March 9, 2017
by Justin Pascone
Zach Inglis via Unsplash

As widespread adoption of autonomous cars get closer to becoming a reality, so too does the prospect of major change to our build environment. Critical questions remain of how our streets, civic spaces, homes and neighborhoods will transform. For designers, this is a major opportunity to shape the future of the city.

In preparing for this tectonic shift, AIANY and Blank Space, the online architecture platform, are hosting the Driverless Future Challenge, a competition to shape the impact of autonomous transportation in NYC. The focus of the challenge is not on the cars themselves, but everything else: from parking solutions, to mass transit, accessibility, shipping, logistics, software, services, and new uses of roadways, intersections, and sidewalks.

Participants are free to select any facet of driverless technology, from 30,000-foot, city-scale solutions, to small interventions within the urban fabric, and submit three-minute ‘pitch’ videos of their schemes, along with three images and a short narrative. The only requirements are that proposals are actionable and use New York City as their canvas.

The primary goal of the competition is to create a launchpad for architects, designers, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and futurists to enact real change in New York City. The winning teams will have the opportunity to work with the city to actually put their ideas for the future of New York into place.

Along with Blank Space, AIANY is proud to partner with the NYC Mayor’s Office, New Lab, and Fast Company to help the winning entries turn their proposals into real companies and products by offering a cash prize and access to workspace and fabrication facilities.

The challenge will be capped with the ‘Pitch the City’ event in June, where four finalist teams will pitch their proposals to a panel of prominent New York City officials from the Mayor’s Office, DOT, EDC and TLC, and a live audience. Early bird registration is open now until 04.06.17. The final submission deadline for all entries is 05.19.17. To learn more and register, continue here.

Pulse Points

  • AIA New York State, in partnership with the New York State contracting agencies, created the Excelsior Awards to provide a model of excellence for future state-funded building design, professional practice and advocacy. The program showcases the best in public building design and the professionals who support and advocate for these buildings. The registration and submission deadline is 3.29.17. Continue here for eligibility details and to register your project for consideration.
  • On 2.28.17, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled an ambitious plan to build or open 90 new homeless shelters in New York City over the next five years, with the aim of opening 20 new shelters in 2017 and 20 more the following year, vowing slow and incremental progress in tackling the city’s homelessness problem.
  • Urban Green Council has invited AIANY members to evaluate the usefulness, impact, and barriers for 20 potential new products in a short survey. The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete, and all participants will be entered in a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card. We hope you will participate in the survey and take this opportunity to influence how NYSERDA runs their R&D program to develop the green building materials and techniques of the future. We also want the opinions of our members to be part of this critical discussion.
  • The NYC Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) STEAM education initiative, is accepting applications for its upcoming summer internship programs. The agency will select 30 students from public and private high schools across the five boroughs to participate in a six-week summer internship program that will provide students an opportunity to explore careers in the fields of architecture, engineering, construction, design, law, business administration, and finance from the perspective of the public sector. DDC will also offer a ten-week paid summer internship program for college and graduate students to gain hands-on technical experience and a mentoring relationship with senior-level staff.


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