Cities are starting to feel the squeeze: To cope with increasing crowds, we need to keep improving our urban surroundings. Yet this doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A few bright ideas – and some start-up funding – can easily do the trick. Now, smart urban pioneers brings the two together.

The 21st century has ushered in the urban millennium. In future, even more people will live in cities. At the same time, we still aim to live, eat, and travel better in this limited space.

While the challenges are staggering, there’s just as much scope for exciting opportunities. Same-old-same-old needs to be replaced by new ideas – an attitude close to the heart of smart. After all, smart remains the most agile car to navigate urban space – from 1998, when the very first smart fortwo hit the streets, right down to the present day.

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Calling all resourceful minds, creative specialists, and reinventors: Shape your city!

With smart urban pioneers, smart takes an active part in shaping the future of our cities – and the joy of their residents. smart calls all resourceful minds, creative specialists, and reinventors across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to become active urban pioneers.

smart urban pioneers lends a helping hand to the best projects, easing the obstacle course from first sketch to realization, by championing a three-step process built on joining, voting, and supporting.

Three project phases: submissions, voting, crowdfunding

During the first phase, bright minds are encouraged to submit ideas via smart magazine, followed by an expert jury of five that compiles a shortlist of the best submissions. This jury is headed by Christian Vollmann, a successful start-up founder, business angel, and member of the board of the national association of German start-ups. The following phase is all about public participation: smart magazine readers vote for their favorites – their three top choices proceed to crowdfunding.

Phase three involves Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns by the three chosen finalists. Supported by smart magazine readers and the global crowdfunding community, these finalists aim to reach a predetermined funding goal to realize their winning idea – and they have four weeks to hit their target. For added impact, smart supports these three projects with a total of €50,000 prize money.

Meanwhile, flanking features, interviews, and photo galleries on smart magazine – as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram updates – keep readers and fans up-to-date.

“The smart urban pioneers competition is a great project focused on creating real value for a great number of people – for more joy and quality of life in the city,” adds Christian Vollmann.

Now, the only thing that remains is finding plenty of pioneers who want to shape our urban future. In other words: you!

Join us and help to update your city by submitting ideas and projects here!

And if you can think of other visionaries with great ideas, feel free to suggest them here: