AECOM Announces Urban SOS Winners

AECOM has announced 'Unslumming Kibera' as winner of the fourth annual Urban SOS competition.

The student competition received submissions from 118 universities in 41 countries. Three projects were shortlisted for a presentation to a panel of judges in New York on Jan 16.

Read about the finalists and their projects after the break

Unslumming Kibera. Courtesy of AECOM

The winning team members are Adam Broidy, Jack Campbell Clause, Jamilla Harper and April Schneider, from California College of the Arts, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Nairobi and University of Illinois, Chicago respectively. Their project focused on the Kenyan slum of Kibera. With a population of 250,000 mostly low-paid workers, sharing an average of 12 square feet per person, the area doesn’t benefit from proper waste management, clean water or law enforcement. 

The team set up partnerships with community groups to develop space for recreation, income generation and civic engagement. Using the river as a "corridor for development", they envisioned creating a network of community-driven projects alongside the waters edge to foster a deeper change in Kibera.

In 2012 they developed a pilot site, hosting a number of workshops and community meetings to draw on the collective concerns and opinions of the residents. Their final proposal consisted of a water-treatment plant, a craft space for community groups, business kiosks, an Internet café and a play space.

The other finalists were Juan Camilo Pinzon, Universidad de los Andes, and Guillermo Umana, Macquarie University, with “Green Terraces” and Sara Navrady of Delft University of Technology, with her project “Sewage Ecologies/Economies”

Green Terraces. Courtesy of AECOM

‘Green Terraces’ focuses on the Colombian locality of Ciudad Bolivar, located on the slopes of the mountain range between the cities of Bogota and Socha. Since 1985 thousands of Colombians, displaced by armed conflict, have settled here. Being on the border, the area is often a neglected by both cities, while suffering from landslides and flooding caused by years of local gravel extraction.

By converting the slopes of the mountain into agricultural terraces, the project would increase the sites stability and capacity to retain water. The new terraces would provide allow the locals to adapt the site to their need, creating opportunities for agriculture, job creation, waste management, water provision and food security within the community.

Sewage Ecologies/Economies. Courtesy of AECOM

‘Sewage Ecologies / Economies’ is a community initiative based in the Mexican town of Riberas del Bravo. The town, built to provide accommodation for factory workers, suffers from unoccupied housing, lack of usable public space and an open sewage canal, which runs through the center of the site.

The project proposes constructing wetlands in the barren space between houses that could process sewage locally and provide treated water suitable for urban farming. Parallel to this, a community co-op would oversee farming. Food produced could be sold locally and cooked in communal kitchens, powered by biogas generated from the settlement tanks. The project would create an micro-economy and a new ecological habitat in the town.

AECOM CEO, John M. Dionisio, said “Initiatives such as our Urban SOS student competition provide a platform for promoting innovative approaches to some of the critical challenges facing the urbanized world. All of the finalists deserve congratulations for their inspirational presentations.”

This is the fourth year of the AECOM Urban SOS award, which aims to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking in urban problem solving.


Image gallery

See allShow less
About this author
Cite: Nicky Rackard. "AECOM Announces Urban SOS Winners" 03 Feb 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.