About the 2023 Competition

Co-sponsored by the Urban Design and Preservation Division, Divisions Council and the Student Representatives Council, the annual Student Design Competition creates opportunities for interdisciplinary student collaboration while advancing a current Divisions Council initiative. Competition finalists are awarded $4,500 in combined prize money.

Co-sponsored by the American Planning Association (APA) Urban Design and Preservation Division, Divisions Council, and Student Representatives Council, APA presents the Annual Student Design Competition as part of the 2023 National Planning Conference (NPC2023) in Philadelphia, PA. Now in its sixth year, the competition invites teams of students pursuing graduate degrees in planning, public policy, urban design, architecture, and real estate development to participate. New this year is the competition's focus on a community issue in the NPC host city. The attention to student design in these real-life spaces continues APA's ongoing effort to provide leadership in the development of vital communities. By advocating excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, APA hopes to provide the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change.

This year's competition challenges students to create planning and design proposals that demonstrate a multidisciplinary and multifaceted approach to promoting public health, equitable access to nature, inclusive design, and high-quality, affordable housing options for the Logan Triangle area, one of Philadelphia's largest concentrations of vacant land located in the city's Upper North District.

2023 Student Design Competition Brief


Previous Winners

2021

First Place

Reimagine, Macon Georgia

Team Reimagine — University of Georgia

Team Reimagine pursues to help regenerate a city that has struggled with many challenges regarding civic engagement, socioeconomic mixing/racial injustice, connectivity between communities, and environmental sustainability. The purpose of honing deep on site context and analysis was to find the true character of the spaces and the people of Macon. Our proposed ideas and designs strove to not only tackle the existing challenges but to also help create a healthy and safe environment for all residents in the community through public access, parks and recreation, and revitalizing the downtown.

Team Members: Adolfo Martinez, Karlie Roper, Margaret Apperson, Duncan Watts, Jeremy Smith, Anneka Pace

University of Georgia

Team Reimagine — University of Georgia

2020

First Place

Team RES

Columbia University

Team RES -- Columbia University

"Team RES (resilient, responsive, restorative) seeks to promote healthy communities, support workforce development and community entrepreneurship, increase high-quality housing options, and incorporate strategies that optimize environmental assets and awareness. Through our proposal, we seek to address some of the community's concerns targeting flood mitigation, environmental remediation, gentrification, housing affordability, and the high crime rate. We explore the myriad of solutions around planning for communities that are equitable, resilient, and for residents who need ready access to housing that's affordable."

Report

Poster

Second Place

University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign

2020 Student Design Competition University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign

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Poster

Third Place

Harvard University

2020 Student Design Competition Harvard University

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Poster

2019

Team Fruitpad

Cornell University

2019 Student Design Competition winners, Team Fruitpad from Cornell University.

2019 Student Design Competition winners, Team Fruitpad from Cornell University.

2018

NOLA Shares

Cornell University

Poster

Report

Team Leader — Anna Callahan; Team Members — Thomas Pera, Hannah Plummer, Kari Spiegelhalter

NOLA Shares features a web and app-based platform that aims to increase and facilitate shared skills, resources and knowledge across the Iberville community in downtown New Orleans. In addition to cloud-based infrastructure, the team proposed physical kiosks installed throughout the neighborhood to guarantee access for all residents.

2017

L.E.A.P. to a Smart Future

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Poster

Report

Team Leader — Xiaochen Chen; Team Members — Yuanyi Xiao, Donggyu Lee

The 2017 Student Design Competition invited interdisciplinary student teams to apply place-based Smart City technologies to a specific New York City site. The winning team, L.E.A.P. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, creatively identified a four-part vision — L.E.A.P. to a Smart Future — detailing how Smart City technologies could be used to improve Livability, Empowerment, Accessibility, and Play on site.

Finalists

Four additional teams were selected as finalists and presented their ideas at the National Planning Conference in New York City.

Smart CATS

Kansas State University

Poster

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Adaptive Strategies

New York University

Poster

Report

UCLA MURPs

University of California, Los Angeles

Poster

Report

The All-Nighters

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Poster

Report