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

Meet our Urban SOS 2017 Winners & Finalists

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.

Joint Winner: The Holding Project, Belfast

  • 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.

    Joint Winner: The Holding Project, Belfast
  • Joint Winner: The Holding Project, Belfast

    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

Joint Winner: New Suburban Living, Melbourne

  • 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.

    Joint Winner: New Suburban Living, Melbourne
  • Joint Winner: New Suburban Living, Melbourne

    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

Joint 2nd: Alternative Way of Transportation, Bangkok

  • 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.

    Joint 2nd: Alternative Way of Transportation, Bangkok
  • Joint 2nd: Alternative Way of Transportation, Bangkok

    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

Joint 2nd: The Healthy City, Oakland

  • 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.

    Joint 2nd: The Healthy City, Oakland
  • Joint 2nd: The Healthy City, Oakland

    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