Team from University of Pennsylvania clinches first prize with innovative solution to foster community ownership and participation in Asian cities

Singapore, 9 July 2015 - The National University of Singapore's (NUS) School of Design and Environment, together with international philanthropic organisation World Future Foundation Ltd (WFF) and Beijing Vantone Citylogic Investment Corporation (Vantone Citylogic), announced the winners of the "Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition 2015: Everyone Contributes" today. This annual student competition seeks to address the problems of urban sprawl, congestion and pollution faced by Asia's overcrowded cities.

Into its fifth year, this year's competition focuses on the idea of community to explore high density urban typologies for building sustainable and resilient communities and liveable environments. The teams were challenged to provide holistic and integrated solutions for a competition site in Paya Lebar Air Base, Singapore.

A total of 18 teams from 10 universities in Asia, Europe and the United States took part in the competition. The participating universities are: NUS; The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Tongji University; Tsinghua University; University of Tokyo; Delft University of Technology; ETH Zurich; University of California at Berkeley; University of Michigan; and University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Defence, presented prizes to the winning teams at the Awards Presentation Ceremony held at NUS.

University of Pennsylvania was awarded the first prize with the winning entry titled "The Third Reserve", while teams from University of California, Berkeley and Tsinghua University took the second and third places respectively with their entry titled "Quarry Shores" and "Pigeon City", respectively. The top three winning submissions were awarded cash prizes of S$15,000, S$10,000 and S$5,000 respectively. Two Honourable Mentions were also presented to teams from NUS and ETH Zurich.

Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition was jointly launched by the NUS and WFF in January 2011. The initiative aims to find new urban models for cities that cater to a greater population without compromising quality of life. The competition, which is held over five years, is supported by a gift of S$1.5 million from WFF and Vantone Citylogic.

Professor Heng Chye Kiang, Dean of the NUS School of Design and Environment said, "Into its fifth year, the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition continues to attract good proposals addressing urbanisation-related issues. This year, the topic is closer to home, which is to design a vertical city in an area in Singapore. The ideas proposed by the students inspire fresh approaches in managing some of these issues in the context of Singapore. I hope we can continue to discuss and develop innovative solutions that will improve urban living in Singapore and beyond."

Dr Feng Lun, Chairman of WFF said, "The Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition was a new idea when it was first introduced in 2011. Over the last five years, the partnership between the World Future Foundation and NUS School of Design and Environment has been very fruitful. I am pleased to note that the competition has created opportunities for many young designers to showcase their talents, and promoted discussion and research in vertical cities in Asia."

"Everyone Contributes"

This year's competition explores the theme "Everyone Contributes". It is inspired by the symbiotic structure of the ecological system where the functioning of every organism contributes to supporting and sustaining the well-being of the ecology. The theme emphasises the idea of community, networks, resource sharing, circular economy, collaboration, adaptability and resilience. It examines instrumental dynamics between agencies and communities at place-making and enriching the quality of life. It is about a habitat that promotes and invests in social capital. Such living environment will also include the attainment of wellness and happiness as part of its urban metric.

Students from architecture and related disciplines from participating universities were tasked to design one square kilometre of land for 100,000 people in a site that is located at the current Paya Lebar Air Base situated within the eastern part of Singapore. After selecting the site, participants went on to design a holistic solution to address the idea of community, taking into account factors such as density, liveability and sustainability specific to the rapid and exponential growth of urbanism in Asia.

Two proposals from each university were selected for the finals. The Design Jury assessed the entries in five areas: sustainability (environmental); quality of life (inclusiveness and community); technical innovation (technology and techniques); relationship to context (place, awareness of conditions, climate and cultural context); and feasibility (buildability, financial and social support).