Mexico City conferred Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2024

Singapore, 7 May 2024 – From building more resilient communities to restoring natural environments and improving quality of life, the 7th edition of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize continues to honour outstanding achievements and contributions to the creation of liveable, vibrant, and sustainable urban communities around the world. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a biennial international award which has been jointly organised by Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Centre for Liveable Cities since 2010.

Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, has been awarded the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2024. Cape Town (South Africa), Melbourne (Australia), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Wellington (New Zealand) have also been selected as Special Mentions for their achievements and best practices in city management.

This year’s Prize Laureate, Mexico City stands out for its ability to address many complex urban challenges and achieve transformational progress within a relatively short time of five years. Through visionary leadership, the City introduced new programmes while rejuvenating existing ones, and brought about significant advancement in urban renewal and regeneration, environmental sustainability, transport and digital transformation to the benefit of its residents across all strata of society. Some of Mexico City’s key strategies are:

  • Building stronger and more resilient communities. Mexico City implemented a range of inclusive social policies and programmes, such as free education for children and youth, and encouraging dignified ageing for the elderly. A standout initiative is PILARES (Puntos de Innovación, Libertad, Arte, Educación y Saberes’ or Points of Innovation, Freedom, Art, Education and Knowledge), which offers programmes for community bonding, youth rehabilitation, and continuous learning through 294 community centres throughout the city. These programmes also provide vital social safety nets and upskilling opportunities for marginalised communities, demonstrating the city’s commitment to uplifting the less privileged.
  • Creating more seamless commute. Despite challenges posed by its complex urban landscape and fragmented transportation system, Mexico City has successfully integrated eight transit payment systems via a single transport card to enhance mobility for residents and transient populations. In addition to enhancing several transport infrastructure, it has also built the world’s longest cable car line to reduce time and cost of commuting, especially for low-income neighbourhoods.
  • Leveraging technology to improve lives. Digital transformation efforts were introduced to promote digital inclusion and improve the provision of public service. Initiatives include the development of a centralised secure digital identity system, the “Llave” platform which enables residents to access the majority of the city’s services, from registering vehicles to retrieving birth certificates. In addition, the deployment of an extensive network of 31,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots has further ensured equal opportunities to access the Internet.
  • Driving community-centric environmental efforts. Re-vegetation efforts have been carried out to transform desolate land into parks and urban forests. Additionally, through community-based sustainable agricultural programmes, and upskilling programmes, residents are also trained in using the city’s rain harvesting system as an alternative water source installed for free in water-scarce areas. Such systems can support the majority of a household’s water needs for eight months in a year.

➜ More details on these strategies

“Despite advancements in human science and technology, many basic human needs remain unmet in cities and social inequities continue to exist. Mexico City has demonstrated how its citizen-centric city programmes, supported by strong leadership and new digital initiatives to simplify and improve access to public services, can benefit its residents, regardless of their socio-economic status. Despite on-going challenges as a mega city, Mexico City provides an inspiring story, giving hope that it is possible to make impactful change if we are focused on a longer-term vision and boldly embrace urban innovation and inclusivity.”

— Dr. Cheong Koon Hean
Chair, Nominating Committee

“We are very happy to have been honoured as the 2024 winner of this prestigious award. We would like to thank the Prize committee of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize for having chosen us from a list of cities that, like Mexico City, have shown significant advances to create more sustainable and inclusive communities. As Head of Government of Mexico City, the awarding of this Prize drives us further to continue the transformation that we started nearly six years ago to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable city.”

— Mr. Martí Batres Guadarrama
Mayor, Mexico City

“As former Mayor of Mexico City I was extremely pleased to hear the news of the awarding of the 2024 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize to Mexico City. Winning this award places us among wonderful world cities like Vienna, New York City, Seoul, Medellin, Suzhou and Bilbao and shows that we are on the right track to fulfil the vision we set forward six years ago to create a city of rights and innovation. I am convinced that this Prize will further help consolidate the transformation of our city into a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive home for the nearly 10 million people who live here.”

— Dr. Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo
Former Mayor, Mexico City

2024 Special Mentions

Apart from Mexico City, four cities were also recognised as Special Mentions for their best practices in city management:

  • Cape Town, South Africa – A story of emerging stronger from tackling its severe water crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic through agile governance as well as more resilient communities.
  • Melbourne, Australia – A highly liveable city, enhancing its quality living environment further and bouncing back from COVID-19 through the activation of its popular laneways, investing in transport and strengthening design excellence in its built environment.
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – A bold revitalisation of its city centre with creative strategies to enhance pedestrian accessibility and emphasise low-carbon solutions, transforming and enriching its urban fabric, bringing residents and visitors back together post-pandemic.
  • Wellington, New Zealand – A leader in its extensive community-based ecological restoration efforts that ensures natural environments and their rich biodiversity continue to thrive alongside urban areas.

Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet at World Cities Summit 2024

The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet will be held at the upcoming World Cities Summit, which will take place from 2 to 4 June 2024. In addition to an award certificate, Mexico City will receive a cash prize of S$300,000 and a gold medallion worth S$50,000. This Prize is sponsored by Keppel Ltd.

“Keppel is pleased to support the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, which recognises outstanding cities for creating liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities. Our warmest congratulations to 2024’s prize winner Mexico City, whose innovative urban initiatives have uplifted the lives of millions of citizens. We also congratulate the Special Mention recipients, Cape Town, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro and Wellington, for their successful journeys in building resilient and inclusive communities. As a global asset manager and operator, Keppel looks forward to working with cities around the world to create a sustainable future together.”

— Mr Loh Chin Hua
Chief Executive Officer, Keppel Ltd.

Representatives from Mexico City and the four Special Mention cities will also be invited to celebrate their achievements and share about their initiatives and experiences at the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Lecture, which will be held in conjunction with the Summit.

For the World Cities Summit’s full programme, please visit

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