Call For Proposals – Small public space implementation projects 23 October 2017

Deadline: 14 November at 5pm East Africa Time

UN-Habitat’s Global Public Space Programme is launching a call for the implementation of innovative public space projects. Local authorities and non-profit organisations are invited to submit proposals which aim to achieve the following expected result:

  • The effective creation, protection, design and management of public spaces, particularly in disadvantaged communities in rapidly urbanizing cities and towns, as critical preconditions for poverty reduction and the fulfilment of human rights in urban areas.

Proposals must demonstrate that they contribute to the following outcome:

  • Improved local policies, plans and designs for safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces for all which supports more compact, better integrated and well connected, socially inclusive and resilient cities and neighbourhoods in partner cities.

Project background

UN-Habitat’s Global Public Space Programme, launched in 2012, works in collaboration with local governments, non-profit organisations and other partners to implement public space projects worldwide. To date, around 45 public space projects have been started in 30 cities.

Public space is a vital ingredient of successful cities. Small public spaces are priceless as they can build a sense of community and create a safe and secure environment for everyone, including men, women, young people and older people. Such public spaces contribute to the building of social capital, encourage economic development and strengthen communities. Having access to public space improves quality of life and is a first step towards civic and economic empowerment and opens opportunities for greater institutional and political engagement. Public space leads to urban environments that are well maintained, healthy and safe, making the city an attractive place in which to live and work for everyone.

UN-Habitat’s Charter of Public Space defines public space as the following:

‘Public spaces are all places publicly owned or of public use, accessible and enjoyable by all for free and without a profit motive. Public spaces are a key element of individual and social well-being, the places of a community’s collective life, expressions of the diversity of their common, natural and

cultural richness and a foundation of their identity.’

UN-Habitat takes a broad view of public space and the definition goes beyond traditional open public spaces such as parks and playgrounds, to also include streets, pavements, community spaces, markets and public transit hubs.

The Global Public Space Programme is implemented in collaboration with the Block by Block Foundation and Sida. As part of this collaboration, UN-Habitat has developed an innovative community participation methodology for the design of public spaces which uses Minecraft. Minecraft is one of the world’s most popular computer games, with over 100 million users, best imagined as a ‘digital Lego’, in which players build complex structures or compete against each other in community-designed competitions. Experience from 45 projects in 30 countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Peru, Mexico, Haiti, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Lebanon and Kosovo show that Minecraft is a useful tool for engaging communities, particularly youth, women, disabled people, minority groups and slum dwellers in urban design processes. Through five-day participatory design workshops, UN-Habitat and partners bring people together to visualize their urban design ideas in Minecraft, and present these to city authorities and local government officials. The Minecraft designs are then used as part of the process of implementing real public space improvement projects.

What are we looking for?

In this call for proposals, we are looking for organisations that can manage and deliver a portfolio of 5-10 small public space projects. Projects can include a wide variety of public space and placemaking implementations, for example street furniture, play facilities, street lighting, parklets, market spaces, streets, bicycle lanes or pavement designs. Projects must be ready to start immediately and be completed within a period of three to six months. The aim of the call is to show that smaller public space projects can have a big impact on urban life.

Each Implementing Partner can receive up to $150,000 for the full portfolio, including administrative costs. The budget of each smaller project in the portfolio should not exceed $20,000 including co-financing.

Assessment of project proposals

We will assess all project proposals on a comparative basis against the following assessment criteria:

  • How important is the project for the community.
  • How connected, networked and integrated in the city is the space in terms of functions and location.
  • Multi-functionality of the project.
  • Its impact on safety.
  • Social inclusiveness and human rights.
  • Gender equality.
  • Youth empowerment.
  • Sustainability of the project, its management structure and maintenance plan.
  • Financial sustainability and counterpart contributions.
  • Its impact on city-wide level.
  • Regional balance of projects and link with existing/ongoing projects.
  • The capacity of the partner to manage several projects.
  • Has replicability
  • Has high visibility

In addition to project implementation funds, UN-Habitat will provide financing and technical support to do participatory design workshops using Minecraft.

Once selected, a process of detailed formulation in collaboration with UN-Habitat’s Public Space Programme will be undertaken to establish an Agreement of Cooperation under which the work will be implemented.

How to apply

Interested organisations should submit a Proposal to  with copy to The Proposal should contain the following:

  1. Technical project proposal with the following sections:
    1. Project title
    2. Problem statement
    3. Description of the projects to be implemented
    4. Objectives
    5. Expected outcomes and indicators
    6. Methodology
    7. Collaborating partners
    8. Links to human rights, gender, youth, refugees / migrants and climate change.
    9. Key assumptions and risks
  1. Project plan, including timelines
    1. Ownership of land: Description on the ownership of the land parcels and confirmation that the land owner agrees to implementation of the proposed project.
  1. Detailed project budget, including cash or in-kind contribution provided
    1. Download budget template
  1. Link with the target population
    1. Ability to operate in the project location
    2. Presence in the project location (office facilities, staff, vehicles, etc)
  1. Organisation’s profile, experience and technical competencies, including:
    1. Description of your organisation, including years of operation
    2. Name and description of affiliate organisation or other partners if applicable
    3. Vision, mission and objectives
    4. Management structure
    5. List of similar projects implemented in the last five years
    6. References from past donors
    7. Profiles of Chair of Board of Directors, Director and Head of Finance
    8. CVs of key staff involved in the project
    9. CVs of key accounting and finance staff
    10. Organization structure/organogram
    11. Description of accounting system used
    12. For government entities, copy of the HACT (Harmonized Approach Cash Transfer) assessment
  1. Organisational policies and procedures
    1. Procurement policy
    2. Anti-fraud and corruption controls
    3. Ability to have a separate bank account for the contribution from UN-Habitat
  1. Organisational documents
    1. Certificate of incorporation/registration
    2. Proof of registration in country of operation
    3. Audited financial statements and auditor’s report for the last two years
    4. Annual reports for the last two years
    5. Signed Partner declaration form

All documents must be provided in English or officially translated to English.