The Cities CHALLENGE 2.0 is an initiative led by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH  (GIZ), in partnership with Cities Alliance and UN-Habitat. It aims at piloting innovative solutions for sustainable planning and building and contributing to the creation of climate-adapted, connected, and liveable neighbourhoods.

The programme has four key objectives :

  • Mainstreaming: to effectively disseminate guiding principles from the German development cooperation on sustainable urban development and make them visible in concrete terms.
  • Reality Check: to match approaches from policy advice with partner needs and priorities on the ground.
  • Experimentation: to test tools and methodological approaches for implementation and put the experiential knowledge of bilateral projects and partners to good use.
  • Portfolio development: to further develop technical and methodological approaches for needs-based, implementable and transformative technical cooperation.
Cities CHALLENGES 2.0 project. Photo: GIZ
The Urban Living Labs

In the current edition of the Cities CHALLENGES 2.0 (2022/2023), four projects from South Africa, India, Mexico, and Bangladesh, were selected through a call for proposals. The projects, so-called Urban Living Labs (ULL) are small-scale interventions at the neighbourhood level in the context of multi-actor partnerships to achieve global agendas and development goals. They contribute to the creation of climate-adapted, connected, and liveable neighbourhoods in their cities.

Each ULL is granted 100,000 EUR. The funding is used to undertake sustainable construction and upgrading activities, as well as greening initiatives at the neighbourhood level. They improve the quality of public spaces, the social infrastructure, the living conditions, and the resilience of the residents. 

The Labs bring together different levels of government, civil society, private sector actors and the local communities to promote participatory and multidisciplinary interventions. They are primarily implemented by local cooperation partners and NGOs in coordination with GIZ.

The first edition of the Cities CHALLENGE in 2019, supported initiatives in  Ecuador, Jordan, Namibia and Serbia. 

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