The submissions – and we at the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities received more than 90 entries from over 40 countries around the world – are very revealing.
What the photographers tried to communicate was a need: both the urgent need for infrastructure that leads to more resilient, sustainable cities, or a need to aspire to greener ideals of building sustainable communities for all.
There is no better day than today, World Cities Day, for us to share with you the 10 finalists – including 3 winners and an honorable mention for climate action – of the photo competition.
In the winning photo by Yanick Folly, one can practically feel the chaos of a city in Benin, the smell of exhaust fumes as cars crawl up alongside motorcycles and pedestrians down narrow alleyways.
Yanick Folly (Benin) – Winner
The photo is also a reminder that cities are made of people. Any set of solutions for “sustainable cities” will have to make sense to a city’s inhabitants, who tread its streets daily.
In other photos, the aspiration is palpable.
Many of the photographers are nationals of developing countries from all over the world. Yet quite a few of them shared photos of cities we regard as environmentally friendly: Singapore, Amsterdam, London, and Paris... We saw many photos of parks in developed countries, and heard the same message: These green spaces and pedestrian walkways are what we want in a city.
Adedapo Adesemowo (UK / Nigeria)
We received photos of what many of us may categorize as rural areas, but we should reconsider these preconceptions: some “cities” in developing countries are little more than makeshift towns.
So, it is all the more reason why we are excited about this winning photo by Oyewolo Eyitayo from Nigeria. You might think this is an uneventful photograph of a typical urban suburb. Except that the half dirt roads are lined with solar panels.
Oyelowo Eyitayo (Nigeria) – Winner
Indeed, cities in low or middle-income countries may be candidates of “leapfrogging.” Perhaps the solar panels powering this town is only part of the city’s larger aspirations for renewable energy for all. Perhaps the modest bungalows lining this street all have wireless connectivity as well.
If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, then we hope that this photo represents the future of thousands of sustainable cities.
Take a moment to enjoy and share the finalists of the Sustainable Cities photo competition, and tell us what #SustainableCities look like to you.
Juan Pablo Angulo Salazar (Colombia) – Winner
- Second Annual Meeting of the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities | New Delhi, India | October 30-November 2, 2017
- World Bank on Urban Development
- Blog post: “Better Planning, Better Cities” – Cities to share smart solutions to urban sustainability
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