A proposal to help improve life for those living in sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest slum has won Aecom’s fourth annual Urban SOS competition.

Photo of Kibera by Jack Campbell Clause
Photo of Kibera by Jack Campbell Clause

The ‘Unslumming Kibera’ proposal was submitted by an international team of students which included Leeds Metropolitan University post-graduate landscape architecture student Jack Campbell Clause.

It was extension, says Campbell Clause, of earlier research he’d undertaken in Nairobi with the with the help of a Landscape Institute annual student travel grant.

The Urban SOS competition programme was initiated ‘to foster cross-disciplinary thinking in urban problem-solving and design education while helping to make a real difference for a community in need’. This year’s competition centered on issues related to physical, political, cultural, ecological, or economic borders, and drew entries from 118 universities in 41 countries around the world.

The four winning students were praised for presenting a robust, energetic, well-researched proposal to create a new type of multi-use community space in Kibera, which has a population of more than a million.

A jury of design and urban experts voted for the winning entry after viewing presentations by the three finalist teams at the New York Center for Architecture.

‘All the entrants identified critical ideas and solutions to the challenges facing their specific communities,’ said Bill Hanway, a founder of the competition and jury chair. ‘We felt that the project Unslumming Kibera best illustrated a solution driven from the team’s personal experience in that community. The heart of an informal community, no matter how small, becomes the inspirational driver for change.’

Winning team members Adam Broidy (California College of the Arts), Jamilla Harper (University of Nairobi), April Schneider (University of Illinois Chicago), and Campbell Clause, received a US$5,000 cash prize. An in-kind donation of cash and Aecom technical assistance totaling US$25,000 will go to helping realise their project.



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