Shelter Global has just announced the winners of its second annual Dencity Competition, highlighting innovative solutions that will improve living conditions for over 1 billion slum dwellers worldwide. Shelter is the Non-Profit partner of Build Abroad. It focuses on design solutions as a multidisciplinary studio while raising awareness for the growing slum problem around the world.

After receiving over 350 registrations from 50 different countries at last year’s inaugural Dencity Competition, Shelter decided to continue their competition on a yearly basis. The Dencity Competition was started as a way to foster new ideas on how to handle the growing density of unplanned cities. There are currently over 1 billion slum dwellers in the world and this number is expected to reach 2 billion by the year 2030. Now, more than ever, architects and planners need to play a central role in the development of substandard neighborhoods. Contestants were asked to consider how design can empower communities and allow for a self-sufficient future. The competition jury consisted of 8 renowned architects and urban planners.

First Place: Versova Koliwada

First place was awarded to Jai Bhadgaonkar and Ketaki Tare from Mumbai. Their project, Versova Koliwada, aims to address critical issues relevant to the design of the Koliwada community. They propose incorporating floatation devices that would positively impact the mangroves and coral in that area. The base of a floating island can be created by tying the bottles into plastic nets and attaching them to wooden boards. Jury member, Katie Crepeau, states that “the proposal has a deep understanding of the not only the local community but it’s wider connection to the city of Mumbai in social, economic and political contexts.”

Second Place: Incremental Alex

Incremental Alex
Second place was awarded to Lauren Brosius, a recent graduate of Philadelphia University. Her project, Incremental Alex, focuses on the Alexandra Township in Johannesburg which is one of the poorest urban areas in the country. Her proposal revolves around the idea of refocusing RPD funding toward improving the infrastructure rather than just building homes. By providing residents with basic infrastructure it allows them a way out of the poverty cycle as well as brings growth and formality to a very informal situation. Jury member, Julia King believes the project was a “very good analysis of a deprived and peripheral neighborhood combined with a sound proposal for how to incrementally develop housing.”

Third Place: Allometric Sake

Allometric Sake
Third place was awarded to the team of Amira Abdel-Rahman, Gabriel Muñoz Moreno, Santiago Serna Gonzalez from Harvard. Their entry chooses to address the ventilation of slums. They focus on retrofitting existing slums and improving their thermal performance through a passively powered space conditioning system. Peter William’s from Archive Global notices that this project is “tackling one of the most pressing issues in informal settlements, offering a radical solution.”

Anyone interested in reading more about the 2016 Dencity Competition (including full project boards of winners and special mentions) can visit the website here:

Shelter Global would like to thank the jury for their work reviewing the numerous projects that were submitted to the 2016 Dencity Competition.