, citizens platforms or other groups. It is a platform where those acting to transform the world may systematize their successful practices, exchange with and learn from others, and receive increased exposure and outreach. After three successful editions, we are engaged in an ongoing learning process, looking at how to systematize local political practices so we can identify what is working, and help to accelerate the process of transformation.
What is a ‘transformative’ city?
We do not have an exact definition, and we expect to solve this question collectively. We see cities broadly as the location for place-based struggles for basic rights. “Transformative” recognizes that these struggles have succeeded in articulating an inclusive vision for a social majority to transform their city or defined environment. These practices will have measurable results, since they have been implemented successfully, and they will be practices that can be replicated in other regions and places. The evaluation criteria include: equity and participation, capacity to inspire collective action, sustainability and efficiency, solidarity and public ethos, impact, transferability and replicability, accountability and transparency, democratic participation, ecological and just transitions, fairness of labour conditions, and the recognition of domestic and care work.
Finally, the award will pay special attention to those initiatives whose positive results are particularly hard to reverse. Think about a caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly; this change cannot be reversed. These are the kinds of transformations we aim to collect, and magnify.
The Transformative Cities initiative is open to collectives, not individuals. A collective can have the form of a social movement with recognizable structures and goals – even without a formal legal recognition, a legally existing civil society organization, a citizens’ platform seeking to gain institutional power at municipal and/or city level via a political candidacy, an established city council/local government, or other forms of collective action that center their practices in a specific location that is not generally recognized as a region, state or similar delimitation.
The fourth edition of the award (2021–2022) will look at four issues: Energy, Water and Housing and Food. Did you apply last year and not win the award? We encourage you to apply again, probably your initiative has grown stronger and you have more inspiration to share.
If you are not sure about your eligibility, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Check the FAQ section for further details and information.
We look forward to receiving your inspiring stories of transformation. Another world is not only possible, it is already happening, and we hope to work with you to make it as strong and visible as possible!