Vital Cities Design Competition

Since our founding, the Future Spaces Foundation has championed the pursuit of ‘vital cities’ – model cities of the future that are environmentally and economically sustainable, and incorporate smart design to enable communities to thrive. A key aspect of our work has been refining with these cities might look like at a range of scales, from targeted architecture to holistic urban masterplans. Connectivity and placemaking are important factors in enabling citizens to interact, exchange and innovate effectively; density, sustainability and community are also key.

In 2017 we launched a series of student competitions as part of a shifting focus towards providing a design template to realise the vital city. The competitions have challenged architecture students across the UK to envisage specific components of place for a vital city in 2030. Designs could range from an individual building all the way to a town plan, and should consider key features like health and wellbeing, social cohesion, functionality and sustainability.

We‘ve been highly impressed with the responses we’ve received, which have been imaginative and thought-provoking, reflecting a broad range of approaches and ideas. The first round of entries, compiled here, came from students across various year groups at University of Bath, University of Portsmouth, University for the Creative Arts, Birmingham City University and Anglia Ruskin University. They’ve sparked a wider conversation about the ways our cities could evolve and improve – one we look forward to progressing as we take the competition series forward on an international level.

We hope this initiative prompts people to think more widely, and perhaps more playfully, about ways to build strong communities and provide first-class spaces for all.