CITIES FOR ALL Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do we mean by systemic vulnerabilities?

For the purposes of this call, we refer to systemic vulnerabilities as: poor access to financing and quality housing solutions; inadequate access to basic services; socio-spatial disconnection of informal neighborhoods from formal ones; limited or no access to information and communication technologies; vulnerability and resilience to climate change and natural disasters; and limited formal employment opportunities.

2. Which countries can participate?

This call for proposals is aimed at entities from the 26 IDB borrowing countries, which are:

Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.

3. Who can participate?

Entities that promote urban innovation, as part of or in alliance with city governments, may participate. For example:

  • An urban innovation laboratory or an innovation office/unit that is part of a city government. 
  • A national, regional or local innovation agency or laboratory that is associated with one or more city governments.
  • A university or civil society group, working on innovation in cities, that is associated with one or more city governments.

4. What do we mean by experimentation?

We know experimentation as a means to trigger innovation processes that generate solutions to complex challenges. By experiments we mean proofs of concept, prototypes or small-scale projects (in terms of cost, scope and duration) that allow us to validate a hypothesis and evaluate the feasibility of a solution. Experiments are characterized by being trial-and-error practices, by being easy to adapt, and by having evaluation frameworks that allow estimating their impact to assess the potential for scale or replication.

5. What do we mean by iterative processes?

By iterative processes we mean flexible, non-linear and cyclical processes that involve multiple iterations or repetitions to improve and refine a concept. For example, the "design thinking" method proposes a non-linear process that starts by empathically understanding the problem through analysis and observation to define the main challenges to be solved. It then generates multiple ideas that are put into practice, through low-cost and easy-to-implement prototypes, and finally tested and evaluated to identify the best solutions to the defined problem. Experimentation often leads to new questions and observations, which leads to restarting the process when not so much time or resources have been invested in the prototype yet. It can also happen that as the experimentation process progresses, or even in the evaluation, something is identified that did not work, which leads to backtracking the process a few steps, and learning from the mistakes.

6. What does the mentoring process consist of to improve the challenge definition?

The mentoring process will consist of a series of sessions where each semi-finalist team will receive advice to improve the definition of the challenge presented. This mentoring process will teach methodologies and tools that facilitate the identification of the main causes and effects of the challenge. In addition, the teams will be supported in the preparation for the pitch day.

All members of the semi-finalist teams will be required to participate in the mentoring sessions, which will have a total duration of approximately 10 hours during one month. The schedules will be defined at a later date, according to the availability of the IDB team and the semifinalist teams.

7. What does the "pitch day" consist of?

The pitch day is a virtual session in which the semi-finalist teams will present in a structured way the challenges they have identified in their cities, and why it is a good challenge to be addressed through a process of experimentation. These will be evaluated by the IDB team of experts, who will choose 3 winning teams. At the pitch day, each team will have a specific time to make their presentation.

8. What is defined as Technical Assistance?

For the purposes of this call, technical assistance is defined as the process of capacity building and knowledge transfer that the IDB team will provide to the winning teams for the implementation of iterative experimentation processes.

It is estimated that the winning teams will have to dedicate approximately 4 hours of work per week for the duration of the experimentation process (approximately 6 months).

9. If I have questions related to the application, who can I contact?

To resolve questions related to the application process, the IDB will organize two virtual information sessions. These virtual sessions will be held on December 15, 2021, at 11:00 am EST and January 19, 2022, at 10:00 am EST. You can register for these sessions through the following links:

  • Information Session 1 - December 15, 2021.
  • Information Session 2- January 19, 2022. 

For questions regarding issues associated with technical glitches in the application form, you may email them to:, before the final submission deadline.

10. In what languages can I submit the application and eligibility documents?

The proposal and all eligibility documents can be submitted in Spanish, English, Portuguese or French.

11. What information do I need to complete when applying online?

Click here (guidelines) to see the required information, but remember to APPLY ONLINE.

12. Can I include attachments to support my application?

Yes, but only in the sections indicated in the online application, and using the formats indicated.

13. What does the award consist of?

The IDB will provide the three winning teams with technical assistance of up to USD$35,000.00 to work on an iterative experimentation process that includes the co-design, implementation and evaluation of a prototype or pilot project to solve the challenge posed. It is important to clarify that the amount will not be delivered as financial resources in cash or in goods, but will finance services for the implementation of the project.

14. What services can be financed for the implementation of the pilot project?

Consulting services (individual consultants or firms) that contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of the pilot project will be financed. The organization and facilitation of workshops, events, activations, among others, may also be funded. The purchase of equipment, goods, software, infrastructure, etc. will not be financed.