Guangzhou Municipality

Urban Innovation

Mainstreaming Urban Innovation: the 5th edition of the Guangzhou Award unveils shortlisted and deserving projects by Metropolis members

The Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation reinforces its leading role as an international accelerator for exchanging the knowledge, expertise and experience gathered from successful initiatives, and on how to make cities and regions more liveable and sustainable. The “Release of the 5th Guangzhou Award”, which brings together 273 initiatives from 175 local and regional governments, was released on 3 February.

The online event included representatives from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Guangzhou Municipality, the Technical Committee for the Award and the event co-organisers, Metropolis and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).


“The Guangzhou Award has been able to mobilise hundreds of initiatives around the world, representing cities’ determination to fight the pandemic.”, Guan Litong


While the Award’s main focus remains on the three pillars of sustainable development defined by the United Nations—economic, social and environmental—, two additional areas have been added—technology and governance. More specifically, the response of local and regional governments to the Covid-19 crisis was the key theme of the event. Cities around the world have gained their own unique experiences, and it is therefore of the utmost importance to share this knowledge among cities worldwide.

As Guan Litong, Deputy Director General of the Department of European and Asian Affairs for the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, stated: “The Guangzhou Award has been able to mobilise hundreds of initiatives around the world, representing cities’ determination to fight the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Octavi de la Varga, Metropolis Secretary General, stressed the following: “The Covid-19 pandemic has put cities and local governments on the front line in looking for creative solutions, and this is what the Guangzhou Award is all about—creativity and innovation are at the heart of the Award.”

Metropolis members were well represented, with Antananarivo, Chongqing and Quito among the shortlisted cities. In addition, nine Metropolis members were named as deserving cities: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Gauteng, Gaziantep, Goyang, Guadalajara, Rosario and Tehran. Indeed, Metropolis has been one of the main partners for the Guangzhou Award since its first edition, encouraging global cities and metropolitan spaces around the world to submit their projects.

“Covid-19 has changed our society and enhanced some of our pre-existing knowledge. Both Metropolis and UCLG play a key role in ensuring that the Guangzhou Award inspires others and is part and parcel of our policy recommendations for the future”, highlighted Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General.

During the event, Xiuqing Sun, Deputy Secretary General of Guangzhou Municipal Government, took the opportunity to express that it was an honour for Guangzhou Municipality to hold the Metropolis presidency, and reminded participants that Guangzhou will host the World Mayor’s Forum, the 13th Metropolis World Congress and the 5th Guangzhou Award this year.