Cities around the world are growing at an unprecedented rate, and for the first time in our history represent the preferred place for people to live. Urbanization has historically aided millions to escape hardship through increased employment opportunities, better education and healthcare, large scale public investments, and access to improved infrastructure and services. The city has been the ideal for true heightened livability for people worldwide.
These extraordinary opportunities have also propagated unanticipated pressure on the livability of cities that remains pervasive today. US cities are faced with new 21st century challenges aimed at corroding three interwoven drivers of livability: equity, safety, and affordability. These drivers have been the pillars of American cities, and are now being dangerously tested by the increasing pressures of urbanization.
Just as cities are places for opportunities and inclusion, they can also be places of deprivation and exclusion. Cities have been an engine to grow more wealth per person, but in doing so have also put in place spatial, social, political and economic structures that have greatly widened the divide between classes. 80% of the global GDP is accounted for by cities, while 75% of cities have a higher level of income inequalities than 2 decades ago. Today, the 80 richest people worldwide own the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion.
Just as cities are places for genuine security and refuge, they can also be places for crime, atrocities, and disease. American cities are faced with increasing concentrations of poverty, challenges of health with environmental issues, and war itself is now being urbanized with cities being targeted as places for confrontation of opposing powers, regimes and ideologies. Cities are now responsible for 70% of all emissions. Between 1950 and 2005, the level of urbanization increased from 29% to 49% while carbon emissions increased by 500%.
affordability: Just as cities are places for increased utility, wealth, and opportunity, they can also be places for expense and despair. In 2010, 980 million urban households lacked available housing worldwide. An additional 600 million will lack available housing by 2030. 1 billion new homes are needed worldwide by 2025, costing an estimated $650 billion per year, or $10 trillion in total.
Cities that are environmentally sustainable, inclusive, violence-free, and economically resilient genuinely drive livability. While this opportunity and pressure will be greatly exacerbated with the doubling of the population living in cities to 7 billion by 2050, the challenge will be how the growth is leveraged to sincerely achieve greater livelihoods for all people around the world.
While Washington, DC continues to face the increasing challenges of expedient growth, it also is in the middle of a transition into a new era of retail infrastructure. This transition marks the movement from the historic main streets of the early 1900’s, to the big box retail stores of the 1980’s, to the beginning of a 3rd generation of retail typology that offers the unique opportunity for Washington, DC to reimagine how livable it can be. The challenge is as follows:
1. Select a driver of livability; identify the specific challenges and location of the challenges in Washington DC your solution will address.
2. Describe and illustrate a new typology; incorporating a reimagined role of retail.
3. Describe and illustrate a site-specific intervention deploying your new typology.
submission requirements (at a minimum)
1. 250-500 word written description.
2. Axonometric or isometric illustrating typology. (undefined scale)
3. Site plan illustrating site-specific intervention. (undefined scale)
4. Rendering illustrating site-specific intervention.
1. Plan and/or section of typology. (undefined scale)
2. City-wide location plan illustrating site-specific intervention. (undefined scale)
3. Birds eye rendering illustrating site-specific intervention.
4. Eye level rendering illustrating site-specific intervention.
1. Innovation and creativity of idea. (40%)
2. Display of sensitive understanding of core livability issues. (20%)
3. Clarity and conciseness of proposal narrative. (20%)
4. Graphic quality and clarity. (20%)
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, 2016, wcr.unhabitat.org/main-report/. PG 14.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 34.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 71.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 27.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 69.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 162.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 23.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 1.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 16.
 “WORLD CITIES REPORT 2016.” PG 48.
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