Awards & Competitions - International

2017 DenCity Competition

Architecture Competition

Standard registration and Submission: Closes March 13, 2017

Late Registration and Submission: April 24, 2017 at midnight and is $80


Dencity 2017 – A Competition to Improve Informal Settlements

Shelter Global is pleased to invite architects, planners, students, engineers, designers, thinkers, NGOs and organizations from all over the world to take part in the 2017 Dencity Competition. 

The world’s population is rapidly growing and places all over the world are having to adapt with an unprecedented increase in urbanization. Towns are quickly growing into cities, and some of the densest places in the world are comprised of makeshift homes, otherwise referred to as slums. Right now, well over 1 billion people around the world live in slums. This number is rapidly growing and it is expected to reach 2 billion by the year 2030.

Design has always played a tremendous role in generating new ideas for the future. Now, more than ever, we need to turn our focus to cities and play a central role in the development of substandard neighborhoods. Slums effect much more than just housing; they affect almost all living conditions and communities as a whole.

The intent of this competition is to foster new conceptual ideas about how to better handle the growing density of unplanned cities. Contestants should consider how design can empower communities and allow for a self-sufficient future.

For this years competition, the focus will be on improving living conditions in urban settings. There are no restrictions in regards to site, program, or size. Projects can be based on a specific urban location or a general concept. The object is to limit constraints and give participants the freedom to think in the most creative way possible. Submissions do not need to be created exclusively for the Dencity Competition, but should not have been submitted or published elsewhere. No professional qualifications are necessary. Interdisciplinary teams are also encouraged to join.

Registration & Deadlines

  • Registration Fee is $55/project
  • Standard registration opens January 09, 2017
  • Standard registration closes March 13, 2017
  • Late registration goes until April 24, 2017 at midnight and is $80
  • Participants may submit multiple projects, but must register each entry
  • Individual entries are allowed. All teams are limited to 4 people maximum

You will receive a registration number immediately after your application has been submitted. The registration number will be necessary to submit to the competition.

Rules & Regulations

  • The official language of the competition is English. All projects must be submitted in English
  • The registration fee is nonrefundable
  • Contacting any member of the Jury is prohibited
  •  Shelter Global, as the organizer of the competition, has the right to modify the competition schedule
  • Entrants will be disqualified from the competition if any of the rules are broken
  • Participation assumes acceptance of the rules and regulations


1st Place: $3,000
2nd Place: $1,500
3rd Place: $750
*There will also be 6 special mentions. Winners and special mentions will be published in several international online magazines as well as the Shelter website.

The Jury

  • Jo Ashbridge│Founder, AzuKo
  • Jhono Bennett│South African Architectural Urbanist
  • Bryan Bell│Founder of Design Corps
  • Oscar Carracedo│Professor of the National University of Singapore
  • Garrett Jacobs│Executive Director, Open Architecture Collaborative
  • Petra Kempf│Professor, Columbia University, New York
  • Liz Ogbu│Founder, Principal, Studio O
  • Sheela Patel│Founding Director, SPARC

Finalist Projects in Africa of the 2 previous Editions:

2015 Dencity 2nd PLACE AWARD│Johannesburg: Incremental Alex

Entry by: Lauren Brosius


This incremental housing solution addresses Alexandra Township in Johannesburg. It prepares for the future by implementing a plan for infrastructure.

2015 Dencity 3rd PLACE AWARD│Cairo: Allometric Sake

Entry by: Amira Abdel-Rahman, Gabriel Muñoz Moreno, Santiago Serna Gonzalez


A software product that helps provide strategies that will effect natural ventilation by changing simple “parameters” on a large scale throughout Cairo slums.

2015 Dencity Special Mention│We are Europe: Framing the context – Slums in South Africa

Entry by: Amy ThompsonWE_ARE_EUROPE

“We want this community to be safe on this land, we want to work towards formality, we want people to know that we are Europe”

-Community elder Elliott, Europe, Cape Town 2016

2015 Dencity 1ST PLACE AWARD│Urukundo: Slum Factory

Entry by: Robert Elkins, Riccardo Valsesia, Lucia Fanetti Zamboni


The Slum Factory uses local materials, technologies and construction systems to provide physical development and stimulate future growth.

SHELTERShelter Global is an interdisciplinary not-for-profit organization focused on providing safe, clean living conditions for everyone. Inadequate shelter has a direct connection to the cycle of poverty and can have a major effect on ones health, safety and prosperity. Our goal is to spread awareness about the large percentage of the world’s population living in these conditions. Spreading this awareness will give rise to new ideas on how to solve the world’s shelter crisis.



For further information

For further informationa about the Competition, check out their website.

Register online here.


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