and Notice of the competition framework

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

The competition documents, including the Regulation of the competition and the Site Specific Requirements documents, can be downloaded from this website. Please find the application process outline below.

Objectives of the Reinventing Cities competition

The Reinventing Cities competition is a call for urban projects to drive carbon-neutral and resilient urban regeneration across the globe and to implement the most innovative ideas to transform underutilized sites into beacons of sustainability and resiliency.

Reinventing Cities

  • Help drive forward public policy making to support decarbonized, sustainable, intelligent and resilient Cities;
  • Support the implementation of new ideas and innovations that can be rolled out on a global scale;
  • Actively drive collaboration between the private and public sectors to deliver new approaches to delivering low carbon urbanization;
  • Reduce the impact of emissions due to the buildings, as close to zero carbon as possible.
  •  Each Reinventing Cities project, developed on land proposed by the participating Cities, will serve as a model for carbon-neutral development, demonstrating innovative climate solutions, providing local community benefits and be replicable in cities around the world.

Structure of the Reinventing Cities competition

Two documents structure the Reinventing Cities competition:

  • The Regulation document, common to all sites and to all participating Cities except for Rio de Janeiro. 
  • The Site Specific Requirements documents (SSR) are specific to each site. Each City details the specifications for the redevelopment of its site made available to the contest, and outlines the local rules and procedures (planning, bidding/purchasing procedures, etc.) bidder teams and projects must comply with.

Bidder teams shall submit proposals that comply with both the common objectives, criteria and requirements detailed in the Regulation document and the specifications provided in each Site Specific Requirements document (SSR). 

For some sites, specific regulations can be provided. In that case it will be clearly indicated in the page of the website dedicated to the site.

Note that the Site Specific Requirement (SSR) of each site can be downloaded in the page dedicated to the site within the tab “sites”

Outcomes of Reinventing Cities

For each site, the bidder teams will compete to buy or lease the site to implement their project. At the end of the competition process, each site owner will organize the legal arrangement to finalize the site transfer, in compliance with the local laws and rules.

For each site, this legal arrangements can take different forms: sale agreement, rental contract, lease-back, occupation, etc. The bidder teams will find in the SSR the information concerning the site transfer intended by each site owner for its site.

To keep things simple, the term “City” will refer to the site owner, be that the City itself or another public partner that owns the site.

Reinventing Cities

The cities have identified the 31 underutilized sites detailed in the tab « Sites » of this website. They invite multidisciplinary teams, including architects, developers, environmentalists, neighbourhood groups, artists, etc. to compete for the opportunity to transform these sites.

These sites comprise a diverse supply of land use with various states of development, typologies, and wide range of size – from existing buildings to empty parcels, and from a small plot in a city centre to a large site in a new development area. With this wide variety, C40 and the participating cities hope the proposals submitted by the bidder teams will combine a wide range of solutions to address the environmental challenges that cities face.

The Bidder Team Qualifications

Reinventing Cities encourages new types of collaborations for novel approaches and attractive projects. The “bidder teams” term is used to describe all the involved members of a consortium.

The composition of the Reinventing Cities bidder teams must reflect the expectations of the competition, and thus will be used in assessing the proposals. The bidder teams must bring together various actors and be multidisciplinary: in addition to architects or urban designers, environmental experts, investors and contractors, teams may include artists, designers, and community stakeholders.

Together, this multidisciplinary team will develop the project from the genesis to implementation and operational phase, and turn the proposal into a reality. Therefore, the bidder teams are encouraged to form a consortium as early as possible, potentially including the site operators and the future users, to give substance to the project and to tailor it to specific needs.

In addition, while not required, they are also encouraged to combine international and local expertise. However, a local will be important to assist in complying with the locally applicable rules and regulations and facilitate local stakeholder involvement.

From the Expression of Interest phase, the bidder team must appoint one person responsible for the design of the project such as an architect or an urban designer, and an environmental expert; additionally, the team must designate a lead representative who will be the main point of contact on behalf of the entire bidder team.

Reinventing Cities
– provisional Timeline

The competition will include two stages: the first will be the expression of interest phase, and the second, the proposal phase. The provisional timeline of the competition is as follows:

Competition launch: mid-December, 2017
  • Opening of the public website
  • Opening of the dataroom stage 1 
  • Publication on the website of the expression of interest regulation, and the SSR for each site (by mid-December)

Phase 1 - expression of interest: from December 2017 to May 2018
  • The bidder teams develop their expression of interest
  • Questions/answers via the website
  • Site visits for the bidder teams

Submission of expressions of interest: May, 31, 2018

Selection committee for expressions of interest:  June- August 2018

Phase 2 - proposal: Septembre 2018  to February 2019
  • Opening of the dataroom stage 2 to shortlisted applicants only,
  • The finalist bidder teams develop their final proposal
  • Opening of the questions/answers and possible dialogue with the shortlisted bidder teams

Submission of the final proposals: February 2019

Selection of winners:  2019 

It should be noted that for certain sites, a specific timeline might be put in place. For these sites, specific information will be published on the website and in the dataroom.

Content and selection criteria for the Expression of Interest phase

The expression of interest file will be made up of three documents: 
  • Description of the bidder team and its organization: mandatory specific forms to include as an appendix are available in each site dataroom (available by April 2018);
  • Outlines of the project and solutions proposed for redeveloping the site, in line with the 10 identified environmental challenges (see below). 10 written A4 (or US-Letter) pages (maximum) and one A3 (or Tabloid) sized board of simple illustrations (but no architectural drawings);
  • Presentation of the legal and financial set up of the project, a written page maximum

The expression of interest must 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 the local language, in Norwegian (for Oslo) and in Icelandic (for Reykjavik).

For each site, the Expression of Interest will be judged and selected regarding the following criteria:
  1. The content of the project: the solutions proposed to address the 10 identified challenges. While the bidder teams are encouraged to address the whole 10 challenges, they may emphasize the most relevant ones for the specific site, meaning the ones that will enable the City and the local communities to catalyze change towards decarbonized, sustainable and resilient urban development,
  2. The quality and suitability of the team, relating to the site’s issues and the project proposed, and
  3. The team’s legal and financial soundness.

For some of the sites, additional specifications regarding these criteria may be defined within each Site Specific Requirements document (SSR).

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. A 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.

The Environmental Challenges to be addressed

The path to achieving a zero carbon project requires a combination of solutions. The choice of these solutions should be made in consideration of the site, its configuration and how it integrates with its surroundings.

The carbon footprint of a project obviously depends on its proposed functions. For all types and projects (residential, commercial, or mixed-used buildings; public spaces; or other type of activities), the bidder teams must propose solutions to minimize the carbon impact. In addition, the bidder teams can use local carbon offset to reach the zero carbon objective.

The Expression of Interest (Phase 1), will only have to briefly describe the proposed solutions. The Proposal (Phase 2) will need to include  a detailed design and a clear and reliable carbon assessment of the project site.  Information on the main principles to carry out a carbon assessment can be found Appendix 2 of this document. Further guidance for the carbon assessment on specific project types will be provided to the finalist bidder teams ahead of phase 2.

The key challenges to deliver a carbon-free project are:

  • 1.  Building energy efficiency and supply of clean energy
    The energy strategy developed by the bidder teams should include the following energy hierarchy: (i) reduce energy demand; (ii) use energy efficiently; (iii) use renewable energy; (iv) use low carbon energy and (v) offset unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions in the local area. Efficiency is the highest priority in the design and operation of the buildings and public spaces. This means minimizing the amount of energy a building uses for heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, ventilation, electrical services etc. This could possibly be accomplished by using passive building design, energy efficient systems and products, by encouraging retrofitting solutions, and by ensuring that building owners and users can easily monitor and maintain low to zero energy use. Fostering the use and supply of clean energy at the site is also key in an effort to push for a low carbon transition in City energy systems. Bidder teams should consider measures such as the installation of photovoltaic and solar water heating panels, connection to district energy systems, onsite energy storage and off-site renewable energy purchasing strategies. .  

  • 2.  Sustainable materials management and circular economy
    The objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through material management and waste management while providing co-benefits such as reduced air, water, soil pollution and fossil fuel consumption. This requires implementing solutions and best practices at every stage of the project, including the design, construction, and the future use of the site. As an example, specify construction materials that minimize greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing, transport and construction processes but also through the lifetime of the building; recycle discarded resources back into raw materials, manage waste collection and separation, and limit construction waste; prioritize building retrofits over demolition or new build where feasible; enable future adaptation of the building through improved modularity, etc.

  • 3.  Green mobility
    The bidder teams should design their projects to facilitate and encourage walking, biking, public transport, shared vehicles and electric and other low-emission vehicles while de-incentivizing combustion-based single occupancy vehicle use.  Examples include secure bike storage and parking, ride-sharing options, electric vehicles and charging stations, actions to support local transit access, etc.  

Projects need to address other key strategies beyond decarbonisation in order to assist in the rapid transition towards a climate safe, prosperous and sustainable city,.  The challenges detailed below cover important strategies to help deliver landmark sustainable and resilient projects, but are not exhaustive:
  • 4.  Resilience and adaption
    Bidder teams should integrate climate resiliency measures throughout the project.  This includes innovative solutions to prepare for current and future climate change in the city, such as increases in frequency and severity of extreme weather events, warmer temperatures (e.g. urban heat island issues), increase driving rain and wind speeds, sea level rise and flooding, and drought. Examples include green infrastructure, ecological solutions to manage heat and increased rainfall, onsite management of storm-water, elevation or protection of key infrastructure, modular design, measures to support community resilience through opportunities for social connection, etc.

  • 5.  New green services for the site and the neighbourhood
    Bidder teams should consider using the site as a catalyst to leverage existing green services or to develop new urban services for the neighbourhood that help to reduce the city’s environmental impact. Strategies include, supply and export of clean energy, new services for waste collection and redistribution of goods and data, development of sustainable freight and urban logistics, creation of pooled and shared services, creation of new public parks, etc.

  • 6.  Green growth and smart Cities
    Bidder teams should consider hosting and incubating green start-up companies onsite; developing smart uses of information technologies, data management, and online communications to engage public and private stakeholders in climate change action and build more sustainable urban environments. This could include integrating new methods of producing and trading goods and services: encouraging local production, and the circular economy, temporary shops, ‘Fab-labs’ and shared spaces that allow retailers and craftspeople to experiment and pool their resources.

  • 7.  Sustainable water management
    Bidder teams should consider developing efficient plumbing and irrigation; low-flow fixtures and appliances; wastewater treatment solutions that integrate with biomass systems; rainwater recapture for non-potable uses; and/or smart metering solutions that allow users to track and modify their behaviour. 

  • 8.  Biodiversity, urban re-vegetation and agriculture
    Bidder teams should consider developing green and blue infrastructure to maintain and promote urban biodiversity, to provide important ecosystem services such as pollination and climate resilience, and to mitigate heat island effect and reduce energy needed to cool and heat buildings (e.g. ecoroof and wall gardens). This could also include development of local and sustainable food systems in order to decrease food miles and to raise awareness about the benefits of fresh, seasonal food and local production.

Finally, the bidder teams must propose projects that combine environmental performance with high-quality architecture and urban design, and community benefits, demonstrating that compact and sustainable Cities come together with liveable, enjoyable and inclusive urban development.
  • 9.  Inclusive actions and community benefits
    Bidder teams must ensure that the project strives to serve the needs of the residents and the neighbourhood where it is located. An emphasis should be placed on understanding the neighbourhood context so that the project is responsive to major needs, challenges and issues of the residents and business (both those in the formal and informal economy) located in its neighbourhood and surrounding area. Transforming neighbourhoods into thriving communities involves ensuring widespread access to the benefits of climate action- better health outcomes, job and skills-training opportunities, etc.  Examples include developing projects that will be accessible to different parts of the population (social background, age, gender, origin, economic status, etc.); prioritizing dense, mixed-used and transit-oriented development; and the application of “chronotopic” strategies (coordinating alternative uses of the site according to the time of day or week. 
    Moreover, the bidder teams are required to involve local stakeholders and surrounding neighbourhoods in defining their communal expectations and choosing the most appropriate solutions. Effective community engagement is important to ensure that the proposed project is relevant and appropriate for those living and working in the area.  This could help to increase acceptance, exposure and awareness of the project and its benefits, and increase the project’s viability and replicability.

  • 10.  Innovative architecture and urban design
    Projects must upgrade the site while integrating into the urban environment and the wider neighbourhood in which the site is located. The bidder team will propose a unique world-class architectural approach through spatial design, building form, choice of materials, use of natural light, and artistic elements among others. This may also include activating new places such as “underutilized” spaces (rooftops, basements...), developing new types of services for the inhabitants and the users of the site, promoting activities that support citizen health and wellness, or designing  public space to foster activity and connectedness. Besides upgrading the site itself, proposals must therefore also contribute to improving the wider precinct or neighbourhood in which it is located.

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