$125,000 in prizes to be awarded in international “Living City Design Competition”

Design teams from around the world are expected to create powerful visual renderings of truly sustainable cities based explicitly on the Imperatives of the Living Building Challenge 2.0.


The Living City Design Competition (ilbi.org/livingcity) requires participants to select an existing city anywhere in the world and conceptually transform it through photo-realistic three-dimensional modeling and renderings.  Leveraging the Living Building Challenge’s already substantial impact on the green building industry, the competition is expected to draw contributions from multi-disciplinary teams composed of the world’s most talented and daring designers, planners, artists and animators.  The International Living Building Institute created the competition in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, with generous funding from the Kendeda Fund and the Summit Foundation and media support provided by Metropolis Magazine


The competition is designed to elicit compelling renderings of cities capable of meeting all of the requirements of the Living Building Challenge 2.0.  Successful entries will capture the attention and imagination of a broad audience, while offering technical information capable of standing up to expert scrutiny.  These visualizations will offer a corrective to popular assumptions about an inevitable future filled with high-tech, ecologically dislocated cities.  Successful competition entries will be grounded in science and will illustrate a strategy for meeting the requirements of the Living Building Challenge 2.0.  These entries will help reframe public aspirations for the future of urban communities by providing clear visions of true sustainability.


Cascadia CEO Jason F. McLennan expects considerable interest.  “This competition is going to bring the tenets and principles of the Living Building Challenge to life on an international stage,” he said.  “We’ve had several generations of novels and movies training us to think that the future will be full of grim cities.  Just think of how Los Angeles is portrayed in Blade Runner.  We need to offer a new vision – not a sci-fi ‘ecotopia’, but an achievable vision of the ecologically sound future we can create if we clearly define the end-game.”


All entries must weave plans for new construction into strategies for rehabilitating and retrofitting existing buildings and infrastructure.  Proposed technology must be based on existing products or prototypes, with preference given to low-tech, affordable and replicable solutions.  Science and pragmatism, not science fiction and fantasy, are the guiding principles.  Designs of ecological cities should focus on walking and biking as primary modes of transportation, growing food as a key part of the urban fabric, and livable density (without skyscrapers) that encourages vibrant connected communities.


The winning entry will receive $75,000 and the second prize is $25,000. Judges will include representatives from the International Living Building Institute, as well as other prominent green visionaries.   An additional prize of $25,000 will be awarded to the best example of a Living City that preserves and respects the historic context of its community and the existing infrastructure of 2010. This award will be granted by representatives from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The competition also includes a “People’s Choice award” and “Living Building Community choice award” that will be selected by industry peers.  All entries must be based explicitly on the tenets of Living Building Challenge Version 2.0, and teams must be comprised of members of the Living Building Challenge community.  Entry fees range from $500 from professional firms to $100 for students and those who are unemployed. 


Complete details are available here: ilbi.org/livingcity

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