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Form a Team. Create a Plan. Make a Real-World Impact.

The Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition is an exciting initiative from HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R). Now entering its ninth year, the competition invites teams of graduate students from multiple disciplines to submit plans in response to a real life affordable housing design issue.

After the submission of initial applications, a jury of five industry subject matter experts will select four student team finalists. These finalists will visit the site of the affordable housing design and planning project they are addressing, and further refine their applications.

Several weeks after the site visit, all jurors and finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. for the final competition event at HUD Headquarters. At this event, finalist teams will present their revised project solutions in front of the jury and an audience. Following the presentations, the jury will deliberate and select the winners and runners-up. The winning team will receive $20,000, the runner up team will receive $10,000, and the remaining two teams will receive $5,000 each. If pandemic conditions are unsafe for travel, a virtual site visit and final competition event will be held.

For additional information, please visit the About the Competition page.

Competition Schedule

Registration opens for student teams 09/13/2021
Deadline for teams to submit their intent to participate: Noon Eastern Time 11/03/2021
Phase I site information, guidelines and criteria released 11/04/2021
Deadline to submit a finalized team roster, including all team member names and contact information: Noon Eastern Time 11/17/2021
Deadline for teams to submit Phase I proposals 01/24/2022
Finalists announced; Phase II information released 02/17/2022
Site visit for finalists Early March 2022
Phase II submission due Mid-April 2022
Final presentations, awards event at HUD Mid-April 2022

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Registration for the 2022 IAH Competition is now closed.

Interested in participating in the 2023 Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition? Watch a replay of one of the webinars recently held to learn more!

  • Webinar for Graduate Students and Faculty – watch the replay of the webinar originally held on September 09, 2021 by clicking here.
  • Webinar for Public Housing Authorities – watch the replay of the webinar originally held on August 26, 2021 by clicking here.

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Transforming our Communities

The need for quality, affordable housing has never been greater. At its best, housing can help strengthen the social and physical fabric of communities and neighborhoods. It is the hope of HUD and PD&R that by initiating and funding this competition, a new generation will advance the design and production of livable and sustainable housing for low- and moderate-income people through research and innovation.


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Making it Actionable

The IAH competition has been designed to replicate a real-life approach. Multi-disciplinary teams comprised of graduate students in architecture, planning and policy, finance and other areas will be asked to address social, economic, and environmental issues in responding to a specific housing problem developed by an actual public housing agency (PHA).


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PHA Information

PD&R works with a PHA that owns and operates a site designated for the affordable housing design issue. PD&R works with the PHA to develop the necessary project briefing materials, including a comprehensive problem statement; background information on the project; community information; and relevant existing design proposals. More information for PHAs is available here.




OMB Control Number: 2528-0324
Expiration Date: 11/30/2022