Urban SOS™ 2017: hOUR City competition challenges students to strengthen connections between cities and their surrounding regions

Multidisciplinary student teams asked to redefine the boundaries
of the “hour city” radius, providing broader access to opportunity

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AECOM and Van Alen Institute, with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by
The Rockefeller Foundation, today launched Urban SOS™ 2017: hOUR
City, a global student ideas competition that challenges
multidisciplinary teams to help bridge the divide between thriving and
struggling communities in regions around the world.

The “hour city” radius – the distance people can travel in one hour –
has historically defined the boundary of a city, the reach of its
infrastructure, and its exchanges with surrounding areas. However, with
the forces of globalization and dramatic geographic, social, and
economic shifts, the time has come to reimagine new ways to connect
people in suburban, rural, and isolated urban communities. hOUR City
invites students to create outcomes that promote equal access to
opportunity. The solutions proposed by students must tackle
transportation, housing, or economic development challenges, and
re-imagine what a future “hour city” boundary can be.

The 2017 challenge will be the eighth in the Urban SOS™ student ideas
competition series founded by AECOM, a premier, fully integrated global
infrastructure firm, and the third one hosted in collaboration with Van
Alen Institute, a design nonprofit with a 120-plus-year history of
organizing competitions, and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The
Rockefeller Foundation.

“We are experiencing tectonic shifts in the global
geo-political-economic landscapes and cities are at the epicenter. AECOM
is an ideas-driven company that advises cities around the world on how
to address these challenges to succeed,” said Stephen Engblom, AECOM
global cities director. “We believe that the ideas incubated by the
Urban SOS competition will bear imaginative solutions that can then be
delivered in partnership with city leadership.”

“Cities today face opportunities and challenges that require holistic,
interdisciplinary solutions,” said David van der Leer, executive
director of Van Alen Institute. “We are proud to guide tomorrow’s
leaders to collaborate actively to imagine creative visions for the
future of urban life and public space.”

“Many of the issues at the core of resilience building must be solved by
working on a regional level, bridging the divide between urban,
suburban, and rural communities. Areas such as transportation, the
economy, and disaster preparedness need to involve both a city and its
surrounding communities in order to be successful,” said Michael
Berkowitz, president of 100 Resilient Cities. “We are excited to
continue our collaboration on the Urban SOS competition to imagine
regional solutions through the next generation of leaders.”

hOUR City will convene juries of leading professionals from
design, business, government, and other sectors in Hong Kong, London,
New York, and Sydney to review the top student proposals. The finalist
teams will then be invited to present at a final jury event in Los
Angeles in January 2018, with prize money distributed among the finalist
teams. The winning team will also receive in-kind support from AECOM to
implement a pilot version of their project.

Last year’s Urban SOS competition, Fair Share, challenged teams
to combine design with the tools and technologies of the sharing economy
to create more equitable access to resources, envision more sustainable
built environments, and enrich the lives of urban residents. The winning
team, comprising students at Washington University in St. Louis,
proposed reusing United States Postal Service (USPS) post offices in Los
Angeles slated for closure and excess capacity within the USPS
distribution network to collect, store, and deliver surplus food to
neighborhoods with limited food access. Team members include Irum Javed,
Anu Samarajiva and Lanxi Zhang, students in public health,
architecture/urban design and landscape architecture/urban design. The
team is currently developing a pilot initiative to be implemented in Los
Angeles later this year.

Proposals to hOUR City are due by 11:59 pm EDT on Monday, July
17. More information about the competition, as well as links to
pre-register and enter the competition, can be found at http://www.aecom.com/urbansos.

Urban SOS™ 2017: hOUR City is a project of AECOM and Van Alen
Institute, in collaboration with 100 Resilient Cities — Pioneered by The
Rockefeller Foundation. hOUR City photo assets can be viewed
here: http://ow.ly/pq2H30bkQhr

Urban SOS™ is a trademark of AECOM.


AECOM is built to deliver a better world. We design, build, finance and
operate infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and
organizations in more than 150 countries. As a fully integrated firm, we
connect knowledge and experience across our global network of experts to
help clients solve their most complex challenges. From high-performance
buildings and infrastructure, to resilient communities and environments,
to stable and secure nations, our work is transformative, differentiated
and vital. A Fortune 500 firm, AECOM had revenue of approximately $17.4
billion during fiscal year 2016. See how we deliver what others can only
imagine at aecom.com
and @AECOM.
Website: www.aecom.com/urbansos
Twitter: @AECOMUrbanSOS

About Van Alen Institute

At Van Alen Institute, we believe design can transform cities,
landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. We collaborate with
communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and
global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social,
cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a
century of experience, we develop cross-disciplinary research,
provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions.
Website: www.vanalen.org
Twitter: @van_alen
Instagram: @van_alen

About 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation

100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC)
helps cities around the world become more resilient to the physical,
social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st
century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief
Resilience Officer in each member city who will lead the resilience
efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private
sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and
membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices
and challenges.
Website: www.100resilientcities.org
Twitter: @100ResCities


AECOM Media:
Jason Marshall, 1-646-432-8474
Media Relations, Global External Communications
Alen Institute:

Steven Thomson, 1-212-924-7000 x 12
& Communications Manager
Resilient Cities:

Andrew Brenner, 1-646-612-7236
Manager, Global Communications