RICS Moves Closer To Cities Of The Future Winner

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors founded this competition for young people around the world to create solutions to urban challenges including rapid urbanization, climate change, and resource scarcity.

Canal City, a transformational idea to address the problem of coastal flooding while providing leading-edge urban park facilities in Coney Island will represent North America in the Cities for our Future competition spearheaded by RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). Chosen from 1,200 entrants, 12 ideas join the competition’s global shortlist from which the overall winner will be announced November 2018 and awarded a prize of £50,000 (approx. USD65,000).

The proposed idea would regenerate Coney Island, while providing solutions to prevent coastal flooding. Canal City would reinvigorate the area, with water flowing into central water plazas, providing gathering spaces and flexible event venues designed to support the local community and attract tourism.

“Coney Island was significantly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012,” said Cheyenne Lau, the New York architect who envisioned Canal City. “It was evident to me that there was an opportunity to rebuild the pre-existing, deprived neighborhood in a resilient manner, prioritizing flood planning and the local economy. I am very excited to have made it to the final stage and look forward to developing the idea with my RICS mentor.”

coastal flooding
Image: RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors)

RICS founded the Cities for our Future competition to encourage young people around the world to draw upon their imagination and innovative ideas to create practical solutions to issues including rapid urbanization, climate change and resource scarcity. The urban population is growing at a global rate of three million people every week, creating an even greater need to cultivate resiliency in response to this rural/urban shift.

The next step in the Cities for our Future competition, led by RICS in partnership with the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, is to pair each of the 12 finalists with an RICS mentor to help finalists develop their ideas in advance of the final judging in November.

Cassandra Francis of KARIATID, Head Judge of the regional judging panel for North America said: “We have been tremendously impressed by the innovative ideas that young competitors have envisioned. Cheyenne’s Canal City design cleverly addresses challenges posed both by surge flooding and urban degeneration while providing exciting urban park spaces that will serve as community and tourism resources.”

Last month, Canal City was announced as one of the five shortlisted submissions in the competition. The other four projects, now out of the running, but still notable are:

  • Floating affordable houses for New York City to take advantage of the city’s long coastline and provide public space and urban vegetable gardens
  • Smart, off-grid vertical and self-sustaining suburbs with include vertical farming, floodproof main floors and flexible live/work spaces
  • Harnessing heat waste from data centers for district heating systems
  • Harnessing the polar front jet stream’s 110 mph wind speeds above Toronto for green energy

Visit the RICS website for more on the Cities for our Future Competition.