Future Ground Design Competition Now Open


Future Ground is a design competition inviting multidisciplinary teams to generate flexible design and policy strategies to reuse vacant land in New Orleans, transforming abandoned landscapes into resources for the current and future city.

Designs and plans for cities can create visions that will take decades to be fully realized. While no one can predict the future, we can outline multiple futures: rigorous scenarios for a changing population, market, and climate for the next 1 year, 10 years, and 50 years. These alternatives can help elected officials, businesses, philanthropic organizations, and residents understand what is possible, and make realistic, informed decisions about investments.

This approach is particularly important when addressing vacant land. In countless neighborhoods, cities, and regions across the country and the world, abandoned parcels—as small as a house lot or hundreds of acres large—may not be developed for decades to come.

Too often, vacant land has been seen only as a remnant of or absence within the 20th century city. Today, with a critical mass of designers, policymakers, scholars, artists, activists, and residents creating pilot projects, thoughtful studies, and new kinds of urbanism on abandoned properties, it is possible to imagine this land as an integral part of the future city.

In October 2014, three teams will be awarded $15,000 to participate in a six-month research and design process. Working closely with local stakeholders and national experts, teams will forecast changes in density, demand, and climate over the next half-century in New Orleans, and will tackle the social, economic, and ecological challenges underlying reuse of the most prevalent types of vacant land in the city. The project will produce implementable, replicable solutions that NORA can apply to specific sites citywide, and can help catalyze change in cities around the world.

Future Ground will develop strategies to bring small, piecemeal projects to scale at the neighborhood and citywide level; craft policy to support promising design strategies; make these strategies flexible and participatory enough to be sustained into the next generation; and share resources with a growing network of innovators who are reusing vacant land in cities around the country.

How To Submit

Future Ground is open to multidisciplinary teams of individuals and firms with expertise in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, graphic design, policy, engineering, finance, real estate, community development, and other fields relevant to the topic. Entrants are encouraged to partner with at least one individual or organization in New Orleans.

The deadline for registration and electronic submission of the RFQ is 11:59 p.m. EDT on September 29, 2014.

Submit your proposal electronically as a single PDF document via the competition website. The PDF should be formatted 8.5-by-11 inches in landscape orientation, and no more than 10MB. See the RFQ for more information on submittal requirements, rules, and evaluation criteria. A link to submit will be available on this page shortly.

Download the Request for Qualifications→


RFQ Phase

August 6: RFQ released
September 12: Deadline for questions and optional preregistration
September 15: FAQ’s posted online
September 29: RFQ submission deadline

Research and Design Phase

October 6: Winning teams selected
October 20: Kick-off meeting in New Orleans
December 2014: Interim presentation in New Orleans: Design research
February 2015: Interim presentation in New Orleans: Strategies and scenarios
April 2015: Final presentations in New Orleans
June 2015: Van Alen Institute and NORA release final report

For more info go to: http://www.vanalen.org/elsewhere/competition/future-ground/