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23 Solutions to Change the Future of Cities

23 Solutions to Change the Future of Cities

Published 05-15-13

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22 global cities, including London, Barcelona, Paris, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Lagos and Fukuoka have announced the 23 innovative solutions they selected to solve their most pressing urban and social challenges. In a unique global effort, these 22 forward-thinking cities opened their challenges to innovators worldwide via the LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future Programme. Out of 2,500 candidates, a total of 456 solutions competed for the opportunity to implement their solution in real-life, responding to challenges in areas such as as social exclusion, energy management, urban dereliction, tourism, ageing and health. Each of the 23 winning solutions announced during the LLGA | Cities Summit in San Francisco have committed to co-invest in the participating cities to help improve the lives of 121 million citizens.

In the first LLGA | Cities Summit held in a North American City, public leaders from 22 global cities revealed the innovative solutions that best meet strategic challenges in a variety of fields like Making outside Seating Areas More Sustainable in Paris; a Storm Response Coordinating Tool for San Francisco; a Transformational lighting System in post-earthquake Christchurch (New Zealand); Digital Tools For Better Healthier Ageing in Mexico City; Sustainable Urban Mobility in Maringá (Brasil); and Regenerating Neighbourhoods Using Vacant Spaces in Barcelona. The coming 12 months will see the cities and solution providers join forces to implement the innovations that will help improve the quality of lives of citizens and shape the future of their cities.

On 14 May 2013, leaders of the 22 partner cities and the 120 nominated solution providers came together at the LLGA | Cities Summit in San Francisco to deepen their partnerships, announce the 23 most promising solutions, debate their challenges, and kick-start implementation.

San Francisco Mayor, Ed Lee, says: “San Francisco is excited to be the first city in the United States to host the LLGA | Cities Summit. San Francisco, as the Innovation Capital of the World, will facilitate a vigorous exchange of ideas and help develop innovative solutions to common urban challenges including transportation, the environment and healthcare that will build a better world.”

The winning solutions are:

Barcelona (Spain): Turning empty Space into an opportunity by 3Space

Boston (USA): Underground Technologies Elevation Units by Quality Water Products

Christchurch (NZ): Philips Lighting Control systems- a solution for the new Christchurch by Philips Eindhoven (The Netherlands): Contactless tags to bridge real and virtual worlds by Connecthings

Fukuoka (Japan): Guidebook by Guidebook

L'Hospitalet (Spain): NANA (Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Ageing) by NANA

Lagos (Nigeria): Wireless Lagos: Free & Far Reaching by OTG Playa Entity LLC

Lavasa (India): Enabling Livelihoods by LabourNet

London (UK) 1: Realtime Energy Opportunity System (REOS) by Brighter Planet Technology Services

London (UK) 2: Delivering Scalable Energy Efficiency in Global Cities by First Fuel

Maringá (Brazil): Modern Urban Transport Information by Clever Devices

Mexico City (Mexico): Butler, improving elderly wellbeing by Universidad Jaume I de Castellón

Oulu (Finland): Augmented Museum Tour by metaio

Paris (France): Urban Parasol by Urban Parasol

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil): Online Emergency Triage Training Platform by Virtualwaregroup

Rosario (Argentina): Sustain-A-Raisers! by Global Awareness Local Action

San Francisco (USA): ClickSoftware Field Service Optimization by ClickSoftware

Sant Cugat (Spain): estonoesunsolar by pdimonte

Sheffield (UK) 1: Econotherm - Waste heat to District Heating by Econotherm

Sheffield (UK) 2: Borehole Thermal Energy Storage by - REHAU

Tacoma (USA): OPOS: One Planet Operating System for Cities by BioRegional

Terrassa (Spain): CityMakers by The Good Life For All

York (UK): Sunday Streets and Play Streets For All by Livable City

The LLGA winners reflect the many approaches available to solve cities’ problems ranging from the technological to the social. For example, on the technological side, OTG Playa answers Lagos’ need to bring digital connectivity in bandwidth-challenged environments. OTG Playa proposes to deploy a network of boxes, which will broadcast a wireless internet cloud that is open and free to anyone in the area. This solution shows how civic technology businesses can help solve some of the most urgent global needs even in areas with limited urban services and infrastructures. On the other hand, 3Space, winner for Barcelona, is an innovative charity which unlocks the potential of empty commercial property by making it available for temporary community use. This responds, in a non-technological way, to the widely experienced problem in many cities of urban decay and dereliction.

Big empty shop Experiment by Centre for Policy & Enterprise in Creative Industries, University of Glamorgan. Location: 3Space Cardiff space. Photo by: Andy Pearsall

Sascha Haselmayer, CEO of says: “LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future has transformed the way cities and the innovation community collaborate. With the announcement of 23 winning solutions, selected out of more than 2,500 candidates, companies and organizations from around the world have shown their enthusiasm and ability to collaborate with cities in solving the most pressing urban and social challenges today.”

The participation of cities and solution providers in LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future is a joint commitment to spread proven innovations in a more cost-effective and sustainable way, helping build more resilient and smarter communities. 557,000 local governments spend $4.5 trillion each year to deliver the services that shape the quality of life of the majority of the world’s population.

The LLGA initiative helps cities discover innovative, yet ready solutions to meet their problems and matches their commitment to act with the willingness of businesses and organisations to share early risks. Past editions of LLGA have proven that this process can deliver solutions to citizens at least 3 times faster and at 80% lower costs by leveraging smart solutions and avoiding re-invention.

Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona, says: “LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future is a great opportunity to identify and share solutions to the global challenges that cities are facing. Every city is a world in itself, and we are living in an urban world, this is why it is so important to identify those common problems which require shared solutions. Barcelona has participated in all LLGA editions, and shares the vision of this transparent process with leading technology companies, social entrepreneurs, and international research centers. Furthermore, LLGA is a great opportunity for Catalan companies to join in and participate in this global process.”

Next to the 22 Partner Cities, LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future is supported by a global group of strategic partners including the City of San Francisco, Oracle, The Climate Group, and the UN Global Compact Cities Programme.

About / LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future is a global marketplace for cities based in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Barcelona (Spain), working with more than 80 cities and 1,200 companies, NGOs and research centers in

Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Its mission is to accelerate the sharing of solutions for cities by matching social and urban challenges early-on with ready solutions around the world. In the past four years has published 70 Calls for Solutions. and its one-of a kind program LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future, has been recognized by leading global organizations such as the Clinton Global Initiative, the UN Global Compact Cities Programme and Ashoka Innovators for the Public for its transformative impact on improving decision-making, transparency and accountability in cities around the world.

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For information about LLGA visit and

About Oracle
Oracle’s City Platform solutions leverage the company’s best-in-class portfolio of products to address complex business processes relevant to the public sector, helping speed time to market, reduce costs and gain a competitive edge.

For more information about Oracle, visit

About The Climate Group
The Climate Group is an independent, not-for-profit organization, which brings together a global coalition of the world’s most powerful governments, brands and public figures across Asia, Europe and North America. Since 2004, they’ve been working with governments, business leaders and the world’s most influential individuals to push for the policies, technologies and investment we need to make the Clean Revolution commercially viable. Together, we have the power to create a smarter, better, more prosperous future for all.

For more information about The Climate Group, visit

About the UN Global Compact Cities Programme
The UN Global Compact Cities Programme was initiated by former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan in 2003. It is a discrete component of the Global Compact, based in Melbourne and New York. The UN Global Compact Cities Programme provides an innovative framework for cities to develop and implement sustainable solutions to urban challenges of a long-term and often intractable nature. It was developed in response to the need to rethink sustainability approaches and to enable meaningful engagement of cities across all their activities—economic, ecological, political and cultural. By utilizing a common methodology, ‘Circles of Sustainability’, UN Global Compact Cities Programme combines the knowledge, experience and resources inherent within municipalities, business and civil society to bring together the strengths of each.

For more information about The UN Global Compact Cities Programme, visit logo

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen and Barcelona working with 50 global cities and 500 businesses, research and technology centres to promote the use of new technologies to meet some of the major challenges meeting cities today.

Cities include Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry-Londonderry, Eindhoven, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Mexico City, New Taipei City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile, Tainan, and Terrassa.

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