As the global population heads toward nine billion people by 2020, urban areas are facing increased pressure to provide services for ever-growing numbers of inhabitants.
Cities create new ecosystems of human production and consumption that can provide great efficiencies in resource distribution (e.g., mass transit is far more energy efficient than individual transportation; every kilometer of pipe/rail/sewer serves a higher proportion of people than in the countryside).
Hence, cities are not necessarily bad for the environment; in fact, they could be ideal solutions for many of the challenges faced by our growing populations. We seek proposals from around the world that aim to test innovative approaches to issues surrounding the production or consumption of energy, food, infrastructure (including transportation or “green space”), and freshwater in and around cities.
Priority will be given to projects that aim to do one or more of the following:
- Develop or scale up household- or community-based solutions to well-defined problems in urban environments;
- Identify and assess new or unrecognized urban sustainability problems to inform solutions or policies; or
- Use public-private partnership models to make cities more sustainable.
Who is eligible to submit a grant proposal?
We specifically encourage applicants from around the world. However, as a result of changes in Chinese law effective January 1, 2017, the National Geographic Society is unable to support new grantee work in mainland China.
Applicants may request from $10,000 to $150,000 to be used over one or two years, of which up to 20 percent of the total can be used as a stipend for the applicant or team members (please see the How to Apply page regarding stipend eligibility), and up to 15 percent of which can be used for institutional overhead (applicable only for awarded grants of at least $50,000).
Projects may be focused around conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology, but all applications should explicitly state the plan for evaluating the impact of your work (e.g., how many people are affected by the problem; how quickly and easily solutions can be adopted or scaled up). On the application, please select “The Human Journey” for Lens, “Standard” for Grant Type, and “Sustainable Cities” for RFP.
The National Geographic Society
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Washington, DC 20036