Ashoka and Vía Célere join forces to promote innovation in sustainability of cities

  • The ‘Future Cities’ project will identify three teams of social entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 28 who are contributing to the development of safer, more inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities
  • Both entities are in line with the UN agenda with the focus on the Sustainable Development Goals
  • The initiative responds to the need to promote social innovation in cities as well as a change in attitude towards the role of citizens, and young people, in resolving these challenges.

Ashoka, a non-profit foundation focusing on social innovation, and Vía Célere, a real estate developer specializing in the development, investment and management of residential assets, have launched Future Cities, an initiative that aims to find three projects by young social entrepreneurs that promote the inclusive and sustainable development of cities.

Future Cities responds to the need to promote social innovation in cities, to allow the development and implementation of new solutions that can deal with stagnant problems, as well as a change in attitude towards the role of citizens, and young people, in resolving these challenges.

From 17 May to 26 June, Future Cities will open a call for three projects led by young people between the ages of 18 and 28 who are having a direct impact on the transformation of cities and the life of communities, addressing challenges such as: reducing the negative environmental impact of cities, promoting a more sustainable building, guaranteeing universal access to housing and adequate and accessible services, among others.

Likewise, they will consider initiatives that make use of the collaborative economy, promote more inclusive urban environments, provide quality employment or offer support to the least developed countries, to help them build sustainable and resilient buildings using local materials. 

Ashoka and Vía Célere will develop a 3-month mentoring programme with the winning projects. They will work with Vía Célere employees to carry out their initiatives and strengthen their sustainability strategy. In addition, the programme will provide a solution to their most pressing challenges, and strengthen their capacity to create teams, leadership and generate major changes in their environment. In addition to the programme, three scholarships of €1,000 will be awarded to each of the selected projects.

To participate, teams must contain at least two people between the ages of 18 and 28, who can only submit a single application. In addition, their entrepreneurial initiative must be already in operation.

A change in attitude towards the development of solutions for cities

Cities are hotbeds for progress, but there are many problems that threaten their sustainable growth. In 2015, around 4 billion people (54% of the world’s population) lived in cities and projections indicate that the number will increase to approximately 5 billion by 2030. These processes entail important difficulties such as the lack of access to decent housing, pollution, uncontrolled urban growth, social exclusion, which lead to inequality and poverty.

For this purpose, it is necessary to encourage younger citizens to seek solutions, to contribute innovative ideas and tackle the most urgent challenges in our cities.

In this context, Ashoka and Vía Célere implemented a social innovation strategy within the company in 2017, to accompany Vía Célere as an engine of economic and social change and to allow them to strengthen their potential for social impact, with the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework. Future Cities is the next step in this collaboration.