Wellington’s Bloomberg Global Mayors Challenge Winning Project

The Council is using the US$1 million of prize money to develop innovative digital community engagement tools to engage and educate residents about localised climate impacts and options for adaptation.

Snapshot from Wellington’s Digital Twin model

Our challenge

Te-Whanganui-a-Tara will be increasingly exposed to climate change impacts including sea level rise, storm surges, flooding and slips.

"As a coastal city that is highly exposed to climate change impacts and with few options for relocating infrastructure, businesses and homes, it’s critical we enable evidence-based climate adaptation decisions in the next two to three years to respond to the climate and ecological emergencies declared by Council. We need new tools and engagement methods that allow everyone to understand the impacts, and to participate in co-creating a climate-resilient city." Alison Howard, Manager of Climate Change Response

The winning innovative concept

In 2022 Council won the prestigious Bloomberg Mayors Challenge, a global competition recognising the boldest and most ambitious urban innovations that help cities tackle global issues including climate change.

The US$1million prize money will be spent over three years (July 2022 – July 2025) to co-create an interactive digital tool to engage and educate residents about localised climate impacts and adaptation.

This project aligns with Council’s Te Atakura First to Zero Climate Change Strategy.

The project leverages the powerful data-driven visual storytelling capability of the Digital City Model/Digital Twin to support the Council’s community-focused climate change adaptation work programme. The project will visualise climate change impacts and explore adaptation options with mana whenua, scientists, and residents in an easily accessible, interactive format for all to use.

We are developing our Wellington City 3D model in the open-source gaming engine, Unreal, which will allow other cities to access and replicate our concept in their own context.


Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge is a global competition designed to spark innovative ideas for improving cities, and the lives of people living in them.

This challenge was entered by over 600 cities worldwide and recognises the boldest and most ambitious urban innovations that address current issues including climate and the environment.

Only 15 cities worldwide were selected as overall winners and Wellington was the only New Zealand city to take out a top prize.

Contact us

If you need more information about this project, contact:

Pax Austin, Project Manager
Email: pax.austin@wcc.govt.nz