Open call for Urban SOS: All Systems Go student design competition

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Van Alen Institute, AECOM, and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by Rockefeller Foundation invite students worldwide to enter Urban SOS: All Systems Go, a global ideas competition calling on multidisciplinary teams to identify risks to urban food, energy, or water systems, and offer strategies to make these systems more efficient, equitable, and accessible to diverse populations.





Across the world, this critical infrastructure is increasingly at risk due to extreme weather, the impacts of climate change, and social and economic strife. In New York City, for example, if storms or a labor dispute were to disable the food distribution hub at Hunts Point for any significant length of time, 22 million people throughout the region would be left with less than three days’ worth of food. Despite the importance and vulnerability of these systems, too often we don’t pay attention to our pipelines, power grids, and food supply chains until they fail.

This competition challenges participants to visualize a systemic food, energy, or water infrastructure problem and its consequences, as well as realistic opportunities for intervention, including a prototype of one or more of their strategies that could be realized within the next 12 months. AECOM will make available $25,000 of cash and in-kind staff time to support the implementation of the prototype.

Three short-listed teams will be invited to present their proposals before an interdisciplinary panel at the A+D Museum in Los Angeles in October 2015. Urban SOS: All Systems Go jurors will award $15,000 in prizes, which may be divided among one or more teams.

The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students at all levels of higher education around the world. Entrants must be enrolled in a certified program during the 2015 academic year at Bachelors, Masters, or Ph.D. levels.

Submissions must come from multidisciplinary teams of up to four members; individuals may not participate alone. Students from the design fields (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Urban Planning) who form teams must include members from at least one other discipline outside of their own, including anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, international development, sustainable economics, engineering, ecology, natural resource science, food policy, and other relevant fields.

To find out more about the competition, download the brief here.

Participants can pre-register for this competition here.

About AECOM:

AECOM is a fully-integrated infrastructure and support services firm with the ability to design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets globally. More than ever, AECOM is helping to positively impact lives, transform communities and make the world a better place.

About 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation:

100 Resilient Cities was created to help cities become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

About Van Alen Institute:

Van Alen Institute collaborates with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, we develop cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions.

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