Urban SOS is a student competition to improve challenged urban sites through an interdisciplinary design intervention.
The annual Urban SOS design competition calls upon students currently enrolled in design, architecture, landscape, planning, engineering and environmental studies to answer a specific brief around distressed urban sites with an implementable architectural intervention, grounded in a truly cross-disciplinary response. Urban SOS fosters an approach that considers how a design will impact the surrounding natural, social, physical and economic environments. Within academia, this methodology is often encouraged, but rarely put into practice. Student may briefly confer with consultants or postulate about the implications of working in collaboration with engineers, economists and environmental experts, but seldom do they do real project work in an interdisciplinary team. In addition, teams are required to engage a local non-profit organization to further connect them with their site.
Winners are not only recognized for design excellence; they are given the resources to construct their proposal. Beyond a cash prize, the winning team receives a donation to the charitable, humanitarian or community organization they’ve engaged and access to AECOM’s broad range of technical experts.
Firm Foundation originated as the winning entry in the 2011 AECOM Urban SOS competition. The project redesigns a waterfront area of Sungai Jingah in Banjarmasin, Indonesia, home to a community of low-income families whose livelihood and social interaction depend upon the Andai River, where a lack of basic waterfront services had become a source of vulnerability. The project positions Banjarmasin's rivers as an asset for sustainable development and is a catalyst for future investments in basic services.
The 2012 International SEED Award jury awarded the Firm Foundation one of their highest honors noting the project “successfully combines economic opportunity, community building and reinventing relationships with the river in a highly innovative and contextual way.” Firm Foundation was constructed in April 2013 in partnership with PNPM Mandiri, Indonesia’s national program for slum upgrading and community empowerment.
Firm Foundation received a Social Impact Design Special Recognition by AIA San Francisco.
The project team includes:
Bappeda Kota Banjarmasin: Ir. Fajar Desira, Banjarmasin, Indonesia
Dtrk Banjarmasin: Ibu Betty Goenmiandari, Banjarmasin, Indonesia
Yayasan Kota Kita: Addina Amalia, Surakarta, Indonesia Ahmed Rifai, Surakarta, Indonesia Alice Shay, New York, NY Alykhan Mohamed, Cambridge, MA Bima Pratama, Surakarta, Indonesia John Taylor, Jakarta, Indonesia Michael Haggerty, New York, NY Stephen Kennedy, San Francisco, CA
Pnpm Mandiri: Korkot Banjarmasin Pak Heru Sujatmiko, Banjarmasin, Indonesia