Can students connect communities to opportunity in cities around the world?

Urban SOS: hOUR City

hOUR City — the 2017 Urban SOS® student ideas competition presented by AECOM and Van Alen Institute with 100 Resilient Cities — challenged students to strengthen connections between cities and disconnected communities. The result? Bold, multidisciplinary solutions to tackle housing, transportation and economic development challenges, and re-imagine what an “hour city” boundary can be.

From transforming public libraries into teleworking hubs in Washington DC and creating mobile micro-housing units for homeless individuals in Singapore to connecting slum communities to their more affluent neighbors in Addis Ababa, read on to see what ideas have made the 2017 semi-final.

Semi-Finalists

  • Semi-Finalists

    Housing Trail

    Seoul, South Korea

    In a mountainous district of small garment factories, this team envisions a housing complex intertwined with a road running through — connecting residents and workers to new public spaces and to the lowland wholesale market.

    Team: Tsz Wing Yeung, Ng Tsz Wai Jason, University of Hong Kong.

  • LibWork

    Washington, DC, United States

    Libraries are being forced to redefine their mission in a digital age. This team wants to repurpose underused library space to support co-working and entrepreneurial activity, ensuring they remain a key anchor in their communities.

    Team: Ann Le, Angela DeGeorge, Melissa De La Cruz, The New School, Parsons.

    Semi-Finalists
  • Semi-Finalists

    Luminous Pockets in the Empty Capital

    Lisbon, Portugal

    This team creates a mobile canopy that can be easily assembled in public spaces citywide, functioning as a “cultural incubator” that brings refugees and established residents together for flea markets, food, music and other activities.

    Team: Vardhan Mehta, Annette Veliz, Pratt Institute; Shaguni Gupta, Khalid Ayaz Khan, Fleur Bonkhoon, Syracuse University.

  • Bykvan

    Singapore

    This team wants to offer homeless, unemployed people a “Bykvan,” — a scooter retrofitted with a kit containing a temporary housing unit, as well as an app to connect them to job opportunities.

    Team: Debbie Goh, Singapore University of Technology and Design; Ang Leng Yuk, Lim Kai Ning, Erika Choong, Nanyang Technological University; Low Mei You, Singapore Management University.

    Semi-Finalists
  • Semi-Finalists

    The Healthy City

    Oakland, United States

    This team envisions healthier cities, aiming to connect communities suffering from high rates of chronic diseases to the spaces and resources of healthcare providers using traffic calming, recreation opportunities and new transit options.

    Team: Vincent Clement Agoe, Derek Lazo, Serena Lousich, Mark Wessels, Sarah Skenazy, University of California, Berkeley.

  • New Suburban Living

    Melbourne, Australia

    In Melbourne’s “Middle Suburbs,” where the housing stock is predominantly single-family homes, this team proposes an incremental redevelopment plan that allows greater density; large, shared outdoor spaces; and more diverse housing choices.

    Team: Lisa Anne Garner, Universität Der Künste; Lauren Garner, RMIT University.

    Semi-Finalists
  • Semi-Finalists

    White Collar Backpackers

    Yiwu, China

    For the growing population of professionals who commute weekly to satellite cities, this team proposes a new kind of extended-stay in hotels, allowing guests to personalize spaces and avoid having to rent expensive apartments.

    Team: Ningxin Cheng, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Shengjun Luo, Fudan University; Jia Zhang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

  • The Holding Project

    Belfast, Northern Ireland

    Targeting young people aged 18-35, this team proposes a joint-housing and economic development plan that develops new micro-units on vacant city center land, and also sets aside 20 percent of a tenant’s rent as savings.

    Team: Sean Cullen, Chris Millar, Queen’s University Belfast.

    Semi-Finalists
  • Semi-Finalists

    The Event Corridors

    Toyama, Japan

    To meet the needs of an aging population, the team re-imagines a “compact city” as one that densely develops homes, stores and services along public transit corridors, rather than in a single city center.

    Team: Ka Wing Ho, Tak Hei Ivan Cheng, The University of Hong Kong; Mei Sin Bianca Wong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

  • Atlanta Absorb and Release

    Atlanta, United States

    This team proposes a new bus network that connects suburban communities with each other and the city center, along with solar panel canopies that define and cool new public spaces along the transit route.

    Team: Anna Caledonia Morrison, Zazu Phillips Swistel, Henry Jerome Neuwirth, University of Virginia.

    Semi-Finalists
  • Semi-Finalists

    Alternative Way of Transportation

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Aiming to connect isolated residential communities to public transit, increase bike safety and reduce dependence on cars, this team proposes a new, formalized canal-side pathway for bikers and pedestrians along the Bangmod Canal.

    Team: Wilaiwan Prathumwong, Perada Plitponkarnpim, Patcharida Sricome, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi.

  • UR Connect

    New York City, United States

    Establishing local co-operatives that bring high-speed internet networks and a physical hub to underserved urban and rural communities, UR Connect — or Urban Rural Connections — aims to expand social and economic opportunities for local residents.

    Team: Michaela Kramer, The New School — Concordia University; Leonore Snoek, The New School — University of Amsterdam; Jakob Winkler, The New School — University of Vienna.

    Semi-Finalists
  • Semi-Finalists

    Social Transit Oriented Development

    Jakarta, Indonesia

    In an outlying social housing district, this team envisions an integrated bike- and bus-based public transit system and community center that makes it easier for displaced residents to get to regional employment clusters.

    Team: Hanang Pandu Himawan, Fakhrisya Ayutia Zahra, Laras Ayu Sekartaji, Ferry Fernando, Institut Teknologi Bandung; Muhammad Aditya Padmanaba, Universitas Indonesia.

  • WorkSpace

    London, England

    Tapping into existing government initiatives to end homelessness, the team proposes an initiative to reclaim abandoned industrial buildings for use as integrated hubs for housing, job training and social service programs for homeless people.

    Team: Hui Min Foo, Heng Xuan Teo, University of Cambridge; Yiming Gong, Crystal Chang Xuan Li, Nanyang Technological University.

    Semi-Finalists
  • Semi-Finalists

    Strategies for Central Living

    Pune, India

    This team re-imagines India’s “railway colonies” — low-density employee housing built by the national rail company, typically located on public land near train stations in city centers — as sites for high-density co-housing to accommodate population growth.

    Team: Swapnil Rohidas Kangankar, Amar Suhas Kulkarni, Samuel Dordowa Benya Senesie, Avinash Hari Dass, Technical University of Berlin.

  • IQQUB

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Focusing on informal settlements, the team proposes establishing a collective that pools building materials from local residents, and financial contributions from more affluent residents in surrounding neighborhoods, to construct new housing and public buildings.

    Team: Lelissa Erkissa Kasim, Mikyas Tekle Hagos, Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development; Simon Mucheye Asradew, Addis Ababa University.

    Semi-Finalists