RICS launches competition to solve international cities’ problems

An aerial view of Durban Harbour.
An aerial view of Durban Harbour.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has launched the Cities for Our Future Challenge, which is calling on all young people to come up with creative, fresh and new ideas to help tackle the most pressing problems affecting cities in Africa and internationally. 

The competition is held in partnership with UNESCO (the United Kingdom National Commission) and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The growth of the world’s cities is one of the biggest challenges facing society today. Three million people move to cities every week, placing increasing strain on urban infrastructure and services. Many city dwellers live in slums or poor quality housing, and many put up with poor air quality and transport links,” says TC Chetty, RICS Country Manager for South Africa.

Entrants have been asked to propose solutions to issues affecting twenty-four global cities, including Durban, Lagos and Nairobi. With a prize of £50 000 for the global winner, entries will need to provide practical, innovative solutions to address some of these challenges.

Forming part of RICS’ 150th anniversary celebrations and focusing on three key areas of urbanisation, climate change and resource scarcity, the competition enables us to demonstrate the importance of the built environment professions and its appeal to younger professionals and students, while making a real difference to tackling the challenges facing the world today. In addition to the prize money for the global winner, the best entries will also receive guidance and mentoring from RICS professionals in their regions” says TC Chetty.

So if you’re an imaginative, problem-solving young professional, start-up or student involved in surveying, urban design, architecture or engineering, then we want you to share your transformative ideas for projects and policies that will solve some of the defining issues of our time. You are the guardians of the built environment, responsible for all facets of our ever-expanding and changing urban world.

Entrants with regards to Durban, have been asked to consider what similar cities can do to ensure that they protect valuable and natural environments as they continue to grow. Lagos entrants have been asked to consider how similar cities can build more affordable housing to keep up with the rapidly expanding populations. In Nairobi, the entrants are asked to consider what similar cities can do to encourage the development of a low carbon economy.

Young people who wish to enter the competition need to visit and all entries are to be made via the competition’s micro site which will be open until the 31st of May 2018. Entries will be judged initially in each region in June 2018, which will result in a global shortlist of ten entries who will be assisted in developing their ideas (by RICS mentors). The final judging takes place in November 2018.

The world’s cities are growing all the time, creating a range of challenges that will need to be addressed if they are to become safe, clean and comfortable places to live. Throughout the Royal Institution’s 150 years, built environment professionals have been crucial to urban development all over the globe and we are proud to be running this competition to find innovative and practical ideas to improve our cities” comments Sean Tompkins, RICS CEO.