C40 Reinventing Cities: Not just a competition, a necessity

C40 – A network of 96 cities worldwide

Climate change is happening. It’s not fiction. It’s not fake news. It’s real. And according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, we have just 12 years to limit the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming.

There’s no doubt that the public and private sectors need to come together in bigger and better ways to achieve this. Luckily, C40 Cities is attempting to lead the charge by bringing Paris Agreement goals to the ground level. A network of 96 cities worldwide, C40 encourages city governments across the globe to collaborate, share knowledge, and hold open conversations about sustainable actions.

To further their mission, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership group initiated the Reinventing Cities competition in November 2017. The goals for Reinventing Cities are numerous and the potential impact of the participating projects is immense. The competition aims to drive public policy that supports sustainable development and bring to life multi-sector projects that deliver low carbon urbanizations and reduce the impact of emissions coming from the built environment.

Reinventing Cities emphasizes creative solutions that benefit citizens in select cities now and inspire replication in other cities moving forward. Over a year into the competition, the results of Phase 1 are in—over 80 projects at 25 sites in 12 cities have made the finals. Project teams include architects, engineers, real estate developers, and various design and environmental consulting groups.

What will a reinvented city look like? It’s clear from the competition finalists that the best path to large scale change is through community-scale interventions. Development sites in the finals range from abandoned buildings and carparks to underused public spaces and empty lots — all small slices of a city with the potential for sustainable urbanization and enhanced social welfare.


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

A finalist in Montreal, Canoë, intends to activate the historic Cour de voirie de la Commune into a “hub for thinkers and creators involved in reinventing the city to make Montreal more sustainable, inclusive, efficient while it shares and connects to similar hubs around the world.” Cour de voirie de la Commune is positioned as a gateway to the city, making it the perfect spot to test out sustainable design strategies that benefit residents and visitors alike.

Based around the idea of a “green heart”, development plans for Canoë set forth a newly envisioned center of community with affordable housing, transportation infrastructure, retail and commerce spaces, and gathering points – each supported with detailed research on energy use, green building techniques, and climate adaptive resilient strategies.

The Canoë consortium brings together architects and consultants including White Arkitekter AB, Rubin & Rotman Architects, ARUP, Convercité, and Metabuild, all of whom will collaborate on planning, design, and building if the project wins the Montreal portion of the Reinventing Cities competition. Playing a key role alongside architects, Metabuild will identify optimal combinations of building components like materials, glazing, heating and cooling systems for maximum energy efficiency and comfort.

Canoë will set the stage for Montreal and cities the world over to build new sustainable centers of civic life. The project demonstrates the possibilities of collaboration and community engagement for realistic and lasting sustainable development that will help the fight against global warming.

Speaking about Reinventing Cities, architect Sou Fujimoto says, “This is a vision for the future, to integrate nature and architecture together, to create new lifestyles for people.” Just as they have played a big role in creating large amounts of carbon emissions, the building and construction industries have the opportunity to lead their reduction in the future and create healthier, happier cities.

Cooperation like that of the Canoë team and the use of innovative technologies help us design and plan for less wasteful, energy consuming buildings, reducing the drastic effects of climate change is possible.