The South by Southwest Eco (SXSW Eco) conference just unveiled the three winners of its 2014 Place by Design competition last night. One of three annual contests hosted by SXSW Eco, Place by Design honors visionary urban design work that has the potential to make cities more playful and accessible to the greater community. Three winners in three categories were selected out of fifteen finalists--keep reading to see which projects received the highest honors!
Rather than pick one overall winner, SXSW Eco selects three winners for the categories of Community Impact, Global Potential, and Transformative Design. Libros Libres, a literary and community design initiative, won the Community Impact category. Designed by bcWORKSHOP, this Dallas, TX-based program pairs local residents with local designers to build free and communal small book shelters to promote literacy in neighborhoods. Thus far, fifteen teams of residents and designers have built 10 libraries in a variety of locations, including a vacant lot, food pantry, and juvenile detention center.
The Global Potential award went to Pavegen Systems, a British firm that develops and manufactures pavers that convert kinetic energy from footsteps into renewable electricity. When stepped on, the Pavegen tiles can generate and store up to 8 watts of power over the duration of a footstep. That electricity can either be stored or used to power lighting, communication networks, and advertising displays. This low-carbon energy invention has been successfully tested in a variety of urban settings, such as in the world’s first kinetic energy-powered football pitch that recently opened in Rio de Janeiro.
The still-conceptual +POOL project won in the category of Transformative Design. Launched by designers Dong-Ping Wong, Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeff Franklin in June 2010, +POOL aims to gradually make New York City’s polluted Hudson River swimmable once more by installing a floating pool capable of cleaning half a million gallons of water every day. The +POOL team is currently testing prototypes at Hudson River Park.
Images via SXSW Eco