Can students connect communities to opportunity in cities around the world?
hOUR City — the 2017 Urban SOS® student ideas competition presented by AECOM and Van Alen Institute with 100 Resilient Cities — challenged students to connect more communities in cities and regions around the world to opportunity. The result? Bold, multidisciplinary solutions to tackle housing, transportation and economic development challenges, and re-imagine what an “hour city” boundary can be.
Four finalists were selected to present at a live final in Los Angeles, where the jury chose joint winners — The Holding Project and New Suburban Living — for their innovative solutions that tackle the urban housing crisis. Read on to learn more about their winning solutions.
Housing with returns
A challenge shared by cities around the world, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, young people struggle to find affordable housing and job opportunities near the center city. The Holding Project team proposes a joint-housing and economic development plan in central Belfast, tailored to young renters aged 18-35.
On publicly owned vacant sites, the team proposes new pre-fabricated micro-units that would save construction time and costs; tenants would set aside 20% of their monthly rent as savings, and have access to communal open space and workspace.
Sean Cullen, Chris Millar, Queen’s University Belfast
Reinventing suburban living
Experts estimate that Melbourne will need to build 1.2 million units of housing in the coming decades to accommodate a growing population. The New Suburban Living team reimagines the dominant single-family house typology in the city’s Middle Suburbs, proposing a new planning process and multi-storey design.
This new model for suburban living would dramatically increase the amount and types of available housing to better meet the needs of a changing demographic, and make possible more social encounters and employment opportunities.
Lisa Anne Garner, Universität Der Künste; Lauren Garner, RMIT University
Connecting by canal
Once known as the “Venice of the East,” today Bangkok largely ignores its vast canal system. The Alternative Way of Transport team proposes revitalizing this network with a formalized, multimodal path along the Bang Mod canal that connects isolated residential communities to public transit.
The improved pathway would dramatically cut commute times for local residents, offer a safe route for bicycles and provide new gathering places along the way. This prototype could then serve as a model for similar infrastructural improvements citywide.
Wilaiwan Prathumwong, Perada Plitponkarnpim, Patcharida Sricome, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi
Investing in healthier cities
One in every two Americans has a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease. The Healthy City team proposes a series of programmed “loops” (neighborhood paths and regional transit) that connect communities in Oakland to the resources and physical campuses of major health care providers.
The team’s interventions range from small-scale or temporary pilot interventions such as painted paths and exercise equipment, to scaling up to new transit networks that could provide access to health-care related jobs around the region.
Vincent Clement Agoe, Derek Lazo, Serena Lousich, Mark Wessels, Sarah Skenazy, University of California, Berkeley