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Student Design & Planning Competition: Q&A


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All questions must be submitted to Questions and answers will be posted to this page in a timely manner.

Registration Q&A:

Q: Is there a limit to the number of teams from one academic institution?

A: Up to 5 teams can apply from each school (first come first served based on date of registration). Please keep in mind that multiple Phase I submissions do not guarantee being selected for Phase II. The final four teams for Phase II are selected by a panel of impartial jurors in a blind review.

Q: I am interested in participating in the competition this year, but my university does not have an architecture or design program. Is there a way I can still meet the cross-disciplinary team requirements? Can I work with students from other universities that have an architecture program?

A: Yes, we encourage you to work with graduate students from other universities to fill the multidisciplinary requirement. You can find potential team members by using the Team Finder Forum on the competition website.

Q: Will teams from different universities that choose to form a combined team still be held to the maximum number and configuration of students as the rest of the teams?

A: Yes, all teams participating must meet the competition’s eligibility requirements regardless of their university affiliation.

Q: Given the multidisciplinary nature of the competition, can a team have more than one Faculty Advisor?

A: Teams can only have one faculty advisor on record when they register with HUD. The advisor on record (along with the team members) will receive communications from HUD about the competition. The number of faculty that can work with a team is up to the discretion of the university or college.

Q: Is there any prize money for winning teams?

A: The winning team receives $20,000; the runner-up team receives $10,000; the two remaining finalist teams each receive $5,000.

Q: Is it possible to join the competition as an international graduate student if all other team members are U.S. citizens?

A: Yes, as long as at least three members of your team are U.S. citizens or permeant residents, you can participate as an international student.

Q: Where in the country will the homes be built? Will we be working with a large or small PHA?

A: The partnering PHA will be announced in mid-November 2023. At that time, the PHA’s location, size and community information will be provided to teams.

Q: Can a multidisciplinary team of eligible graduate students be supported by a select multidisciplinary group of undergraduate students?

A: The team must be composited of graduate students only. The students that support the team are up to each school’s discretion, but only graduate students are eligible to participate and compete in the competition.

Q: Are there any travel subsidies?

A: Travel expenses for both the site visit and final event will be paid for two members of each finalist team (if held in-person). Additional team members are encouraged to attend; however, travel costs will not be covered and will need to be arranged independently.

Q: In the event a team member drops out are we able to replace that person without penalty?

A: During Phase I we will announce a final date to submit changes to teams. This includes additions and replacements of team members.

Q: Is the project topic geared around the HAs needs / requirements? Or is this a standalone project?

A: 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). The needs and requirements are defined by the PHA, HUD Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) works with the PHA to develop the necessary project briefing materials, a comprehensive problem statement; background information on the project; community information; and relevant existing design proposals. Each year the competition is different based on the needs and location of the PHA, therefore it is a stand-alone project.

Q: Are past competitions submissions public?

A: Past competition submissions are not public, but you can find case studies on previous winner and runner up submissions on the Past Competitions page of the IAH website.