Thank you, entrants!


See the winners in our Storyfest 2016 contest! 

Already dense urban populations are growing. What will tomorrow's smart cities look like? How can they be sustainable?

By 2050, nearly 70% of the world's population will be in urban areas. This surge will affect such basic necessities as food and water, plus everything from mobility to infrastructure.

Sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Planet Forward Storyfest 2016 is looking for stories about innovative ideas and solutions to help our cities thrive sustainably. Find the data. Understand the science. Make them a part of your story.

Your contest entry should address these questions:

What innovation do you think will help
cities develop sustainably?

How does it work?

What difference can it make?

There's lots going on in urban sustainability. Mobility, the built environment, lifestyle, energy, food, water, conservation, resilience, policy, agriculture and more. Your story, from your community, can inform and inspire. And be a winner.

Choose the medium that best conveys the story you’re sharing — audio, visual, video, text or a combination. Judging is based the quality of the information and production, creativity in the presentation, the impact of the storytelling and the scalability of the innovation presented.

Entries will be featured on and the winners will be announced at the Planet Forward Summit at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., on April 21-22.

Three grand prize winners will win $500 and an all expenses paid trip to New York City — the most populated city in the U.S. — to visit the U.N. Headquarters and share their innovation stories with development experts from around the world.


Ready to enter?

Prep your entry, complete your contest entry form and submit. Entry must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 31, 2016.


Please contact

2016 Submission Guidelines:

  • Your story can be told through whatever medium you find most powerful or compelling — that can be audio, visual, video, text or any combination therein, provided it can be posted to the website.

  • Stories must be new content to the Planet Forward website (posted after Oct. 22, 2015), and created and submitted by a currently enrolled graduate or undergraduate college student* by filling out the contest entry form, by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 31, 2016; “Storyfest 2016” must be one of the Categories selected (you can CTRL-click or Command-click to add more than one) and answer the contest’s question in the “Describe Your Idea” section.

  • All entrants MUST complete a contest entry form, to be filled out online.

  • All submissions must be original work, produced by you (see note below about Team Entries). Any data points, facts or claims must be backed and cited through reliable sources.

    • Team entries: While team members may be recognized, awards/prizes will be distributed to the official submitter.

  • Submissions to Planet Forward Storyfest can be original material created for the contest OR items created for classes, student media, other contests, etc., so long as it is new content on our site, as of Oct. 22, 2015.

  • Entrants are limited to a maximum of three submissions.

  • Quality and length of submissions:

    • Audio and video submissions should be HD.

    • Written submissions should not exceed 1,000 words.

    • Photo submissions should be original work and a minimum of 72 dpi.


Entries will be judged in four areas:

  1. Quality of information and production
  2. Creativity in presentation
  3. Impact of storytelling
  4. Scalability of the innovation shared

All submitted work will be reviewed by a committee of journalists and sustainability experts.

Finalists will be announced April 4, 2016. Winners will be announced at the 2016 Planet Forward Summit on April 21-22.

View current Storyfest 2016 submissions here!

* Planet Forward interns may enter the contest so long as the project is completed without staff assistance, and on your own time.