World Architecture News (WAN) has announced five international winners for its Urban Challenge competition. Australian firm Place Design Group has won an award for Australia with its Future Street project.

The WAN Urban Challenge ‘Reclaiming the Streets 2018’, called for ideas from around the world to help address current urban problems, with the opportunity to create a vision for the future.

Australian winner Place Design Group was the landscape designer and smart city architect for the ‘Future Street’ project, delivering a real-life experience of a potential street from the future as part of the Australian Institute of Architects’ (AILA) 2017 International Festival.

The installation invited Sydney locals, government and industry professionals on a journey through where our streets are now, to where they could be if we removed cars from the streets, prioritising people and nature to reclaim and enjoy our public spaces.

Judges were looking for originality, innovation, quality, sustainability, transferability, context and evidence, plus the ability to tell the 'story' of the project through excellent presentation. According to the judges, Place Design Group's Future Street delivered on this, as a fantastic case study on what a street from the future could entail.

Other winning projects include:

  • CO-Create Charoenkrung, Bangkok, Thailand by SHMA SOEN Company Limited
  • Naerheden: Suburb of the Future, Copenhagen, Denmark by karres+brands
  • RE-THINK ATHENS, Athens, Greece by OKRA landschapsarchitecten
  • WAP (Washington Alley Project), Washington DC, United States by EL Studio

A special ‘dystopian prize’ was also awarded to global firm Atkins, which presented a dystopian vision of the future in its submission ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’. In a darkly humorous tone, it describes a dystopian urban landscape where the night sky is no longer lit by stars, but by an army of drones; where an automated vehicle cannot be found guilty of knocking down a pedestrian, and life goes round and round on the same predictable automated circuit day in, day out. Underlying the submission is the stark message: ‘watch out, you might get what you’re after’.