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Boston youth innovation initiative wins international award

The city's "Youth Lead the Change" won the top prize for Urban Innovation from the Guanghzou Institute in China.
Rene Schwietzke/Flickr Creative Common

Young Boston residents have been developing innovative solutions to confront the challenges the city faces, and their efforts are getting recognized near and far, as far as China.

Boston's "Youth Lead the Change" initiative was awarded the top prize by the Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation in Guangzhou, China.

Through the program, Boston's young residents submit ideas for projects aimed at improving the city in different ways. The winning ideas are funded with $1 million from the city budget.

"We know Boston is a forward-thinking, innovative city, and I'm proud that our work has been recognized by this international award," Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. "Through 'Youth Lead the Change,' we are involving our young, bright residents in local government, and empowering them to make positive changes in their neighborhoods. Congratulations to everyone involved in this initiative."

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Boston is the first city in the U.S. to receive this award, according to the Mayor's office.

Boston's program was one of 301 innovation projects submitted by 171 cities in the running for the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation.

The award celebrates innovations in the public sector that improve "social, economic and environmental sustainability" and is presented bi-annually.

"Youth Lead the Change" has funded 17 projects since beginning in 2014, with some of this year's including adding trash cans and recycling bins, to installing WiFi in schools and community centers.

Countries have sent representatives to Boston to learn from this youth-engagement program, the city said.

"Boston is providing a platform for young people to lead today while also making government more accessible and responsive," Francesco Tena, manager of the Mayor's Youth Council, said in a statement. "Cities around the world are realizing that there are huge benefits to engaging young people meaningfully in local government."

The Mayor's Youth Council is soliciting ideas for how to spend this year's $1 million allotment. Visit here to add your input.

 
 
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