EUI Design Competition: “Designing for Health and Equity”

Registration date:


Submission date:




Epidemic Urbanism Initiative Design Competition
Call for Submissions | Deadline: September 6, 2021 
Designing for Health and Equity: Supporting Vulnerable Communities in the Post-Pandemic Age 
A. Mission statement
goal of this design competition is to provide a setting for
collaboration between students, teachers, designers, thinkers,
architects, artists, and practitioners from a range of disciplines and
fields in order to create and discuss conceptual design ideas that
explicitly promote healthy places for vulnerable communities.
B. Description
novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, like other epidemic
illnesses and natural disasters that preceded it, has disproportionately
affected vulnerable communities across the world including older
adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and low income communities. The
incidence of COVID-19, death rates due to the disease, and access to
medical care were and are patterned along pre-existing social inequities
and often aided by inequities in the built environments in which people
live and work. Recognizing the role that everyday built environments
play as both primary places of vulnerability and exposure as well as
resources for health promotion and intervention, there is an urgent
need to rethink architecture, urban design, and the built environment
toward more critical, just, and equitable solutions in the post-pandemic
the cities, schools, homes, and spaces of recreation we inhabit will
undergo large and small changes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,
and as we anticipate the inevitable next epidemic or pandemic. What
might these changes look like? Or, more to the point, what should they look like? In other words, how
might we use this time of rebuilding and rethinking to envision,
design, and inhabit built settings that are more just and equitable? How
might we re-center health in all design practices and processes? 
design competition seeks to address these questions by creating a venue
to promote collaboration across global and disciplinary networks and by
bringing together students, academics, and practitioners from across
the world to imagine design solutions that:
Deliberately center health, equity, and social justice in a range of different typologies andFoster resilience in anticipation of future outbreaks of epidemic illnesses and other natural disasters. 

design competition will seek submissions in four categories: senior
housing, community clinics, neighborhood schools, and public parks. Each
design category will be reviewed by three jurors consisting of faculty
and professionals from various countries and disciplines. Shortlisted
projects will be announced on October 1, 2021 and will be discussed by
the jury and guest commentators in final review meetings for each topic
Friday, October 8, 12-1pm US Eastern Time: Senior Housing Saturday, October 9, 12-1pm US Eastern Time: Community ClinicsFriday, October 15, 12-1pm US Eastern Time: Neighborhood SchoolsSaturday, October 16, 12-1pm US Eastern Time: Public Parks
C. Schedule
September 6: Submissions due to epidemicurbanism@gmail.comOctober 1: Announcement of shortlisted submissionsOctober: Final review meetings with shortlisted groups, according to schedule in Part B above
D. Design topics and questions
Submissions should address one of the following categories: 
Senior housing - aging resiliently in community 

COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant problems in the design and
structure of facilities designed for older adults (also known as senior
housing, housing for aging communities, retirement communities, and
assisted living facilities); and the elderly population was among the
communities most significantly impacted by the pandemic. There is an
urgent need for a new paradigm in senior care. How can we design senior
housing that is open to adults from a wide range of backgrounds and
income levels? How can we design more just and affordable housing for
seniors that promote a healthy life-style and encourage
intergenerational relations? 
Design problem:
Use the criteria above to generate urban senior housing ideas in your
community for adults older than sixty. The proposed design can be at any
scale but must serve at least 40-50 users. The proposed designed
residence should support wellbeing and boost an active and independent
life among old adults while emphasizing different levels of care.
Develop a design proposal that focuses on fostering health, encouraging
the sense of belonging and the sense of wellbeing: emotional security,
privacy and intimacy, expressing personal creativity, and enabling
different modes of expression while maintaining social cohesion. Design
entries should reflect the purpose of senior housing both in its
capacity to implement these holistic programs of care and as an
instrument for shaping the living environment, while creating
responsiveness to all the stakeholders. 
Community clinics - increasing healthcare access for underserved communities 

clinics can play a vital role in supporting vulnerable and underserved
communities, especially during times of crisis. The recent COVID-19
pandemic has put into stark relief the inequities that persist in access
to healthcare. Recognizing the value of community clinics in supporting
underserved and vulnerable populations, how can we work with and for
communities to design community health care facilities that are more
effective in urban neighborhoods and rural contexts? How might we ensure
such clinics are affordable, inclusive, and welcoming to clients from
various backgrounds? How can we design neighborhood clinics that promote
community health through an equal emphasis on disease prevention and
Design problem:
Use the criteria above to design a community healthcare facility in
your city, town, or village. This patient-centered community health
center will bring together a range of medical services under one roof in
order to serve individuals, families and children and improve health
and wellness outcomes in an underserved community. The proposed design
can be at any scale but must provide spaces for physical and emotional
healing as well as for education and community outreach. It should
explicitly serve at least one underserved community. The design must
consider ongoing healthcare needs in the community and what additional
services or functions might be necessary in the event of a future
outbreak of epidemic illnesses like COVID-19. Design entries should
consider the clinic's public image and visibility within the community
as well as the connection to healing and the patient experience. 
Neighborhood schools - building community among diverse groups 

and secondary schools play a vital role in communities: they provide
essential access to education and in many communities they also offer a
range of services for the local community, from play areas to food
distribution to health services. In many countries, the recent COVID-19
pandemic disrupted this community-building function of schools as
learning moved to remote delivery, school grounds were closed, and
face-to-face interactions were significantly changed to maintain safety
for students, teachers, and community members. This lack of community
took a significant toll on students’ mental health. How might we
envision post-pandemic school designs that explicitly foster community
building and belonging? How can school design promote equity while
creating a healthy and positive environment for students and staff? What
role might schools play in the broader communities they serve?   
Design problem:
Use the criteria above to design a primary or secondary school in your
city, town, or village. The proposed design can be at any scale, but
must consider at least two different social groups and how each can feel
a sense of belonging in the broader school community. Proposed designs
should also provide opportunities to foster intergenerational relations
within the broader neighborhood community, create a sense of community
within the school, and/or create strong connections to the urban
neighborhood around them through the provision of services, resources,
or other amenities. Design entries must consider opportunities for
community-building and inclusion in usual times as well as how those
functions might continue safely during future epidemics or other natural
Public park - promoting equitable access to shared, open spaces  

role of public spaces, especially urban parks, in promoting health has
received renewed attention in recent months and years. In the wake of
the COVID-19 pandemic, public parks were lauded as essential services
for urban communities who used parks as sites of recreation, physical
activity, and community gathering. Yet how public are these
parks? Who has access to these spaces, and who doesn’t? Whose needs do
these spaces serve--and whose needs are neglected? Considering parks as
essential services in and of themselves--and as places that house a
range of services (from recreational areas to restrooms to farmer’s
markets)--how can we design a public park that is welcoming to and
supportive of a wide range of users? How can the park design bring
communities together and encourage social interactions, healthy
lifestyles, and happiness among users from a range of ages, backgrounds,
socioeconomic statuses, and cultural groups? What services might these
groups need? 
Design problem:
Use the criteria above to design a neighborhood park in your city,
town, or village to serve the local community. The park can be at any
scale but the submission must present a clear rationale for its size and
location. The park might be designed in a vacant lot or may simply
replace, repurpose, or adapt existing structures. The proposed design
must feature natural elements and deliberately engage and provide
essential services to at least two different groups who are currently
underserved by public parks in your context. Design entries should
consider key issues such as accessibility, sustainability, public
health, seasonal change, evolving notions of community, and the
cultivation of place. 
E. Submission Guidelines 
General criteria
We encourage submissions from five continents. In order to foreground
local issues, needs, and contexts across the globe, each group will
choose their own site context for their design proposal, as noted in
Part D above. Site selection: Choose
a site in your city, town, village that is vacant, or underutilized, or
otherwise ideal for reimagining and propose a design for one of the
four topics described above: senior housing, community clinic,
neighborhood school, or public park. Your choice of typology and scale
should be the result of your design statement. Scale: The
scale of your proposed design is up to you and may be dictated in part
by the needs of the community or communities you are designing for
and/or the limitations and affordances of the site context you choose. Teams:
In the spirit of this collaborative endeavor, teams should consist of
at least two people, with a minimum of one student or recent graduate
and one faculty member or practitioner/professional. We encourage
international and interdisciplinary collaborations. Students, faculty,
and professionals from medical fields, urban design and planning,
landscape design, medicine, social work, public health, and art are
especially encouraged to collaborate. Teams can include participants
from multiple universities.
Submission format
In order to foreground the context, user needs, and processes and intentionality behind proposed designs, submissions will take the form of narrative slides that include words and images to convey your ideas. Submissions should be no more than 10 slides, submitted as a PDF.
Teams whose submissions are shortlisted for the design prize in each
category will be invited to create a 2-minute video based on these
slides for presentation at the October meetings. We welcome a range of
media to create these designs. Hand drawings, collage, computer
drawings, and all other media welcome, but the final version must be
submitted as PDFs. All submissions must address the guiding questions below and also must include: Title of your proposalThe category of your submission (e.g., public park)Team member names and affiliationsSubmit all materials to by September 6, 2021.
Guiding questions
All submissions must address the following questions in some way: 
design prompt asks teams to identify a vacant or underused site in your
city, town, or village. This in mind, in what geographical location
(country and city, town, or village) do you plan to site your proposed
design? What are the local (or broader societal) needs are you responding to? For example:Lack of access to healthcare or other resourcesIsolation or segregation from broader community connectionsInequitable access to basic, essential servicesCommunity health issues (e.g., physical health, mental health, social health)
3. What community/ies of people are you hoping to engage and/or support through your proposed design? What
are the specific needs, strengths, and/or interests of this community
with respect to the broader local or societal needs expressed above? What site have you selected to redesign? Why? What
ideas do you have for the redesign of the site? What designs or other
interventions do you propose in support of the community needs and
interests described above?How
are these designs in service of user needs? How do they respond to the
context of the site and the broader neighborhood, village, town, or city
in which it is located? How does this design promote the following?:Health,
broadly defined, including and beyond in times of crisis. Special
attention should be paid to the progressive destabilization of the
existing living and health conditions in the event of the COVID-19
outbreak;Equity, inclusion, and/or belonging, including a sense of community for vulnerable populations and minorities. 

F. Jury members
Confirmed jurors for each category are as follows: 
Community Clinics
Lead: Katarina Andjelkovic, SerbiaJury members: Lynne Dearborn, USA; Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, USA; Ruzica Bozovic, SingaporeCommentator: Debajyoti Pati, USA
Senior Housing
Lead: Louisa Iarocci, USAJury members: Rolf Haarstad, USA; Andrea Möhn, The Netherlands; Lusi Morhayim, IsraelCommentator: Tom Fisher, USA
Neighborhood Schools
Lead: Irene Hwang, USAJury members: Melinda Silverman, South Africa; Stefanie Eberding, Germany; Claire Latane, USA
Public Parks
Lead: Bud Shenefelt, USAJury members: Renelle Sargent, Trinidad and Tobago; Anna Grichting, Switzerland; Johann (Hans) Sagan, NorwayCommentator: Naomi Sachs, USA
G. Awards and recognition
Submission date: September 6.Shortlisted submissions will be announced by October 1, 2021.Awards: The winning team from each category will earn a prize of $500 USD, courtesy of the competition sponsor, CRGA Design. Recognition:
All shortlisted teams will receive a certificate of honorable mention
from The Epidemic Urbanism Initiative and will participate in their
assigned review session on one of the following dates:
Friday, October 8, 12-1pm EST: Senior Housing Saturday, October 9, 12-1pm EST: Community ClinicsFriday, October 15, 12-1pm EST: Neighborhood SchoolsSaturday, October 16, 12-1pm EST: Public ParksThe EUI,
founded by Dr. Mohammad Gharipour and Dr. Caitlin DeClercq in March
2020, consists of 1700+ members from more than 90 countries.  As part of
this initiative, the founders have organized four international
conferences since May 2020. Recordings of the EUI conferences and
interviews are available at the EUI YouTube channel.