URBAN SOS competition winner announced

The winner of the Urban SOS: Fair Share student competition, which challenged multidisciplinary student teams around the world to explore the nexus of the sharing economy and urban infrastructure to solve our cities’ most urgent issues was announced earlier this week.

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The winning team (First Class Meal) , students at Washington University in St. Louis, proposed reusing United States Postal Service (USPS) post offices slated for closure and their underutilized distribution network to help collect, store, and redistribute surplus food to neighborhoods with limited food access. Team members included Irum Javed, Anu Samarajiva and Lanxi Zhang, students in public health, architecture/urban design and landscape architecture/urban design. The team will receive a cash prize in addition to implementation support from AECOM.

The student teams pitched their proposals to a live audience and a jury of 10 leading professionals from the design, government, business, and tech sectors at AECOM’s office in downtown Los Angeles, including Bill Hanway, executive vice president/global sports leader, AECOM; David van der Leer, executive director, Van Alen Institute; Josh Emig, head of research & development, WeWork; Greg Lindsay, senior fellow, New Cities Foundation; Leah Hanes, executive director, Two Bit Circus; Marissa Aho, chief resilience officer, City of Los Angeles, and 100 Resilient Cities representative; Shahram Mehraban, marketing director, Intel; Skylar Olsen, senior economist, Zillow; Stephen Engblom, senior vice president/global director of Cities, AECOM; and Vince Bertoni, director of planning, City of Los Angeles.

The jury also selected the following teams to receive honors:

2nd place: En Común(a) — Quito, Ecuador: creates a website in partnership with residents in dozens of Quito’s communes to map needs and resources, and develop a new cooperative to promote local farmers in one of the city’s main public markets.

3rd place: WELP (Waste-Help System) — Durban, South Africa: connects households that want to dispose of bulk waste with waste collectors who earn income and gain access to temporary housing for removing the waste.

Honorable mention: The Living City — Athens, Greece: brings together refugees, long-time residents and tourists to activate abandoned buildings and vacant lots with pop-up restaurants and markets.

Find out more at the AECOM Urban SOS website.