Urban SOS: Fair Share

Led by AECOM and Van Alen Institute, in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities — Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, Urban SOS: Fair Share challenged multidisciplinary student teams to combine the concepts of the sharing economy with physical design to propose innovative solutions to critical urban issues. The challenge culminated in a live final jury event in Los Angeles on January 10, 2017, with finalist “First Class Meal” emerging as the 2016 winner.

Students at Washington University, “First Class Meal” proposed revitalizing United States Postal Service (USPS) post offices slated for closure and their underutilized distribution network by using them to collect, store and redistribute surplus food to neighborhoods with limited food access. Students of architecture/urban design, landscape architecture/urban design, and public health, the team will receive up to US$25,000 of in-kind support from AECOM to realize a pilot project from their proposal as well as a US$7,500 prize.

Four finalists competed at the final event, presenting to a jury of ten leading professionals from the design, government, business and technology sector, as well as a live audience. The following finalists were also honoured:

  • 2nd place ($5,000): En Común(a) proposed creating a website in partnership with residents in dozens of Quito’s communes in Ecuador to map needs and resources, and develop a new cooperative to promote local farmers in one of the city’s main public markets.
  • 3rd place ($2,500): In Durban, South Africa, WELP (Waste-Help System) envisioned connecting households with bulk waste to waste collectors who earn income and gain access to temporary housing for removing the waste.
  • Honorable mention: The Living City, in Athens, Greece, proposed bringing together refugees, residents and tourists to activate abandoned buildings with pop-up restaurants and markets.

Proposals were received from 31 countries worldwide. Qualified submissions were thoroughly reviewed by panels of global experts from academia, urban planning, design, technology and architecture held in Hong Kong, Sydney, New York and London, selecting four teams to progress to the Los Angeles final.

A global student competition, Urban SOS challenges multidisciplinary teams of students to propose solutions to urban issues and support more equitable access to resources, improve the built environment and enrich the quality of life of urban residents. For more details on “Fair Share,” the seventh challenge in the Urban SOS series, download the competition brief. For more details on the 2016 winning team and finalists click here.

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