This Public Space (TPS) announces a new competition for teams of students to develop innovative design and programming strategies that make public spaces more inclusive.

The TPS competition draws on Van Alen Institute’s multi-year exploration of the theme ‘Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape’ and its recent series of public programs about ‘hangouts’ in New York City, to ask participants the question: why do we seek escape from the city, and what forms of escape can we find within the urban environment?

Hangouts in cities are informal spaces that provide an escape from the tensions of congested urban life, serving as venues for people to congregate and catch up, swap gossip, play games, organise meetings, share meals and generally fill time. While some view hangouts as places to unwind and relax in, others treat them as a refuge.

The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students at all levels of higher education in Australia and New Zealand. Landscape architectural entrants must be enrolled in an AILA or NZILA accredited program or at a partner university during the second semester of the 2015-2016 academic year at Bachelors, Masters, or Ph.D. levels.

Students can participate in teams of up to four members, preferably from multiple disciplines; individual submissions will not be accepted.

All applicants must pre-register their interest at [email protected] by leaving a contact e-mail address. They may do so at any time until the competition deadline of Friday 25 September 2015, but must do so before submitting their final entry. Pre-registration ensures the participant will receive all relevant updates.

Three shortlisted teams will be invited to present their work at a panel at This Public Life: Festival of Landscape Architecture in Melbourne in October 2015. The Festival will award a $3,000 prize to one winning team, or split the prize money amongst the finalists.

More details on This Public Space competition can be accessed on the AILA website.