Urban SOS winner “First Class Meal” suggests innovative food insecurity solution

Winner of the Urban SOS: Fair Share student competition, “First Class Meal” imagines a bold new mission for the distribution network and building stock of the United States Postal Service (USPS), creating a new kind of food infrastructure in Los Angeles. We speak to Anu Samarajiva, Irum Javed and Lanxi Zhang, three master’s students from […]

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Urban SOS finalist “The Living City” links refugees with abandoned buildings to address Athens’s “crisis within a crisis”

One of the four finalists in the Urban SOS: Fair Share student competition, “The Living City” tackles some of the most challenging issues of our time — migration and abandoned building stock post recession. The Living City proposes capitalizing on the more than 300,000 vacant units in Athens to allow refugees arriving in the city […]

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Urban SOS finalist “En Comúna” suggests app to map and connect Quito communes

A finalist in the Urban SOS: Fair Share student competition, “En Comúna” proposes developing an app that would allow residents of communes to share resources and improve the social and economic infrastructure of their communities. We talk to Mateo Fernández-Muro from Polytechnic University of Madrid and Francisco Miranda of Parsons The New School for Design […]

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Urban SOS finalist “WELP” proposes waste disposal that works for households and collectors

A finalist in the Urban SOS: Fair Share student competition, “The Waste-Help System” (WELP) proposes creating a municipal sharing platform for Durban, South Africa, that connects households with waste to collectors who earn income from disposing of it. The program would see the creation of five hubs citywide, where collectors can dispose of bulk waste […]

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The new urban infrastructure equation

What makes a city? Places we live. Places we work. Places we shop and enjoy ourselves. Shared public spaces. The systems that move us from point to point. The systems that deliver water and energy to us. All of this is physical infrastructure of one kind or another. There are also the capital and funding […]

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Urban SOS: All Systems Go

How can Thailand’s capital of Bangkok reduce flooding, clean up its water, and improve transportation? How can the island city-state of Singapore build food resiliency? How can Quito, Equador solve climate-change-driven water problems? Student finalist teams will present their answers to these questions on Thursday, October 15 at the A + D Museum in Los […]

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Do our cities need more icons?

This was the subject of a discussion convened by AECOM at the Center for Architecture during the opening week of our Urban SOS exhibition. We invited a small group of thinkers and observers of the built environment in New York to discuss the topic with four of AECOM’s design leaders. Jacinta McCann, global lead for […]

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Urban SOS: one project at a time

Finalists Emily Saunders and Michelle Zucker presenting at New York’s Center for Architecture. In the design world, competitions are a dime a dozen. As Rem Koolhaas has lamented, design is the only profession where so much energy is spent on work that exists only in books or blogs, the fruit of long under- or unpaid […]

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Urban SOS: towards a new industry

Images courtesy of Urban SOS 2014 finalists. In post-industrial cities, many sites that were once centers of production are now dead zones in the urban fabric. In its fifth year, the Urban SOS competition invited students worldwide to imagine these spaces reinvigorated by new forms of industry appropriate to their modern contexts. The competition calls for […]

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Firm Foundation

Firm Foundation waterfront public space, Banjarmasin, Indonesia. Photo by Bima Pramata. It has been about a year now since a new public space called Firm Foundation opened in Banjarmasin – a delta city on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan. Like all of the housing nearby, Firm Foundation is built on stilts over river water. It was […]

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