TheCityFix Labs

WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

About

TheCityFix Labs are an effort from WRI Ross Center, with the support of the Citi Foundation, to bridge the gap from idea to implementation and help cities understand what’s possible. Through a series of regional workshops, the Labs are cultivating innovative, private-sector solutions to urban development challenges. After applying to be a part of the Lab, a select cohort of entrepreneurs and businesses is guided by WRI experts to nurture their ideas and evolve their business models to better suit municipal decision-making and markets.

The selection of the project cohort in both countries was based on potential social and environmental impacts, project readiness, scalability, and potential bankability. TheCityFix Labs differs from most of the 100+ existing project preparation facilities (PPFs)—this technical assistance program is dedicated toward moving forward only sustainable infrastructure. The initial Labs in India and Mexico have directly supported entrepreneurs and cities, respectively.

Assistance Criteria

The key principles underlying TheCityFix Labs include the following:

  • Sustainable Infrastructure: This has included renewable energy, water, solid waste and electricity efficiency, nature-based solutions (NBS), stormwater, drainage and solid waste but could be expanded to support urban transit, mobility, and low-carbon buildings.
  • Early Stage Project Development: A key objective of TheCityFix Labs is to enable sustainable infrastructure investments in urban areas to go more quickly from conceptual ideas to financing and implementation.
  • Innovation: Innovation has been encouraged by direct support to entrepreneurs who are implementing pilot projects in conjunction with public agencies to test new technologies and supporting cities in developing business and financing models for sustainable infrastructure.
  • Flexibility: The country-based lab concept allows each of WRI’s country offices to design and implement an approach that this more closely tied to local demand.
  • Bankability: The technical assistance program has focused on business plan development, generating new sources of revenues, obtaining funding and financing.
  • Integrated: TheCityFix Labs focuses on city-based programs, while also bringing project concepts from the private sector.

TheCityFix Labs also provides financing matchmaking activities with financial institutions.

 

Support

Support is in the form of workshops, capacity building activities, and matchmaking. It will depend on the size of the cohort but support can last from six months to a year.

Support Type

  • Technical Assistance

Focus

Project Stage

  • Concept/design/scoping
  • Pre-feasibility
  • Feasibility

Sector

  • Water, Sanitation, and Waste
  • Urban Public and Green Space
  • Adaptation and Resilience
Photo Credit: Lize Festers-