Students along with their Faculty Sponsor should choose a project that will benefit their community or region. Submissions must clearly demonstrate the design solution with a mature awareness and innovative approach to environmental issues; an articulate mastery of formal concepts and aesthetic values; a thorough appreciation of human needs and social responsibilities; and a capability to integrate functional aspects of the problem. Teams should be interdisciplinary, including students from architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture as well as other fields.

Students are encouraged:

  • to work with local people and institutions to identify the problems and potentials in the current social and ecological community;
  • to think and work across disciplines to understand, identify and solve problems;
  • to consider adaptive a range of reuse strategies for buildings, landscapes, and sites to apply the best of contemporary knowledge, technologies, and design strategies to address these complex problems;
  • to document the anticipated impact of their interventions on the community.

What kind of community is green?
Reclaimed and repurposed brownfield and grayfield sites, transit-oriented developments, compact communities combined with land conservation, communities focused on stewardship of natural resources, & waste conservation.

How can we make communities green?

EARTH: Edible landscapes, urban agriculture, geothermal energy, and xeriscaping

AIR: Wind farms, trees for natural cooling, pollution and emissions reduction

FIRE: Passive and active solar strategies, waste to energy systems 

WATER: Water recycling, flood plain management and damless hydropower 

How can we incorporate agricultural urbanism?
Agricultural urbanism is a tool for planning and designing more sustainable food systems. Incorporating agricultural urbanism creates communities that can feed themselves by allowing each of its resident’s to participate in food production. To design for more self sustaining community students should consider the use of window planters, planting balconies, vertical gardens, rear yard kitchen gardens, allotment gardens, or small farms.

The site for the competition is the choice of the student and/or faculty sponsor. It must be in an urban context, close to public transportation and to city amenities. Submissions will be required to demonstrate graphically or otherwise the site selection and strategy.

Refer to the International Building Code and the local zoning ordinance for information on parking requirements, height restrictions, set backs, easements, flood, egress, and fire containment. Challenges to conventional rules--parking requirements, for example-- are encouraged but should be explained, made explicit and integral to the overall solution.

The focus the project is conservation and sustainability as means to achieve better, healthier, and more beautiful communities. Teams are encouraged to explore strategies and techniques that reduce overall construction cost and waste, and that use innovative methods of design, fabrication and construction.

Green Communities Competition Program (PDF)