Two Teams from Delft University of Technology Win International Design Competition with Innovative Solutions to Address Urbanisation Problems

Students from Asia, Europe and the US offer holistic solutions to address issues relating to sustainability and aging population in Asian cities

Singapore, 12 July 2012 -- The National University of Singapore’s (NUS) School of Design and Environment, international philanthropic organisation World Future Foundation Ltd (WFF) and Beijing Vantone Citylogic Investment Corp. today announced the winners of the second Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition, which seeks to address the problems of urban sprawl, congestion and pollution faced by Asia’s overcrowded cities.

Two teams from the Delft University of Technology were co-awarded the first prize with the winning entries titled “The Open Ended City” and “Life Time City”, while teams from Tokyo University and Tongji University took the second and third place, respectively. Four Honourable Mentions were also handed out to teams from ETH Zurich, University of Michigan, NUS and Tokyo University.

Dr Cheong Koon Hean, Chief Executive Officer of Housing and Development Board (HDB) and Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of National Development, presented prizes to the four winning teams at an Awards Presentation Ceremony held at NUS this evening.

Vertical Cities Asia, was jointly launched by the NUS and WFF in January 2011 and aims to find new urban models for cities that cater to a greater population without compromising quality of life. To be held annually over a five-year period, the initiatives are supported by a S$1.5 million gift from WFF.

The second in a series of five annual competitions, this year’s competition explores the theme “Everyone Ages”. All across Asia, the number of people aged 65 and above is expected to grow dramatically over the next 50 years. For the region as a whole, the population in this age group will increase by 314 percent - from 207 million in 2000 to 857 million in 2050. Changes that occurred over 50 years in the West are being compressed into 20 to 30 years in Asia. It is this pressing concern of rapidly greying Asian populations which the participating teams were challenged to address.

The competition explores and addresses this concern by encouraging new positive approaches to ageing society that identify opportunities for maintaining capacities and well-being over the life course. By observing concepts such as ‘active ageing’ and ‘ageing in place’, the solutions aim to develop appropriate built environments, for both older and younger generations; a crucial element to successful ageing within the community.

Professor Heng Chye Kiang, Dean of the NUS School of Design and Environment said, “There is a pressing need to find solutions to address the devastating effects on land, infrastructure, and the environment caused by rapidly expanding Asian cities. The importance of an appropriate urban form cannot be underestimated. Many agree that compact high density cities is the answer to the high population density of energy and resource constrained Asian cities and hence the proposed exploration of Vertical Cities in this series of competitions and symposiums. Through the competition we will stimulate young minds; encouraging them to examine critical issues and explore innovative design solutions, thus developing new effective paradigms for a sustainable future.”

Dr Feng Lun, Chairman of WFF said, “The WFF is passionate about promoting research on environmental sustainability. We are pleased to support this initiative as we believe that congestion, depletion of natural resources and the various social ills of urbanisation are key issues faced by all Asian cities. It is through initiatives such as this competition, that we will discover new models of sustainable urban living.”

About the Competition

For the competition, students of architecture and related disciplines from 10 universities were tasked to design one square kilometre of land for 100,000 people, 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), feasibility (buildability, financial and social support), relation to context (place, awareness of conditions, climate and cultural milieu) and technical innovation (technology and techniques). The top three submissions were awarded cash prizes of S$15,000, S$10,000 and S$5,000, respectively.

The Head of the Judging Panel said “We wanted to distinguish a thoughtful process oriented approach, a comprehensive consideration of a variety of dimensions that contribute to city building with a clear vision towards the future, even with a relatively open formalisation. Results and form really matters, but the jury wanted to highlight the attention paid to process and programmes in the proposals. Due to their complementary values, it was a very difficult task deciding between two comprehensive and thoughtful proposals. Therefore, the jury decided to award a shared first prize to the teams from the Delft University of Technology.”

The ten participating universities in Asia, Europe and the United States include NUS, Delft University of Technology, ETH Zurich, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tokyo University, Tongji University, Tsinghua University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania.