Wellbeing Cities Forum: 70 Global Leaders Commit to Urban Wellbeing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Montréal, September 15, 2020.

Global non-profit organization NewCities wishes to advance urban wellbeing during a 3-day virtual event, the Wellbeing Cities Forum, on September 15-17, 2020.

In collaboration with Novo Nordisk, the City of Montéal, and with the support of the Gouvernement du Québec, this second edition of the Wellbeing Cities Award brings together worldwide cities and experts that invest in the wellbeing and quality of life of their citizens. Civic Engagement, Housing for Healthy Communities, Climate Adaptation and Migration, Resilience in Cities, Urban Biodiversity, Smart Cities, Equitable Mobility, experts discuss how to improve cities and how to face critical challenges. Speakers include Valérie Plante (Mayor of Montréal), Joan Clos (Former Executive Dir. UN Human Settlements Program); Pierre Humic (Mayor of Bordeaux), Elizabeth M. Mrema (Exec. Sec. Convention on Biological Diversity), Dan Plato (Mayor of Cape Town), Horacio R. Larreta (Mayor of Buenos Aires). To (re)watch, visit our webpage.

The Wellbeing Cities Award recognized the five best initiatives putting wellbeing at the heart of city-planning. The 2020 winners were announced LIVE on September 15, 2020, in the following categories:

  • Supporting cohesive communities: New York City, USA

    The ‘Connected Communities Initiative’ is a framework that establishes participatory methods for working with NYCHA residents around urban design projects that improve public health outcomes and connect them to neighborhood resources.
  • Prioritizing wellbeing: Curridabat, Costa Rica

    The Sweet City initiative approaches city development in an all-encompassing manner to ensure a balanced relationship with nature, community members, including the fauna and flora, to enhance resilience.
  • Planning for better urban health: Buenos Aires, Argentina 

    Buenos Aires seeks to reorganize public space and implement new public policies that accommodate cycling infrastructure and incentivize the use of bicycles.
  • Integrating nature and biodiversity: Bordeaux, France

    Using participatory budgeting as an innovative instrument to empower citizens in decision-making processes. The initiative is part of a socio-environmental theory called ‘urban acupuncture’, using small-scale interventions to transform larger urban contexts.
  • Building a vibrant urban economy: Curitiba, Brazil 

    The Pinhão Valley is Curitiba’s main initiative to promote a dynamic urban economy. The city put in place laws that promote innovation, while mobilizing a variety of local actors.

Find the twenty finalists’ initiatives here.

On September 15, NewCities and the City of Montréal also introduced the Declaration of Montréal on Wellbeing in Cities. As the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically stressed the need to reflect on the way we think about, plan, and inhabit cities, we must evaluate the results of urban planning on the health and wellbeing of residents. As cities around the world prepare their COVID-19 recovery plans, the Declaration aims to integrate equity and sustainability as we move forward. Link to the Declaration.



  • Valérie Plante, Mayor, Montréal:
    “The health crisis we are currently experiencing is worsening inequalities and reminds us that cities have a major role to play in the development of a sustainable living that promotes the wellbeing of citizens.”
  • John Rossant, Chairman, NewCities:
    “If we truly want to improve the quality of life in cities, it is time to stop reducing it to a collateral benefit. Wellbeing should be at the heart of how we plan, assess and design our cities. To share ideas and experience on the virtual stage of the Wellbeing Cities Forum contribute to this movement.”

Media Contact

Eve Gesbert
Communications & Media Relations Manager


About NewCities

NewCities is a global nonprofit committed to shaping a better urban future, headquartered in Canada. It has a decade’s experience curating and producing innovative content about the most important emerging urban trends via events, knowledge-sharing platforms, and actionable research. NewCities brings a ‘whole-city’ approach by convening and connecting the key stakeholders of the urban ecosystem: residents, governments, academic institutions, civil society organizations, and business communities. Its activities are inspired and supported by a global network of members, whose insights help determine the most pressing topics in cities. www.newcities.org, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.


About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Its purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. They do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 43,500 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries. For more information, visit novonordisk.com, citieschangingdiabetes.com, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.