ESSAY COMPETITION: Shape the City of Your Dreams

Posted on 20 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Awards & Honors, Call for Nominations or Applications, Call for Papers, Fellowships & Scholarships, Urban Development, youth | Tags: , , , , |

WANTED: YOUR practical ideas for improving the city you live in.

The International Essay Competition 2008 for young people aged 18 to 25 has been launched. The theme is “Shaping the City of Your Dreams.” Essays can be submitted in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, or Portuguese. The maximum allowed length for each essay is 10 pages (4,000 words). Cash prizes are available for $5000 or $1000.

Participating youth may be either students or non-students. Ph.D. (doctorate) students are NOT eligible.

Essays may be submitted until March 23, 2008.

Finalists will be announced April 30, 2008. Finalists will be invited to attend the ABCDE Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, in June 2008. All travel expenses for finalists will be paid by the World Bank. The final winners will be selected and awarded on June 11, 2008.

This competition could be an opportunity for a young adult with disabilities in a developing country to win recognition for their ideas.

This competition is not specific to disability issues. But perhaps participants could consider focusing their essay on how their city could be made more accessible to disabled people. If this interests you, then you might find it helpful to research the concept of “universal design.” Other We Can do blog posts relevant to universal design include one about New Delhi improving its accessibility and another about a free, on-line book on universal deisgn and visitability.

For ideas on how to find further informational resources on universal design or other topics related to people with disabilities, try consulting Tips and leads on finding academic research, paper, resources, or statistics. Of course, also try searching at or your preferred search engine.

More information about the essay competition can be found at:

Be sure to read the FAQ and rules carefully before submitting your essay. Participants should also carefully read more detail about the three questions that each essay is expected to answer.

It is critical that you write a good-quality abstract (short summary) for your essay. Abstracts will be used to help the judges pre-select essays for the competition. Read all the instructions at carefully.

Participants can submit your essays on-line at

One of the questions on their application form asks where you learned about their competition. When you answer this question, please be sure to click “other” and tell them that you learned about their competition at

Thank you to Ghulam Nabi Nazimani for alerting me (and others) to this competition. I researched most of the detail for this blog post at the essay competition web site.

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13 Responses to “ESSAY COMPETITION: Shape the City of Your Dreams”

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I think its a good practice.
And a challenge to prove ourselves.
And we come to know that how much potential we have.

I am 26 years old. Am i eligible?

Samyak: The FAQ says that anyone born between 1983 and 1990 is eligible, so if you were born during any of those years then yes. However, any further inquiries should please be directed to the people organizing the essay competition, because We Can Do is not equipped to handle these inquiries. Please follow the several links in the blog post to the essay competition web page for further details, thanks.

this programe remember for those who forgot them selves.

This programe remember for those who forgot themselves.

this programe remember for those who forget themselves.

thank you for giving us a chance to brainstorm and share our ideas so we can be better leaders of tomorrow.

I am 18, from Africa. I think i can make it.


Qn: what can you do to shape the cities of your dreams?

My name is Advitus Adberd, I am 25 years old , the student of the Institute of Finance and Management (IFM) in the second year taking Advance Diploma in Information Technology, I am living in the city of Dar Es Salaam. I am so glad to get this chance to participate in the essay competition about how I can do to shape the cities of my dreams
A city is the large, an important and more developed town in economic, social and political affairs. It is the town that contributes development of other towns. In my country Tanzania, we have five cities, Dar Es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha., Mbeya., and Tanga.
Although our cities have been published by the government, but there are various problems and features that disqualify these cities. Some of these features are poor infrastructure, high population, shortage of water and poor sewage systems, poor building architectures, poor transport connected to traffic jams, conducive environment for thefts and other social evil. These are some of problems facing the cities of my country
To me Advitus, as the Tanzanian youth I have dreams, Yes, I have dreams connected to the shaped city let us call it ‘The Hope City’. The city that will bring light in Tanzania. All five cities we have should look like this city. The following is what I can do to shape and sophisticate our cities.

First, my desire is to see every street in the entire city has covered by trees along it. If you have ever passed along Shaaban Robert Street towards the Ministry of Finance in the Dar Es Salaam, you can understand what I mean. Our ancients had invested on planting those trees that is why we are enjoying to day. But the question in my heart is that, why Shaaban Robert Street only? What if they would also be planted along Morogoro road, or old Bagamoyo Street, or what if they would also be planted Rufiji Street in the city of Mwanza?
Therefore if I get the chance, I will encourage companies that will provide sustainable plantation of suitable trees and irrigation. This can be the programe of 20 years. The problem we have is that we are just emphasizing only in planting as many leaders do, but we forget to make a closer follow up of what we have planted that is why millions of trees along streets and roads shrink ,grow slowly other become stagnant. We all know that trees flourish our cities especially if they are planted in planned arrangement. Trees will provide oxygen, shadows in the city and will make it be looked beautiful

Secondly I will invest in buildings development in the city. What I mean is to make the sustainable maintainance of buildings that are inside the city so that they are seemed up to date, I will demolish the old ones and replace them by sophisticated ones except those which are used for historical memorial. It is very shy to see building like the former Embassy Hotel at Posta Mpya in Dar Es Salaam city existing as it is. The building is not only dirty, but also providing conducive environment for accumulating dirt.
Therefore what I can do to shape the city is to give order to owners that they must repair their buildings or they should pay to government when it repairs on behalf. For hose who are need to build houses they should follow the standards from architects in order these houses to be in planed arrangement that will make easy for water supply, electricity, schools, hospitals access, roads services etc. Moreover, I can remove unnecessary huts inside the city as the one of United Nations objectives of habitats development in Africa. By doing this we can shift to the “hope cities”
In case of high population in cities, if I were the government I would promote good life standard in rural areas so that people especially youth will be attracted to stay there and participate into production activities instead of many of them to come in city and remain jobless thing which contribute thefts. This can be done by empowering agriculture sector, providing the basic needs in rural areas , improving infrastructures that will simplify sending their products to towns including cities where attractive market is found, In doing so, at least I will reduce number of people migrating from rural areas to cities and hence reduction of population.

Another thing I can do is to shift some official services from the city to another towns or out side the city in the same region. This can solve the problem of traffic jam. For example in Tanzania almost all government ministries are in the city of Dar Es Salaam and most of them are situated at Postal streets (Mitaa ya posta).During the morning workers and other stakeholders looking for services. all are straggling for the same direction the same place and causing traffic jams along streets and transport very hard. But what if other ministries and competent offices would be in Kibaha-Pwani, Mwanza’ Morogoro, Tanga in different towns or even shifted from Posta to Ubungo, Mwenge,or Mbezi in the same town within the city? Therefore this is what I will do and formulate information and communication networks that will join related ministries and other offices between those towns and cities in order to facilitate services and hence reduction of traffic jams problem

The city of my dreams is the city in which opportunities of employment for indigenous youth are available. Residents of ‘the hope city’ that is the shaped city should work comfortably for development. Let us think together about the problem of ‘machingas’. These are salesmen, caring their commodities, selling them here and there without permanent places and without paying tax. Most of them are scattering in the city example in Dar Es Salaam because their markets have been demolished and shifted somewhere else where they don’t want to go. In the city of my dreams, I can shape the customer-to-market system that is the access of customers to markets. I will connect markets to city bus terminals for the benefit of market because where there is a bus terminal there are many people that can be the customers of salesmen. For example I can shift the market of Mlalakuwa to Mwenge terminal, or adjusting Mwenge terminal to Mlalakuwa. The market of Kigogo Sambusa where there is a crisis of these matter because of poor planed location can be shifted to Ubungo where there is the bus terminal. This will attract machingas (salesmen) to stay in permanent position paying tax and the city will become clean.

Another thing to do is to shape water pipes alignment for better supply of water and sewage systems in the city. This will be done by reconstructing pipes alignment for clean water that will supply water throughout the entire city .Areas like Ubungo and Kimara in the city of Dar Es salaam are experiencing the chronic problem of water because of poor planned of main pipes alignment and ignorance of residents that are destructing water systems purposely for individual benefits. So I can make the regular maintenance and sustainable security around these pipe systems and sewage services to ensure the regular flow of clean water in cities and those sewage systems are okay.

The discussed above are some of techniques I can use to shape the cities of my dreams.But all techniques require finance supply to fulfill dreams of Tanzanians. Because of poverty a lot of cities of Africa are note attractive, Some times we Africans we are killing ourserves example stealing parts of bridges, electric wires, water pipes destruction and so forth. Also foreigner investors have no any aid for us to develop our cities instead of exploiting our wealth that could be used to develop our cities and send to their countries. Hey Africans! Get up and shoot to the HOPE CITY of your dreams.

Advitus Adberd:

I’m Andrea Shettle, the editor for the We Can Do web site.

I’m afraid that I am unable to process entries for this competition because I am not involved with the essay competition. In order to participate you should follow the links that were provided in the post to the main web site for the competition and follow the instructions there. We Can Do is merely a conduit for passing along information from a great many other sources and linking people to sources of further information for them to investigate on their own.

Thanks, and good luck.

i would have shared my views but i learnt of the whle thing late.I’ts really a nice topic, and i know contestants have shared wonderful views that will help shape the lives of co-citizens.


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