Open Call Transformative Cities Initiative

Publication date:

Transnational Institute (TNI) is launching the Transformative Cities Initiative in 2017. The initiative draws on the emerging wave of transformative political practices taking place at municipal level worldwide, by launching a unique award process that will ensure that the lessons and inspiration of these cities becomes viral.

About open call transformative cities initiative


Transformative Cities is an opportunity for progressive local governments, municipalist coalitions, social movements and civil society organizations to popularize and share their experiences of tackling and finding solutions to our planet’s systemic economic, social, political and ecological crisis.

We aspire to organize a new model of awards, one which is participatory, inspirational, and rooted in exchange and learning. A process where there are not winners and losers, but rather the emergence of an atlas of political practices that with their inspiring stories speed up a process of systemic transformation towards a more democratic, equal, peaceful world that lives within its ecological limits.

What is a transformative city?

We do not have definite answers, and we expect to solve these questions collectively. We see cities broadly as the location for place-based struggles for basic rights. Transformative recognises that these struggles have succeeded in articulating a social majority that has been able to transform their city or defined environment.

Transformative cities will have a democratic and feminist character, seeking to build a post-capitalist world despite not necessarily knowing yet what exactly that it means. They will be based on not-for-profit practices that respond to the planetary limits and are based on social empowerment. These practices will have measurable results since they have been implemented successfully, and finally and very importantly, they will be practices that can be replicated in other regions and places.

Our vision for this project is very big, but we will start small, the first edition of the award (2017) will look at three issues: Energy, Water and Housing. We expect to organize at least four annual awards and expand to other issues in the future.

How to apply?

Applicants will have to fill in the application form attached to this page and send it to

A small group of experts facilitated by TNI - activists, scholars and communicators - will review all submitted applications to verify t eligibility based on the established criteria. After the first award, TNI will publish all our methodological proposals under a creative commons licence. We hope to strengthen it with the collective wisdom and experience of those interested in this initiative.

How does the Award work?

From all the applicants, 30 will be selected as semi-finalists. These will be asked to fill in an extended questionnaire in order to score them according to the established indicators. This will also help build an Index that will be made public in October 2017.

The top 3 cities’ experiences per issue will then are written up by a local journalist commissioned by the Transformative Cities Initiative. The story will combine written and multimedia content. Those 9 stories will be published in January 2018 for an online popular vote in order to draw wider public attention.

And who wins?

Although the popular vote will decide on a ‘winner’, the goal of this initiative is not to create competition between diverse political practices. Our aim is to put a spotlight on transformative practices and encourage their spread internationally. TNI wants to show to the wider public that "transformation is possible" and encourage learning and exchange to deepen transformative practices.

Beyond the award, TNI also seeks to engage all participants in ongoing collaborative experiences. One of those opportunities will be the annual New Politics Conference organised by TNI and its partners: to which we will invite cities – both those starting out and those with consolidated practices to exchange and learn. All results and lessons will be published under Creative Commons licence.

Deadline: All applicants should submit their filled questionnaire by 31st of October 2017 11.59pm GMT+1.

If you have any questions, please write to