Wintermission will coach three U.S. cities to plan, pilot, and implement creative solutions to increase social interaction and physical activity in public spaces during winter.


8 80 Cities is accepting proposals for Wintermission project partners in three U.S. cities. We will support these partners to become national leaders in winter city planning, design, and programming. These cities will become Winter City Vanguards, and work with 8 80 Cities and other partners to:

1. Lead a city-wide conversation about public life and social isolation in winter
2. Implement winter city pilot projects
3. Develop a unique winter city strategy

We encourage applications from teams of community leaders that are committed to making their city a vibrant, connected, and accessible place to live in winter.

Winter City Vanguard teams will receive:

  • Technical assistance to implement winter-based pilot projects and develop a Winter City Strategy
  • Up to $15,000 to cover material expenses to implement pilot projects
  • An all-expenses-paid trip for three team members to attend the Winter Cities Shake Up conference in Saskatoon, SK on January 23-26, 2019
  • Ongoing capacity-building and mentorship opportunities from global leaders in winter city building

Application Resources


  • Applicants must be based in the United States.
  • We strongly encourage applications from municipal government departments and elected representatives.
      • Preference will be given to teams lead by senior-level officials and representing multiple municipal departments.
      • Charitable, non-profit, and community organizations are eligible to apply but must include senior-level officials on their team.
  • At least three team members must be available to travel to Saskatoon, SK on January 23-26, 2019 to attend the International Winter Cities Shake Up conference.
  • Applicants must be based in a winter city. For the purposes of this project, a winter city is defined as any city or town that experiences winter climate conditions including cold weather and snowfall to an extent that it influences city-building decisions and development.
  • Applicants must commit time and resources (see Project Roles and Timeline) to partnering with 8 80 Cities on all phases of the project including community engagement, pilot project implementation, and winter city strategy development.

Why Focus on Winter?

Even though most cities in the northern United States experience winter for substantial portions of the year, their built environments do little to embrace their climate. The lack of winter-friendly design and programming in public spaces discourages residents from spending time in public spaces during the cold season. It comes as no surprise then that winter is generally regarded as a time of the year to be endured rather than embraced. This tendency can create a sense of social isolation which contributes to civic lethargy.

We believe that cities have the capacity to lead the charge in addressing social isolation by embracing and inviting public life during the time of year when people feel least inspired to do so!  Building a culture of public life outside in winter also helps build a culture of public life in all seasons. The public realm presents a fantastic opportunity to create socially connected and physically active communities throughout the entire year.


Wintermission is led by 8 80 Cities and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Global Ideas Fund at CAF America. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of CAF America or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Project partners include the Children and Nature Network and National League of Cities. Advisors include the Winter Cities Institute, City of Edmonton, Town of Cochrane, City of Copenhagen, and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

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