Implementing Solutions

Healthy Cities

How can urban residents design and live in environments that promote physical and mental health?

Submissions are Closed

Challenge Overview

By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population, or 6.7 billion people, will reside in cities, some of which are yet to be built. Urban migration is a chance for many to improve their lives, with easier access to goods and services, and higher-paying jobs. But living in cities and slums exposes residents to serious health risks. Nine out of ten of the top causes of death globally, including chronic respiratory disease, diarrheal diseases, and traffic incidents, are affected by the way cities are planned and built. By keeping health at the center of urban development, we have the opportunity to improve the health, happiness, and longevity of billions of citizens globally.

Today’s urban and slum residents face a multitude of challenges to their physical and mental well-being. Densely populated slums, home to one-third of the world’s urban population, have underdeveloped infrastructure and sanitation systems and are breeding grounds for infectious disease and vector-borne illnesses. Living in urban areas can cause or worsen non-communicable diseases: air pollution is linked to heart and lung diseases, and lack of access to nutritious food and green space contribute to obesity and diabetes. Violence, transportation incidents, and overcrowding are major risks to physical safety and mental health.

Cities that promote exercise and healthy eating, incorporate green space, limit traffic and crowds, ensure clean air and water, and make health services easily accessible to those most in need, such as the poor and elderly, are critical to the health of all. These characteristics are also critical to reduce costs for local governments, and increase productivity for businesses. New enterprises, technology, and innovation that address urban health risks are integral to designing, building, and retrofitting cities that make people of all ages and abilities healthier and happier.

The Solve community aims to support solutions focused on improving the mental and physical health of people in cities and slums by:

  • Preventing infectious disease outbreaks and vector-borne illnesses caused by overcrowding, poor sanitation, and dirty water;

  • Reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases caused by air pollution, lack of physical activity, or unhealthy food;

  • Promoting physical safety by decreasing incidents of violence or transportation accidents; and

  • Enabling equitable access to affordable and effective health services, especially through community health workers and clinics, for those most underserved.

Solver Funding, Prize, and Partnership Eligibility for the Healthy Cities Challenge

Solver Funding

All solutions selected for Solve’s four current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve. Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly week in New York City on September 22, 2019.

In addition to Solve funding, the following prizes are available to Solver teams selected for the Healthy Cities Challenge. To be considered for a prize, complete the prize-specific question within the application. You do not need to meet these requirements to apply to the Healthy Cities Challenge:

AI Innovations Prize

Solutions that are propelled by advanced computing techniques or that leverage artificial intelligence to address the Challenge are eligible for the AI Innovations Prize. This prize is made possible by The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation and Schmidt Futures. The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and our global community through neuroscience research and information technology. Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt that bets early on people who will make our world better — helping people to achieve more for others by applying advanced science and technology thoughtfully and by working together across fields. Up to $500,000 will be granted across several recipients selected for the prize. Eligible Solver teams may be selected from any of Solve's four current Global Challenges.

Innovating Together for Healthy Cities Prize

The Innovating Together for Healthy Cities Prize is open to projects that focus on preventing or managing infectious disease or vector-borne illness in cities or slums. To achieve its goal, the selected solution could, for example, leverage technology, a new application of an existing technology, or a process innovation that improves coordination, communication, or systems efficiency to achieve its goal. Solutions that take a holistic or multifaceted approach to solving the problem (for example, by integrating elements from disparate sectors) are strongly preferred. To be considered, solutions must discuss how community engagement has been central to their design process. This prize is made possible by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s global health initiative, which is committed to eliminating preventable diseases that affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. One prize recipient will receive $75,000 after being selected as a Solver during Solve Challenge Finals in September.

Everytown for Gun Safety Prize

Holistic, community-based solutions that use technology to make communities safer are eligible for up to $100,000 in grant funding provided by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. Selected solutions will contribute to reductions in gun violence and its impacts through the use of data or digital technology. Successful approaches can address the upstream drivers of gun violence, such as poverty or access to firearms, and/or the downstream impacts, such as psychological trauma. Solutions that utilize data should source, maintain, and use that data ethically and responsibly. Solver team(s) will be selected to receive the prize from the Healthy Cities or Community-Driven Innovation Challenges.

Innovation for Women Prize

Solutions that use innovative technology to improve the quality of life for women and girls are eligible for the Innovation for Women Prize. This prize is funded by the Vodafone Americas Foundation, which supports technology-focused projects to advance the needs of women and girls, and to promote a world where women’s voices can be celebrated. Up to $75,000 will be granted across up to three Solver teams selected to receive the prize. Eligible Solver teams may be selected from any of Solve's four current Global Challenges.

Innospark Ventures Prize

The Innospark Ventures Prize is open to AI-based solutions from across the cybersecurity, education, healthcare, life sciences, and business services sectors focused in the United States. The prize is funded by Innospark Ventures, which invests in founders and ideas that leverage advanced artificial intelligence to create a differential and disruptive impact for our economy and society. Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four eligible Solver teams from across any of Solve's current Global Challenges.

UN Women She Innovates Prize for Gender-Responsive Innovation

Solutions that are women-led or use innovation to advance the needs of women and girls are eligible for the UN Women She Innovates Prize for Gender-Responsive Innovation, founded by UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change and made possible by Johnson & Johnson and EY. Up to $60,000 in She Innovates Prize funding will be provided across two recipients within Solve’s Healthy Cities and Community-Driven Innovation Challenges. Within Solve's Healthy Cities Challenge, Johnson & Johnson — which believes that a good idea can come from anyone, anywhere — will support one prize recipient with up to $30,000 in prize funding. The selected Healthy Cities solution should focus on a life-enhancing, innovative approach to delivering quality healthcare to vulnerable populations, especially through community health workers and clinics.


Accepting Solutions

  • Challenges Open

Refining Solutions

  • Deadline to Submit a Draft Solution at 5:00pm ET
  • Challenges Closed

Evaluating Solutions

  • Solve Challenge Finals
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