Poster Competition: Towards a Smart(er) Washington, DC

  • Date

    Monday, April 24 2023-Wednesday, May 31 2023

  • Time

    Multi-day event.


The promise of better opportunities and a better quality of life, among many other factors, attracts people towards urban centers - cities. As a result the future cities are facing unimaginable growth and expansion, according to the UN 55% of the global population lives in cities and by 2050 this number is projected to climb to 68%1. The comparable numbers are even higher for the United States, with 83% of its current population living in cities and a projected 89% by 20502.With the continuous growth of the cities new and complex urban issues are also arising. Increasing poverty and environmental degradation within the cities.

Parallel to urban growth that’s occurring, society is also making significant advances in technology. The smart city is a concept of utilizing digital technologies to improve and enhance the lives of a city's inhabitants. However so far in most cities, the smart city projects have been limited to transportation, energy management and city infrastructure services. Noticeably absent from the smart city approach are many of the social & environmental challenges that many cities face. This competition seeks to explore ideas on how smart city strategies can be utilized to address key issues that cities are facing today.


Washington DC is one of the United States pioneering cities when it comes to growing as a Smart City. The complexities that this city brings upon itself stem from its historical and political relevance, however, in order to keep up with the fast paced nature of today's global economic situations, technological interventions and demand for better city life, DC is growing rapidly.

With an influx of real estate development and the push for a smarter, more accessible city, the need to consider the importance of urban design during this growth process is significant.

1 - “World Urbanization Prospects - Population Division - United Nations.” Population Division |, Accessed 22 January 2023.
2 - “U.S. Cities Factsheet | Center for Sustainable Systems.” Center for Sustainable Systems,…. Accessed 22
January 2023.
3 - “AHAR Reports | HUD USER.” HUD User, Accessed 22 January 2023.


Taking into consideration best practices for urban design, placemaking, resilient and inclusive cities, identify any one or multiple locations within the district that have relevance to the urban design solutions that address the intentions of smart cities.

While there are various tools and methodologies for architectural representation, digital collages have become a popular method of conveying an architectural narrative. The aim of this competition is to attract ideas represented in a manner that addresses the aforementioned issues as well as instigates stimulating conversation for the betterment of the city.


  • Competition Launch / Registration Opens - April 24th, 2023
  • Submission Deadline - May 31st, 2023
  • Results & Exhibition - June 16th, 2023


  • Any person or teams of up to three members may register and submit a competition entry.
  • Multiple entries from the same person or team may be considered as long as each is registered and paid for separately and the content is not duplicated.
  • Duplicated content will disqualify all entries involved.
  • Any person that is a registered member of the AIA|DC Urban Design Committee is not eligible to participate.


If you have any questions about the eligibility requirements, please contact the AIA|DC UDC at AIA|DC UDC shall have the sole authority to verify that eligibility requirements have been met.

Scoring Criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Ability to address Urban Design’s responsibility in Smart Cities.
  • Ability to address situations that relate to or are unique to Washington DC.
  • Innovation and Creativity of ideas.
  • Clear and effective communication of ideas.


  • 2 winners + 2 Honorable mentions to be showcased at AIA|DC virtual exhibition space
  • 2 winners + 2 Honorable mentions to be published in AIA UDDC’s annual journal
  • Cash Awards
    • 1st place - $250
    • 2nd place - $150

Submission Requirements:

One 24” x 36” PDF (Max 40MB) to be submitted along with a 250 word (8.5x11) description explaining the submission.


The jury shall have the sole authority to determine awards. The jury’s decisions shall be final and not subject to review. All entries will be anonymous up to the final selection. Finalists will be selected in a two-tiered process. In the first judging round, the jury will select top candidates for final awards. Of these submissions, the winner and honorable mentions will be decided.

Liability Clause:

AIA|DC or AIA|DC Urban Design Committee assumes no liability for original drawings and other submission materials or loss or damage to any part of the submission. AIA|DC or AIA|DC Urban Design Committee retains the right to reproduce any of the submission materials in its publications, educational programs, and web site.

All persons or firms contributing to the design of the project must be given due credit, regardless of their professional disciplines. It is incumbent upon the submitting person to provide a complete list of all participants contributing to the design. By submitting a project for consideration, the submitting persons represents and warrants to AIA|DC that he or she has provided a complete list.

By making a submission, the entrant agrees that the information contained in this form is correct and complete, and that the entrant will hold harmless AIA|DC and AIA|DC Urban Design Committee for any and all damage arising out of the use of the information contained herein. Any errors or omissions are the complete responsibility of the entrant.