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CBDX: CITIES FOR ALL international design ideas competition asks students to increase equity and inclusion in cities

By Mitali Pradhan, November 2 2020—

CBDX: CITIES FOR ALL, the first in the CBDX series, is an opportunity for participants to engage in open conversations and provides a platform for marginalized voices.

The competition is being organized by the University of Calgary School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape in collaboration with the Center for Civilization, the Calgary Hub of the Global Shapers Community, the Advocates for Equitable Design Education (AEDE), and the generosity of Stantec.

“This is an ideas competition, so entrants should aim to think outside the box and feel free to design any place, structure, thing, system, process, or relationship that increases the inclusion, belonging and equity of their client within the context of their site,” stated Alberto de Salvatierra, assistant professor of urbanism and data in architecture and director of the Center for Civilization at the University of Calgary School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

The competition asks participants to investigate topics such as equity, activism, ecology, environment and health and wellness in the context of future cities. This year in particular, inequalities present for decades were exacerbated by the multiple crises faced globally. Therefore, this competition focuses on design for clients that have been underrepresented, undervalued, or under-addressed in past design discourse.

“What does a city for all look like? How does it operate and function? How can it come into being? What place, structure, thing, system, process, or relationship must be forged to engender a more just and equitable ‘city for all’?” were all questions posted by de Salvatierra. “And in particular — this is perhaps the most crucial question — the competition asks, ‘How are these aims navigated by, through, and with the current uncertainty wrought by the ongoing global pandemic and the long-term existential threats of environmental degradation and climate change?’”

Registrations for the competition launched on Oct. 1 and will close on Dec 31. The competition is open to students and professionals both individually and in teams. There will be eight jurors from across academia and practice, including de Salvatierra. The three winners will receive $2,000 CAD, a certificate, publication in the CBDX issue, and exhibited in a curated exhibition. In addition, 12 honorable mentions will receive a certificate, publication in the CBDX issue, and will also be exhibited in a curated exhibition. The curated exhibition will include up to 35 finalists.

“We are looking for bold, unapologetic ideas that address real concerns while navigating the twin challenges of the ongoing pandemic and climate change,” stated de Salvatierra. “We encourage interdisciplinary teams and even collaborations between students and professionals.”

Students interested in participating can find more information and a registration form online.

The CBDX: Cities for All competition poster. // Photo courtesy of UCalgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

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