Home / City Experiment Fund

Cities at the forefront of groundbreaking transformation

The speed and scale of the challenges facing our cities is faster and bigger than we predicted, and outpace our ability to respond. Recent studies suggest that between 60 and 84% of the global population resides in urban centers.

Cities generate more than 80% of the global GDP and consume nearly two-thirds of the world’s energy. They also account for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Often the challenges that cities face are interconnected and require an interdisciplinary approach, going beyond sector-specific or technical solutions.

UNDP’s City Experiment Fund (CEF) seeks to make sense of and address complex issues playing out in cities – including the impact of migration, climate change, and inequality – by working at the intersection of innovative methods and technologies. Up to ten partner cities across the region are developing a portfolio of experiments in response to cross-cutting challenges shared all throughout the region and beyond. CEF provides them with catalytic funding that de-risks investment in experimentation, and supports them with the tools and processes they need in order to prepare for the future.

Browse experiments from across the region


Each urban challenge goes far beyond what it represents on the surface.

Whether we work on air pollution, access to economic opportunities or effective public transportation, we always find that these aspects of urban living spill over to other areas that impact quality of life in a city. That is why we introduced a rigorous process of exploration, which allows us to acquire an in-depth understanding of the problem, identify existing solutions and opportunities or levers that when activated can bring about unprecedented change.

We work on a city level to develop a portfolio of solutions that cuts across what we call Zones of Experiment (ZoX): municipal backoffice, new urban infrastructure, health and well-being, digital and platform economy, art, science, power and policy. Dynamic management of a portfolio of new and already existing solutions should enable cities to tackle any of their key challenges.

Deep listening and sensemaking – digital and analogue

Methods and tools allowing cities to understand various narratives around the challenge they have identified and unpacking dynamics governing solutions to problems, both through digital and analogue research.

Portfolio design

A systematised approach to developing and testing a portfolio of interrelated interventions aimed at addressing various aspects of an urban challenge.

Human-centered design

A process of designing solutions to urban challenges in a way that focuses on human experience and encompasses individual perspectives to increase the effectiveness of intervention.

Urban hackathons and innovation challenges

Competitive or gamified processes allowing crowdsourcing solutions, based on available data and insights.

Impact assessment frameworks

Methods of evaluating qualitative and quantitative results of new urban interventions and monitoring progress throughout the process of testing new solutions.


Tackling air pollution in North Macedonia

The project aims to demonstrate a multi-pronged intervention to tackle air pollution in the City of Skopje. It complements the ongoing efforts to improve data collection and to enhance the coordination among all the responsible actors aimed at ensuring a holistic government and societal response to the air pollution challenge.

Read More »

Re-shaping cities in Serbia

The general goal of the project is to observe habits and understand the needs of people with disabilities in cities and to co-design systems and activities which contribute to improving the quality of life through greater accessibility.

Read More »

Placemaking: urban co-design as a catalyst for change

The project aims to generate efficiency gains and transparency in new planning processes by mapping public space usage, collecting alternative data (e.g. human traffic patterns, crime rates, transport traffic analysis) and using alternative forms of resident participation. 

Read More »



city experiments


in grants per city


residents enagaged in the design process

“We are called to be the architects of the future, not its victims.”

– Buckminster Fuller



Interested in advancing urban transformation? Drop us an email.

We support UNDP offices, governments, and partners in advancing strategic urban innovation to design and implement impactful interventions in cities to transform our society for the better.

Stay in the loop

Curious about the latest innovation insights in development?
Get them in your inbox.

We respect your privacy.