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Green Infrastructure Competition

The EPA has launched its 2nd annual Campus RainWorks Challenge for college and university students. Student teams design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.

Although this competition is for US entrants, as always, consider using the format to participate up to the point of submission, then assemble your own judging panel. Get your university to pitch in funds to build the winning project–if you agree a budget with them in advance, students can work out their design within a budget.

Rain Garden (courtesy EPA)

Stormwater runoff is one of the largest water pollution problems in cities, where rainwater falls on paving, buildings and other contaminated surfaces and picks up oil, garden chemicals, cleaners, and other toxins and carries them into sewers that dumpt them into local waterways.

Traditional approaches for managing runoff involve catching it in ponds and otherwise  piping it away from the urban environment to prevent flooding. Green infrastructure suggestes that we go back to letting plants and soil filter stormwater while also removing toxins from the equation. Approaches such as rain gardens also create urban amenities, improve local air quality, and cool the local environment.

Perfect for Interdiscplinary Student Teams

This project is a great opportunity for students from different design disciplines to work together and develop ties to the campus “estate management” team–who can serve as an “internal client.”

In addressing this type of challenge, product designers can think about paving tiles and outdoor “furniture.” Graphic or environmental designers can think about how to communicate the value of the infrastructure. Architects and landscape architects can think about the “outdoor room” or corridor they’re creating along with planting and other structures.

There are two categories:
Master Plan
Site Design
Teams can win cash prizes, and the Site Design winner might be eligible for grant funding to build the project in their submission.

You must register your team to enter by October 7, 2013 and entries are due December 13, 2013.

Other Awards & Competitions

Know of any current or upcoming student design competitions worth sharing? Let us know it the comments.  You can see results of Core77’s Design Awards in the “social impact” category (particularly development projects aimed at the global South) as they begin profiling them here.

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