Newswise — Singapore, 10 July 2014 – 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 2014: Everyone Connects” today. This annual student competition seeks to address the problems of urban sprawl, congestion and pollution faced by Asia’s overcrowded cities.

Into its fourth year, this year’s competition focuses on urban connectivity. The teams were challenged to provide holistic and integrated solutions for a competition site in Mumbai, India, to ‘connect’ residents to amenities such as clean energy, clean water, fresh air, efficient transportation, as well as facilities for work, live, learn and play.

A total of 19 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.

Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of National Development, presented prizes to the winning teams at the Awards Presentation Ceremony held at NUS.

Tongji University was awarded the first prize with the winning entry titled “Osmosis City”, while teams from Delft University of Technology with their entry titled “Aamchi Mumbai Fundamentals” and Tsinghua University with their entry titled “Believe-In City” took the second and third place, respectively. The top three winning submissions were awarded cash prizes of S$15,000, S$10,000 and S$5,000 respectively.

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, “This is the fourth year that we are organising the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition. These competitions have provided a unique platform for some of the top researchers and students from different countries to collectively study the opportunities and challenges associated with Asia’s rapid growth and urbanisation, and to formulate appropriate, sustainable solutions. We are encouraged by the breadth of ideas presented in the proposals, and we hope to continue to inspire more researchers, students and practitioners to undertake research in the topic of vertical cities.”

Dr Feng Lun, Chairman of WFF said, “The World Future Foundation is pleased to partner the NUS School of Design and Environment in the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition, which recognises some of the best young design talents. In the last four years, many fresh ideas and exciting solutions have emerged from competition. It is through such initiatives that we stimulate the discovery of new models of sustainable urban living to address critical problems that the world today faces.”

“Everyone Connects”

This year’s competition explores the theme "Everyone Connects". Urban cities are experiencing rapid urbanisation which becomes a challenge to city planning. The fast pace of urbanisation has negatively impacted young Asian cities, as development of infrastructure is unable to catch up with rapid population growth. As a result, these cities suffer from high density housing, overcrowding on public transport, shortage of drinkable water and the absence of effective drainage channels. By 2050, it is projected that nearly 80 per cent of the world population will reside in urban centres. Participants for this year’s competition were challenged to propose solutions to the problems of urban connectivity.

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 in Mumbai, India. The site includes sections of Sewri and Parel in Mumbai. After selecting the site, participants went on to design a holistic solution to address the issue of urban connectivity, taking into account factors such as density, liveability and sustainability specific to the rapid and exponential growth of urbanism in Asia.

Proposals are required to present a holistic and integrated approach that allows residents to connect to liveability, which involves a functional connection to clean energy; clean water; fresh air; transport efficiency; work, live and play opportunities; and communities.

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).

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