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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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The Review Jury of the 2012 Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation Announces Five Winning Cities, Hosting Award Ceremony and Panel Discussion on Urban Development

NEW YORK and GUANGZHOU, China, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Review Jury of the 2012 Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation today announced the five winning cities in urban-development initiatives: Kocaeli (Turkey), Lilongwe (Malawi), Seoul (Korea), Vancouver (Canada), Vienna (Austria).

Amid the rapidly changing social, economic and environmental context of the 21st century, urban areas worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges in strategically planning for community involvement, social economic engagement, public service and administrative management.

Only cities that have planned well for the future can fully enjoy the fruits of sustainable development. For example, Turkey's Kocaeli City organized a holistic campaign to educate youngsters on emergency monitoring and management, while the city of Seoul in Korea developed and implemented a transparent procurement system to prevent youth prostitution and rehabilitate Internet addicts.

"How to face the common challenges, such as urban population growth, environment pollution and unemployment is a universal question. The winning initiatives covering emergency management, citizen involvement in urban governance and other areas demonstrated the major focus of our award –innovation," said Jianhua Chen, the mayor of the award's hosting city Guangzhou, China. "Urban innovation experiences are borderless, and we hope that the successful experiences of the award winning cities will become precious assets for all the cities in the world."

On the night of the award ceremony on November 16, nearly 1,700 policy makers, government officials, business professionals and academic experts gathered to celebrate the 2012 Guangzhou Award. Attendees included mayors from cities around the world, chief executive officers from leading companies and chief officers from the United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) and the World Association of Major Metropolises.

"The five award winning cities come from five different continents and represent very different social, cultural and institutional contexts. But what they all share is a willingness to tackle not just problems that they are facing today but also some important challenges that will shape their tomorrow. The lessons to be learned from their experiences can be of benefit to many other cities around the world and to humanity," said Nicholas You, Co-Chair of the Review Jury and Chairman of the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign Steering Committee.

Initially the organizing Committee reviewed all of the 255 initiatives submitted by 153 cities from 56 countries and regions based on the criteria of innovativeness, effectiveness, replicability and significance. All of the 15 short-listed projects and the 30 deserving projects, which the Committee further recommended for special commendation, will be on free exhibition to the public.

Mr. Kerry Jang, Deputy Mayor of Vancouver, said that he was glad that the Greenest City Project was recognized with approval. "We have been striving to make Vancouver home for everyone and we believe our actions to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, can provide an inspirational framework for other cities to adapt according to their local needs."

"It is a great honor for the City of Vienna and an acknowledgment for our integrative and environmental measures and a possibility to share our experiences with other cities with a high number of migrants from all over the world," said Mr. Goran Novakovic, the head of Vienna Delegation, "Vienna was recognized as the most sustainable city in 2012 and sees its future in environmental technology and protection of nature as well as the increasing migrants to our city."

Mr. Gift Dalitso Kasamira, the City Development Strategy Manager, said winning the award was a significant achievement for Lilongwe with the city now being recognized on an international level for its ambitious city development strategy which empowered its citizens economically and sanitarily.

China just concluded its 18th CPC National Congress and scientific outlook on development became CPC's theoretical guidance. Guangzhou, the award's hosting city, has led the country's economic reform, environmental protection, and opening up to the international community ever since China started its economic reform more than 30 years ago.

Guangzhou is one of the strongest growth engines of China's rapid economic growth. Its average GDP per capita of $15,000 ranked the third in the country. Over the years, Guangzhou has built citywide infrastructures to develop a sustainable growth model and a smarter urban environment with the purpose of happy and harmonious living for its residents. It has consistently made great efforts in urban innovations, such as providing affordable housing for low-income families, supporting green energies and assisting new material industries.

Guangzhou has partnered with 31 cities in 28 countries as sister cities. With a history of more than 2,200 years, Guangzhou also boasts a rich civilization and exceptional historical heritages to the international award for urban innovations.

About Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation

The concept of the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation (abbreviated as Guangzhou Award) is derived from the city's long-term cooperation with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) from its foundation in 2004 and with the World Association of Major Metropolises (Metropolis) since 1993.

Co-hosted by UCLG, Metropolis, and Guangzhou Municipal Government, the Guangzhou Award aims to reward innovations to improve the socio-economic environments in cities and regions, promote sustainability, and hence advance the livelihood of their citizens. Presented biennially, the award will encourage and recognize outstanding innovative projects and practices in the public sector.

Against the background of a rapidly changing social, economic and environmental context in the 21st century, the Guangzhou Award contributes to the progress of city performances by promoting innovations in the public sector and presenting a platform for cities and regions around the world to share and disseminate their achievements.

The award is open to all cities and local governments, including members of Metropolis and UCLG as well as other cities. Applicants can submit innovative achievements in such thematic fields as Public Services, Organization and Administration, Partnership and Citizen Involvement, Smart City, Sustainable City, and others. The Guangzhou Award will be granted to up to 5 winners. Each of the winners will be awarded with USD 20,000, apart from a trophy and a certificate. Winners will also be invited to attend side events including seminars and exhibitions on urban innovation.

For more information about the Guangzhou International Awards for Urban Innovation, please visit: http://www.guangzhouaward.org/.

SOURCE Guangzhou International Awards

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