19 May 2011 – Students can win a cash prize by suggesting the most creative solutions to water resource issues in a global competition run by professional technical services consultancy AECOM.

The Urban SOS: Water competition seeks creative design, planning and engineering responses to urban sites facing water-based challenges.

The winner will receive a cash prize of US$15,000 ($14,125).  A further award of up to US$25,000 ($23, 430) in professional services and/or cash will be made to a charity to help make the project a reality.

“Water is central to every aspect of city life, from basic human sustenance and public health to environmental remediation and urban renewal,” said Jason Prior, chief executive of AECOM’s planning, design + development practice. “This program encourages students to engage in broad-based, interdisciplinary thinking to address our most pressing natural resource challenge.”

Responses can range from a surgical micro-response to a strategic framework, from an architecture or infrastructure to a landscape system. Topical areas can include potable water access, sea level rise, storm and wastewater treatment.

“This is an opportunity for future planners, architects and engineers to embrace a cross-disciplinary approach to complex challenges,” Mr Prior said.

Geared towards those studying environmental planning, urban design, landscape architecture, architecture, engineering, water sciences or hydrology, the competition is open to teams of up to four students who must be enrolled in a certified undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate program of study.

The submission deadline is 29 July 2011. The competition culminates in November at the New London Architecture centre for London’s built environment, where a jury will judge the top three teams.  For details www.aecom.com/urbansos