The Buckminster Fuller Institute just announced its 20 semi-finalists for the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, and we're pleased to see some of our favorite sustainable design projects on the list! Open to all disciplines from the sciences to the arts, the annual international competition seeks innovative solutions to some of the world's most urgent social and environmental issues. Popularly dubbed "Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award," the Challenge will award a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation to one exemplary proposal. The twenty semi-finalists currently under consideration were selected after a rigorous three-round vetting process--click through our gallery to see them all!
After spending years studying natural solar bio-energy in Caribbean coral reefs, Walter H. Adey, PhD. developed Algal Turf Scrubber, a biomimetic system that generates a fast-growing polyculture of locally adopted algae species atop a 3D screen surface that can then be harvested for a variety of uses, from mitigating pollution from agricultural run-off to sequestering carbon.
AskNature is an web-based living Biomimicry encyclopedia that hopes to use online dissemination of knowledge to make biomimetic solutions easily available so as to be applied to some of humanity’s most pressing challenges.
Bonobo Peace Forest is a growing network of community-based forest reserves and sustainable development zones created to provide protection for bonobos and other species in the Congo rainforest.
French organization Association la Voute Nubienne’s Earth Roofs for the Sahel program trains and supports local teams in sub-Saharan Africa on how to build long-lasting, passively cooled earth buildings out of locally sourced materials.
ECO Solutions for Tomorrow Today (ECOSOFTT) is a Singapore and India-based social enterprise that endeavors to improve water systems throughout Asia through technological innovations and decentralized, adaptable, and cost-effective strategies.
The London-based Finance Innovation Lab is a nonprofit that helps support entrepreneurs and alternative business models and advocates for financial reform.
The Food Commons is a nonprofit that puts forth a new economic paradigm for agriculture. Their alternative model seeks to enhance existing and emerging regional food system initiatives so that the American public has easier and more affordable access to healthy and sustainably produced food.
Founded by world-renowned artists Helen and Newton Harrison, the Force Majeure was founded as a collaborative venture to propose solutions to climate change-related issues.
Fuego Del Sol Haiti is a US non-profit social enterprise that works to develop ecological and social solutions to recurring issues in Haitian and Dominican populations, such as Haiti’s deadly charcoal addition.
Gardens for Health International is an NGO that works at the nexus of agriculture and health to provide sustainable solutions to Rwanda’s chronic childhood malnutrition. The organization hopes to replicate their community-oriented models with partners in Uganda and Burundi.
International development and refugee aid organization Concern America trains Health Promoter Practitioners train and empower community members in underserved locales on how to treat and prevent a majority of primary medical cases.
The International Bridges to Justice is a Swiss organization dedicated to protecting the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in developing countries, such as the right to competent legal representation, the right to be free from torture and cruel treatment, and the right to a fair trial.
The Community Agroecology Network’s International Youth Network for Food Security and Sovereignty program empowers youth in poor rural communities in Latin America by teaching them the knowledge and skills related to growing foods to meet local needs.
The Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic is a water-based aid organization that delivers vital healthcare and medical supplies to the highly underserved and infrastructure-poor communities that live around the Lake Tanganyika basin.
One of the winning proposals of the 2013 HUD Rebuild by Design competition, SCAPE Studio’s Living Breakwaters is a comprehensive and multipurpose resilience project that reinforces the coastal defenses of the New York shoreline, restores habitat, and connects educators to the local ecology.
Developed by Lookman Oshodi, the Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront Restoration Plan is a community-centered comprehensive strategy for creating economic opportunities and ensuring disaster resilience for at-risk Makoko/Iwaya residents in Lagos, Nigeria.
Paz Guiterrez’s Bio Input Onto Materials Systems (BIOMS) explores the intersection of architecture and the sciences, such as the “multifunctional membrane,” a technology that could create inexpensive, biodegradable, living and breathing building “skins” that would react to environmental conditions.
Sistema Biobolsa is a social and environmental impact business that boosts sustainable farming by distributing its award-winning, eponymous biodigester system to small and medium-scale farmers in Mexico, Central America, and Haiti.
Slow Money is a national network and family of local networks that stimulates local food economies and helps communities rethink their relationship between food, money and soil.
Based at the geographic center of the Oglala Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the Thunder Valley Regenerative Community Plan details a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the local economy and traditional culture starting with the construction of a locally owned and operated net-zero sustainable development with affordable housing.