Frequently asked questions

Cape Town, South Africa
Who is the Reinventing Cities team?

The Reinventing Cities competition has been initiated by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, with the following 16 pioneer cities:  Auckland, Chicago, Houston, Madrid, Milan, Montreal, Oslo, Paris, Portland, Reykjavik, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, San Francisco & Vancouver.

The initiative is made possible thanks to the support of Climate KIC and ofo.

To run this program and to best support the participating cities, C40 is assisted by a consortium composed of Algoé Consultants, Carbon Trust, Carbon 4 and TU Berlin, and with the support of Bloomberg Associates.

What is C40?

C40 Cities connects more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 650+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. The current chair of the C40 is Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo; and former Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania. To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit www.c40.org, follow us on Twitter @c40cities or Instagram @c40cities and like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/C40Cities.

What is the objective of Reinventing Cities?

Reinventing Cities is a competition initiated by the C40 to implement the best ideas to transform underutilized sites into beacons of sustainability and resiliency and act as a showcase for future zero-carbon urban developments.Reinventing Cities aims to:

  • help drive forward public policy making to support decarbonized, sustainable, intelligent and resilient Cities;
  • use publicly-owned land to catalyse the change and to support the implementation of new ideas and innovations that can be rolled out on a global scale;
  • Actively drive collaboration between the cities and private sector to deliver new approaches to delivering low carbon urbanisation.
  • Reduce the impact of buildings emissions. Buildings account for 50% of emissions in C40 Cities. In order to meet Paris agreement, Cities need new buildings to be as close to zero carbon as possible and existing buildings need high levels of retrofit.

Your proposal, therefore, should address key components such as energy efficiency, resiliency, water management, mobility, waste management, sustainable building materials. Your team need to creatively address both content and form, and demonstrate that environmental performances can be achieved in combination with noteworthy architecture and community benefits.

What makes Reinventing Cities an unprecedented competition?

Beyond business as usual, Reinventing Cities targets climate-oriented redevelopment: the key criteria for projects’ selection is the quality of the solutions proposed to enable the city and local communities to catalyse change towards decarbonized, sustainable and resilient urban development.

Beyond a call for ideas, Reinventing Cities targets real-life projects. It will lead to a property transfer (sale or lease) to enable the winners to implement their project.

Beyond a simple design competition, Reinventing Cities targets holistic projects with innovative solutions in terms of program, new services, design, construction methodology, and financing.

Beyond frontiers,Reinventing Cities projects will gain international exposure. The best solutions emerging from the competition will be showcased across the world in hopes for their widespread uptake and adoption. The bidder teams will be presented as pioneers, committed alongside mayors to develop new models of decarbonized development and to tackle climate change.

How do I apply?

The application process and content is described in the competition Regulation document that you can download from this website.

You may express interest in one or more sites and submit a first phase application (Expression of Interest).

The Expression of Interest must be submitted by electronic means using the tab dedicated for this purpose “Submit a project” in each of the sites webpage. Your application must be provided both in English and in your local language, except in Norwegian (for Oslo) and in Icelandic (for Reykjavik).

The deadline for uploading files in the database is May 31th, 2018, and late uploads or other formats will not be accepted.

What is the competition structure and selection process?

The competition is organized in 2 phases:
Phase 1 is a “light phase”. Your Expression of Interest must be comprised of the outlines of the project and the envisaged solutions for the redevelopment of the site as well as the composition of the team.

Following the submission of the expressions of interest, the City will then proceed with the support of C40 to undertake a technical analysis of the expressions of interest, based on the evaluation criteria. Each City will then invite 3 shortlisted teams to participate to the final phase of the competition to submit a proposal. For some specific sites, the Jury can decide to select more finalist teams, with a maximum of 5.

Phase 2 is the final proposals phase: the finalist bidder teams will be invited to submit their final proposals including the detailed project as well as the financial offer to buy or lease the site and a carbon assessment of their project. The jury will advisory select the laureate team, to be designated winning by the City decision-making body at last.

How do I know about the specific rules and requirements relating to each site?

In addition to the common Regulation document, one specific document, called the Site Specific Requirements (SSR), is provided for each site. Each City details there the specifications for the redevelopment of its site, and outlines the local rules and procedures (planning, bidding/purchasing procedures, etc.). You shall submit proposals that comply with both the common objectives, criteria and requirements detailed in the common Regulation document and the specifications provided in the SSR. Note that for some sites, a specific regulation document can be provided. In that case, it will be clearly indicated in the page of the website dedicated to the site.

Moreover, you will find in the dataroom of each site, documents providing additional information about the site and the specific rules and laws of the city. However, the information provided in the SSR and the dataroom may not be exhaustive, and it is your responsibility to inquire about the rules that apply for the development of the site. If a proposed project does not comply with the local or national planning or bidding rules, the application may be judged inadmissible.

What specific challenges does my project have to address?

Reinventing Cities targets landmark decarbonized, sustainable and resilient projects demonstrating innovative solutions to tackling climate change. 10 challenges, grouped in 3 themes, have been identified: 

The key challenges to delivering successful carbon-free projects are:
  • Building energy efficiency and supply of clean energy
  • Sustainable materials management and circular economy
  • Green mobility

In order to assist in the rapid transition towards a climate safe, prosperous and sustainable City, projects need to address other key challenges beyond decarbonisation, including:
  • Resilience and adaptation solutions
  • New green services for the site and the neighbourhood
  • Green growth and smart cities
  • Sustainable water management
  • Biodiversity, urban re-vegetation and agriculture

Finally, the combination of environmental performance with high-quality architecture and urban design, as well as community benefits is key, demonstrating that compact and sustainable Cities are also liveable, enjoyable and inclusive:

  • Inclusive actions and community benefits
  • Innovative architecture and urban design

Can I expect any financial compensation as a member of a bidder team?

There will be no compensation provided to the teams neither from C40 nor from the cities. However, the team leaders are encouraged to pay the other members of the team. During the second phase of the competition, the cities may even require from the team representatives to explain and justify how the team members, and specifically the architects and the environmental experts, are paid for the work delivered during the competition process.

How can I ask questions about the competition?

The Regulation of the competition and the FAQ are accessible online. For further information on the general process you may contact us by using the box on the right. For specific question about a site, a mailbox address is provided in the tab dedicated for each site on this website.

What about confidentiality?

The Regulation of the competition specifies the confidentiality rules. Throughout this initiative, C40, participating cities and partners involved in the organization of the competition agree to ensure strict confidentiality of the proposals submitted by the project teams.

Is the composition of my project team open-ended, or must it be made up of people with specific skills?

Each bidder team must include at least one person responsible for the design of the project such as an architect or an urban designer, and one environmental expert. Apart from that, there are no mandatory rules regarding the composition of the team. You are free to choose your team members; however the team should contains skills related to the nature of your project and the expectations of the Reinventing Cities competition. Moreover, we encourage:

  • Interdisciplinary teams: in addition to architects, environmental experts, investors and contractors, teams could also include artists, community stakeholders, etc.
  • Including as soon as possible the site operators and the site future users for a substantial and tailored-made project in line with local (inhabitants, etc.) needs,
  • Combining international and local expertise.

Each member’s role and contribution, as well as the duration of his/her involvement in each phase of the project (planning, implementation, and operational phases) must be specified in the application.

Can my team be called interdisciplinary when it is made up of people with different areas of skills and expertise but belonging to one single company?

Yes, but in that case, the identity, expertise, and role of each people from the one company involved in the project must be specified.

Does my team need to include an investor or any other company capable of making a financial commitment?

The financial feasibility of the project, as well as the legal and financial soundness of the team, are part of the selection criteria. Thus, applicants may provide with any kind of documentation enhancing their financial capacity to successfully implement the proposed project.

During the final proposal phase, the project financial feasibility and the legal and financial soundness of the team partners will naturally be key for selecting the winning project. It will be requested that the finalist teams explain the details of their project economic and business model.

Is there a maximum number of companies or legal entities per team?

No, there is no limit. However, each team must demonstrate the role and commitments of each of its members. The relevancy of the team’s composition and the quality of its organization will naturally be taken into consideration.

What type of entity may join my proposal team?

The competition is open to any participant capable of proposing and undertaking an ambitious, innovative, and feasible project. Wether they be private or public, local or foreign, professional or non-professional, Reinventing Cities competition is open to any type of actors, regardless of legal form, and including foreign groups.

Do my team members have to be affiliated under a specific legal structure?

No, unless mentioned otherwise in the SSR document. As a general rule, and unless specific to one site as mentioned in the SSR, the Regulation stipulates that the file for the project should be presented by one project team, regardless of the legal structure.

Can a company or legal entity be part of several teams that are applying for different sites?

Yes. The parties in question shall in that case undertake to maintain strict confidentiality and guarantee that the application will be maintained in the event of several winning projects.

Can a company or legal entity be part of several teams that are applying for the same site?

Yes, except for the project leader and the architect (or urban designer). The parties in question shall in that case undertake to maintain strict confidentiality and guarantee that the application will be maintained in the event of several winning projects.

How can I let other companies know I want to join or create a project team?

The Meet-Up page of the website enables you to introduce yourself and meet with others. Physical meet-up sessions may be planned by each city and early 2018; the details will be provided to you along the process through the calendar section on the Meet-Up page.

Is it possible to apply before visiting the sites?

Yes, the application is not dependent on the site visit. Applicants can apply in accordance with the instructions provided in the common Regulation document and Site Specific Requirements document (SSR). However, since the application includes information on the urban development and programme objectives, visiting the site may be of benefit to applicants.

Can I freely choose the type of project for the site I am interesting in applying?

As a matter of principle, the type of project is free. However, some cities have defined specific guidelines for the redevelopment of their sites. This information is detailed in the SSR. In addition, other technical files are available for download in the dataroom dedicated to each site. 

Can my proposed project ignore city planning ordinances and/or specific regulations?

The projects must comply with the current city planning documents and the local legislation, unless it is specified in the SSR that the city considers to change the rules (e.g.: to rezone the site).

How can I ask questions about a site?

You may ask your question(s) to C40, the participating Cities and site owners through the site page “Question” button. Answers will be shared with all the bidders when the nature of the information makes it possible.

Phase 1: Expression of Interest
How do I become a candidate, and express my interest?

The first step consists of expressing interest in one or more sites by submitting a file in accordance with the Regulation document, by electronic means through the “submit a project” button on the site specific page. The requested information shall demonstrate the advantages of the project as well as the seriousness and determination of the project leaders to propose an innovative project.

What topics does the Expression of Interest have to cover?

For each site, your team must submit an Expression of Interest including:

  • presentation of the bidder team and its organisation: mandatory specific forms to join as appendix are available in the sites datarooms (available by mid-December);
  • the outlines of the project and solutions proposed for the redevelopment of the site regarding the 10 identified environmental challenges (see below). Roughly 10 written pages and one A3-sized (or Tabloid format) board of simple illustrations (but no architectural drawings);
  • presentation of the legal and financial set up of the project, a half page written page maximum

Further specific documentation may be requested for some sites, you may refer to the Site Specific Requirements document (SSR) available in the site dataroom.

Does the Expression of Interest include a financial offer?

No not at this stage. The financial offer will have to be include with the final proposal alongside the detailed project. In the final phase, the bidder teams must propose a financial offer based on prices at market value in the case of transfer, and lease fees in the case of occupation.

How can I apply ?

Your complete application shall be submitted electronically using the tab dedicated for this purpose “Submit a project” in each of the sites webpage. Your application must be provided both in English and in your local language, except in Norwegian (for Oslo) and in Icelandic (for Reykjavik).

What are the Expression of Interest evaluation criteria?

For each site, the Expression of Interest will be judged and selected regarding the following criteria:

  • The content of the project, the solutions proposed to address the 10 identified challenges,
  • The quality and suitability of the team, and
  • The team’s legal and financial soundness.

Note that for some sites, additional specifications regarding these criteria may be defined within each Site Specific Requirements document (SSR). There is no weighting of the selection criteria unless mentioned otherwise in the Site Specific Requirements document (SSR).

Can I freely choose the nature of the rights transfer?

When the public partner has not specified the nature of rights transfer, the bidder team must propose a legal framework in accordance with its economic model.

Otherwise, for sites with mention of the type of rights transfer in the SSR, it shall be followed.

What happens after the Expression of Interest?

Following the submission of the expressions of interest, the City will then proceed with the support of C40 to undertake a technical analysis of the expressions of interest, based on the evaluation criteria. Each City will then invite 3 shortlisted teams to participate to the final phase of the competition to submit a proposal. For some specific sites, the Jury can decide to select more finalist teams, with a maximum of 5.

The Regulation document provides provisional guidelines for the organization of this final phase. Detailed regulation for the second phase of the competition will be provided to the finalist bidder teams ahead of the start of this final phase. 

Can a team withdraw its proposal?

Teams may withdraw their proposals until the submission of final bids. The final submission of the proposal will also be considered as a commitment from the representative of the bidder team, for a minimum period of eighteen months from the date of the deadline for submissions.

If you have a question or would like more details on the Reinventing Cities competition, please use the form below.
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