Galvanizing Renewable Energy, Nutrition, Environment, Water, and Waste (RENEWW) Innovation Zones in Peri-Urban Communities, where everyone lives, works, eats, and thrives sustainably.

By 2030, impoverished peri-urban areas are expected to double in size to almost two billion people. Rapid urbanization and population growth is already outpacing many city governments’ ability to extend basic services to slums and informal settlements, while centralized legacy water and sewer infrastructure systems are breaking down. How will cities that cannot meet their populations’ needs for sustainable water, food, energy and sanitation now be able to meet them in future?  

URBAN PROSPERITY PRIZE (UPP): In response to this challenge, the United States is catalyzing a partnership of civil society, businesses, academia, and grassroots organizations to build capacity and harness innovations at the nexus of food, energy, water, and other systems that support and foster inclusive, sustainable, healthy and resilient communities in poor peri-urban areas. To stimulate the development of game-changing solutions, we are launching a highly leveraged, incentivized urban prosperity prize competition that pushes the limits of what’s possible, captures the world’s imagination, spurs new thinking, and accelerates change through the creation of RENEWW Zones.

RENEWW ZONES:  RENEWW Zones are decentralized, closed-loop models of spatial planning and peri-urban service provision that replace fossil energy with renewables; derive new water, biogas, and fertilizer from wastewater; and produce food and biofuel with the recycled inputs, all co-generated at near net-zero waste. Each RENEWW Zone would offer a green space for community recreation; recycling and sanitation services; as well as a place to purchase fresh food, recycled goods, biofuels and safe drinking water, all within walking or cycling distance. Ideally, well-planned, RENEWW Zones placed at the outer edge of existing informal settlements would provide a basis for adjacent planned urban extensions. RENEWW Zone business models would create local employment, reinvest profits to support operational costs, and engender new public and private financing. Profitable Zones would scale through replication as local private investors realize the potential profit in serving society’s bottom billion.

For more information view the RENEWW Zone Urban Prosperity Prize summary here.

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