RELEASE: WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities Awarded to ‘Todos al Parque,’ by the Mayor’s Office of the City of Barranquilla, Colombia
NEW YORK, NY (February 1, 2023) – World Resources Institute presented the $250,000-grand prize for the 2021-2022 WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities to Todos al Parque (“Everyone to the Park”), a long-standing parks and public greenspaces project by the Mayor’s Office of the City of Barranquilla, Colombia. Thanks to the initiative, 93% of Barranquilla residents now live within an 8-minute walk of an urban green space.
An independent jury of urban leaders selected Todos al Parque from among 5 finalists carefully chosen from 260 applications representing 155 cities in 65 countries. Embodying the Prize cycle theme of “Thriving Together in Turbulent Times,” Todos al Parque shows how public investment can achieve a more socially and spatially equitable distribution of public green spaces.
“While Todos al Parque may have started as a parks project, it has revitalized the entire city’s landscape and improved the well-being of every person in Barranquilla, starting with those who needed it most,” said Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO of World Resources Institute. “Todos al Parque’s success is a timely reminder that inclusive and green spaces are essential to building urban resilience, from boosting local employment and public health to bringing communities closer together—on top of climate and biodiversity benefits. This public spaces-driven city revitalization strategy is something every city can learn from.”
Since its inception in 2011, Todos al Parque has created nearly 1.5 million square meters of green areas. Within 100 meters of these parks, thefts have declined and local economies have flourished. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the parks system hosted testing and vaccinations sites, food markets and activities such as outdoor fitness classes with more than 39,000 participants.
“This award belongs to all Barranquilleros who have co-created and backed this project for over a decade and continue to inspire transformative change across our city. Todos al Parque transformed communities and lives because we built them together,” Jamie Pumarejo, Mayor of the City of Barranquilla.
Business leader, philanthropist and Prize Jury Chairman Stephen M. Ross presented the $250,000 grand prize to Barranquilla Mayor Jaime Pumarejo at the Ford Foundation for Social Justice in New York. Four additional finalist projects, from Iloilo City, The Philippines; Odisha, India; Paris, France; and Peshawar, Pakistan, won $25,000 each.
“Cities hold the key to green transformation,” said Ross, Chairman and Founder of Related Companies. “Recognizing what is working and encouraging others to do the same is fundamental to real and positive urban renewal. All of the Prize finalists demonstrate the leadership and ingenuity necessary to lead the world to a brighter future beyond the pandemic, even as we face climate change and other urgent crises.”
Recognizing the confluence of challenges facing cities today — from COVID-19 recovery to climate change and growing urban inequality — WRI sought diverse responses to disruption and crises for the 2021-22 Prize cycle. To determine the winner, each of the finalists demonstrated an innovative approach, impact on residents’ lives and scalability to other cities.
In Iloilo City, the Homeless People’s Federation Philippines and the city government addressed an acute flood risk and housing crisis by working directly with communities to ensure they were not uprooted their jobs and support systems during relocation to safer sites.
During India’s COVID-19 lockdown, the Department of Housing and Urban Development of the Government of Odisha State pioneered an innovative mass employment scheme for migrants, informal workers and the urban poor that created climate-sensitive infrastructure in more than 100 cities. It has now been replicated by other Indian states at a massive scale.
In Paris, the mayor’s offices and Chaire ETI sparked a global movement to tackle car dominance, climate change and urban inequality by bringing the “15-minute city” to life. Now, more and more urban residents across the world have access to services and amenities at their doorsteps.
And in Peshawar, TransPeshawar is putting vulnerable people at the center of the city’s new public transit system, unlocking life-changing opportunities for women and children by increasing access to jobs, education and healthcare for all.
“All of the finalists are exceptionally creative and dedicated in their approach to improving people’s lives: rethinking priorities, innovating processes, building new coalitions and putting the most vulnerable first,” said Anne Maassen, Global Lead for the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities. “They not only responded to crises, but they made their cities better able to withstand future shocks. Their work will have long-lasting legacies.”
Todos al Parque joins two previous grand prize winners. The 2020-2021 grand prize was awarded to Sustainable Food Production for a Resilient Rosario, a far-reaching urban agriculture program from the municipality of Rosario, Argentina. In 2019, the inaugural grand prize was awarded to School Area Road Safety and Improvements (SARSAI), a program by the non-profit Amend, for its highly impactful and replicable approach to creating safer journeys to school for children in Dar es Salaam and other African cities.
In addition to cash awards, the 2021-2022 finalists received 3D sand-printed trophies, which were sustainably created by designer Lucio Traficante, a native of Rosario, Argentina. His dynamic and intricate design, “The Mobius Strip,” symbolizes the infinite relationship and complex connections between cities and nature.
About World Resources Institute
World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization with offices in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, and regional offices for Africa and Europe. Our 1,700 staff work with partners to develop practical solutions that improve people’s lives and ensure nature can thrive. Learn more: WRI.org and on Twitter @WorldResources.
About WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities is World Resources Institute’s program dedicated to shaping a future where cities work better for everyone. It enables more connected, compact and coordinated cities. The Center expands the transport and urban development expertise of the EMBARQ network to catalyze innovative solutions in other sectors, including air quality, water, buildings, land use and energy. It combines the research excellence of WRI with two decades of on-the-ground impact through a network of more than 400 experts working from Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Turkey and the United States to make cities around the world better places to live. More information at www.wrirosscities.org or on Twitter @WRIRossCities.