This is an ideas competition. The brief is to design a physical intervention/series of interventions that meaningfully improves the lives of refugees in the city, in the short, medium and/or long term.

Above all, design intervention(s) must result from the consideration of ‘non-physical’ issues such as social engagement, integration, livelihoods and governance. Intervention(s) should capitalise on what the city has to offer, for example the sharing economy, employment opportunities and diversity.

The intervention(s) can be in any city or cities anywhere in the world, responding to a real or hypothetical situation. The intervention(s) can consider any or all sectors (public, private, non-government), formal and/or informal. Interventions can also be at different scales, ranging from local to city-wide. Physical interventions include buildings (new or repurposed), infrastructure (including transport), and/or the use/reuse of public space.

Successful entries will bear the following in mind:

  1. Intervention(s) that isolate refugees, and do little to integrate refugees into the life of the city, are unlikely to succeed. Successful intervention(s) are likely to be those that also consider the wider ‘host’ community.

  2. ‘Meaningful’ intervention(s) are those that address one or more of the challenges identified above, respond to the scale of the need, and bring benefits to both refugees and to others living in the city. Ideally the benefits from these interventions would be measurable over time. 

  3. Designs must be based on research and exploration. For example, critical needs might relate to housing, access to services, employment opportunities and/or social integration. It could also relate to addressing wider societal attitudes, leading to intervention(s) that prioritise advocacy, perhaps tying in with global agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This is a particularly complex area of engagement, where ‘solutions’ are hard to find, and where design-only interventions have not succeeded. Yet, the need for exploring and identifying meaningful ways to engage refugees in cities has never been greater.



  • First prize, US$5000

  • Second prize, US$2500

  • Third prize, US$1000

  • Three honourable mentions

The winning schemes will be announced at the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes conference, being held at UNSW (Sydney), August 29 - September 1, 2019


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