BE OPEN and Cumulus are proud and happy to announce three of the four “Design for Sustainable Cities” winners!

The international expert jury of the “Design for Sustainable Cities” student competition, co-held by BE OPEN and Cumulus in support of the United Nations SDG Programme, have selected two of the four competition winners – the awardees of the Main Prize and the Safe City Prize.

  • The Main Prize of €5,000 was allocated to the project with the highest jury’s score – that is Renova by a team of students from Politecnico di Milano, Italy: Beril Beden, Angela Corrado, Anika Rieth, Brenda Villafana, Luiza Braga, Mariah Giacchetta. The solution consists in salvaging good conditioned materials through deconstruction and setting up a platform to bring them together with potential buyers, turning waste into resource. This project aims to design a sustainable business model for city regeneration.

  • The Safe City Prize of €2,000 was allocated to another high-scoring submission designed by a team of students represented by Zhixiang Yang from Shandong University of Art & Design, China – Urban renewal design around Qilu Hospital. The project offers a plan of renovation and redesign for the Qilu Hospital area, guided by the principles of urban renewal and historic protection; micro-introduction of 'big data', ‘smart city' and community management; as well as the 'sponge city' technology.

  • The online vote defined our Public Vote Prize winner of €2,000 – our congratulations go to Catalina Mutis Gutiérrez from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. Catalina is an architecture graduate from Bogota, and her Innovation Laboratory projects gathered over 5000 votes. Innovation Laboratory is an urban renovation project which allows experimentation in areas of architecture such as housing, public space and an innovation center in a disused block in the historical center of Bogotá.

Our last winner, the awardee of the Founder’s Choice prize of €3,000 will be selected in May by the Founder of BE OPEN Elena Baturina from the shortlist of the top 10 submissions in the ranking. Stay tuned!

The focus of the competition is the United Nations’ SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. According to UN data, 2007 marked the shift to an urban world, with more than half of the world’s population now living in urban settings, cities and communities, and urban inhabitation is projected to rise to 60% by 2030. Cities and metropolitan areas are powerhouses of economic growth. However, this growth goes hand in hand with increased carbon emissions and escalating resource consumption.

Consequences of rapid urbanization are evident in growing number of slum dwellers, lack of decent and affordable housing, unplanned urban sprawl, inadequate and overburdened infrastructure and services (such as water and sanitation systems, waste collection, communication systems, energy sources, road and transport infrastructure, food supply chains), worsening air quality and access to clean water.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a direct response to the consequences of urbanization, with SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities putting particular focus on urban settlements. However, all 17 UN SDG’s are relevant when addressing urban sustainability.

To attain the UN SDGs we need to think out of box the goals. We need creative thinking – design thinking - and creative action. Design has a crucial role to play as an instrument or vehicle for the implementation of the UN SDGs. BE OPEN and Cumulus, and all of the stakeholders involved in this international competition programme, strongly believe that creativity is integral in the shift to sustainable existence.

The objective of 'Design for Sustainable Cities' is to recognize, showcase and promote the best design ideas and projects that embody and can advance the principles, aims and implementation of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.