Design Competition – Integrated Communities: A Society for All Ages

Publish Date: May 21, 2015

Deadline: Sep 15, 2015


The competition is sponsored by the International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC) in cooperation with the United Nations Programme for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT) and United Nations Ageing Unit, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Fortune Global Holding, Ltd, and other partners. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) endorses the competition. The competition was first established in 1994 and winning entries exhibitions includein Chile for the Americas; Hungary for Central and Eastern Europe; Spain for the 2nd World Assembly on Ageing; China and Thailand for the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); Ireland and Japan, and at United Nations Headquarters in New York in conjunction with the United Nations Commission for Social Development.

The Competition invites architecture students around the world to apply their creative talents toward developing solutions, which integrate older persons seamlessly into the fabric of the community and include them in all social, cultural, and productive activities. This competition was founded by the late architectural historian Dr. Albert Bush Brown in 1994. It is typically held in conjunction with a concurrent international conference held at the United Nations in New York dealing with “Caring Communities for the 21st Century: Imagining the Possible”.

A Sleeping Giant is being awakened; “The Agequake” is here! Every month around the world over 1.2 million people turn 60 years old, with fastest growth in developing countries. The number of older persons, who are living in cities, towns, suburbs, and rural areas around the world, is increasing. By the year 2030 the number of people over 60 will reach 1.4 billion. In some developed countries by the year 2050 the number of older persons will outnumber children(1-14) by 2:1. These dramatic demographic shifts pose serious design and planning challenges. Most communities are not prepared for a rapidly ageing population. Therefore, it is useful for this competition to offer ideas, novel approaches and innovative concepts, which could inform the global search for solutions. The goal is to find many ways of accommodating and integrating older people as full and productive members of their respective communities.

As an NGO (non-governmental organization) accredited to the United Nations, ICCC promotes cross- sectoral approaches to questions of ageing, encourages interchanges between young and old, and fosters connections between business, academia, government, NGOs and community organizations. The competitions, conferences and publications sponsored by ICCC are all vehicles for raising awareness, for publicizing innovative projects and for stimulating new thinking about ways to meet the emerging needs an ageing population. ICCC’s mission is to help community’s worldwide address the social, economic and cultural impact of ageing populations in the design and planning for a better quality of life for all ages.



Submission entry form available on


Both undergraduate and graduate students of architecture are eligible to submit an individual or a team project. All submissions clearly identify whether the submission is that of an individual or that of a team of students. All entries must be prepared by bona fide students currently enrolled in an academic program in architecture or in a related field as of 1 December 2015. An affidavit of authorship is a mandatory component of submission. Note that no more than 3 entries may be submitted by any one school.

To enter the competition, an individual or teams of students must register electronically on entry form. The registrations are due on or before 15 September 2015 and projects must be received by 1 December 2015 and sent to ICCC, 24 Central Park South, New York, N.Y. 10019, USA. No projects received after 1 December 2015 will be judged. Winning projects will be announced during the United Nations Commission for Social Development, February 2016.


Because the competition is open to individuals as well as groups of students, there will be two First Place Awards of $10,000 USD, two Second Place awards of $5,000 USD and two Third Place awards of $2,500 USD. Additional projects in each category may receive honorable mentions. All project submissions will be recognized with a certificate acknowledging a student’s participation.


While some of the needs of older persons are universal, most take vastly different forms based on such differences as culture, political system, social structure, geographic region and demographic context. The instructor and or students may adapt the competition guidelines to reflect the situation in their specific region.

The design competition program and the respective submissions must address a number of key concerns. They include the following issues critical to the success of societal integration of older people:

Key Issues include:

Location: Strategic placement of facilities for older peoplewithin walking distance where older persons can contribute and be engaged.

Connectivity: Establishment of physical and possibly electronic connectivity to amenitiesand services.

Symbiosis: Matching of talents and interests of older people and needs of society.

Dignity: Uphold and preserve the personal rights and personal domain regardless of any reduction in faculties.

Access: Availability of essential services such ashealthcare, food, educational facilities, recreational areas, social services and transportation.

Security: Provide a sense of safety in physical and psychological terms.


Overview: Project Scope:

The Context:

Identify and analyze a particular neighborhood or district. The context for the neighborhood maybe either urban, suburban or rural, provided that it contains older people.

The Project:

Devise a project which can act as a catalyst to address the key issues of an ageing population. The project can be an intervention, a building or a group of buildings.

The Design:

Develop design ideas and depict them graphically. The competition is trying to foster replicable ideas i.e. ideas that can be fruitfully applied in different contexts.

Of particular importance are ideas that make use of the experience, talents and interests of older people in the service of society. The design solutions should aim to foster a community that incorporates older persons as essential components of the social fabric. The different age groups should be imaginatively intertwined. Opportunities should be sought to link various age groups in mutually beneficial arrangements. The design should assume a community in which approximately 20% are older persons (over 60). The design also should incorporate the necessary infrastructure to enrich the life of old and young alike. The design of the facilities, communities or neighborhoods should engage the issue of ageing in place rather than moving to ghettos for old people. The solutions should address how the productive engagement of older persons can enrich communities and improve the quality of life for all.


A local context needs to be provided for all projects. The local context can either be rural, suburban or urban. Based on an analysis of a real situation, the context should provide a clear framework for the design concept and its aesthetic interpretation. Students are encouraged to collect and portray information on current neighborhood conditions and the specific needs of the elderly. Documentation should include land uses, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, housing stock, cultural conditions, educational opportunities, places of worship, civic institutions, commercial establishments, retail locations, social services, health facilities, public spaces and other uses of note to older persons. The analysis and its succinct documentation will allow the jury to understand the conditions to which the design solutions are responding.

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