Global competition to find solutions to problems facing the world’s expanding cities

Global competition to find solutions to problems facing the world’s expanding cities

Aerial view of Durban Harbour.

Durban among 24 global cities chosen for contest

RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has launched the Cities for our Future Challenge, calling on young people to come up with fresh new ideas to help tackle the most pressing problems affecting cities in Africa and around the world.

The competition is held in partnership with the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

“The growth of the world’s cities is one of the biggest challenges facing society. Three million people move to cities every week, placing increasing strain on urban infrastructure and services. Many city dwellers live in slums or poor quality housing, and many put up with poor air quality and transport links,” says TC Chetty, RICS country manager for South Africa.

Competition entrants have been asked to propose solutions to issues affecting 24 global cities, including Durban, Lagos and Nairobi. Entries will need to provide practical, innovative solutions to address some of these challenges, and the prize for the global winner is £50 000.

Says Chetty: “The competition forms part of RICS’ 150th anniversary celebrations and focuses on the key areas of urbanisation, climate change and resource scarcity. It enables us to demonstrate the importance of the built environment professions and its appeal to younger professionals and students, while making a real difference to tackling the challenges facing the world.”

In addition to the prize money for the global winner, the best entries will also receive guidance and mentoring from RICS professionals in their regions.

“So if you’re an imaginative, problem-solving young professional, start-up or student involved in surveying, urban design, architecture or engineering, then we want you to share your transformative ideas for projects and policies that will solve some of the defining issues of our time. You are the guardians of the built environment, responsible for all facets of our ever-expanding and changing urban world,” says Chetty.

Entrants focusing on Durban are asked to consider what cities like this can do to ensure they protect valuable natural environments as they continue to grow, while in Lagos entrants are asked to consider how cities such as this can build more affordable housing to keep pace with rapidly expanding populations. In Nairobi entrants are asked to consider what cities like Nairobi can do to encourage the development of a low carbon economy.

To enter the competition visit All entries are to be made on the competition microsite which will be open until May 31. Entries will be judged initially in each region in June 2018, resulting in a global shortlist of 10 entries, who will be helped to develop their ideas by RICS mentors. The final judging takes place in November 2018.

Sean Tompkins, RICS chief executive, says: “The world’s cities are growing all the time, creating a range of challenges that will need to be addressed if they are to become safe, clean and comfortable places to live. Throughout the institution’s 150 years, built environment professionals have been crucial to urban development all over the globe and we believe this competition to find innovative and practical ideas will improve our cities.”

Call: TC Chetty on 031 764 4645 or 083 264 3134 or email