What is the Competition?
Why this Competition?
What are the specific qualities of this housing that you are looking for?
Who can participate in this Competition?
Will I have to submit detailed blueprints and specifications?
What are the rewards that I can receive and how will the winners be determined?
What do I have to do to submit a proposal and be eligible for one of the prizes?
Why do I have to complete two surveys?
Who has the right to use the ideas that I submit?
Can I tell others about this Competition?
How can I join an already existing team?
Can I work with others on this Competition?
Where can I find more information on the Competition?
Who is conducting this Competition?
Who do I contact if I have more questions?



What is the Competition?
A call to submit innovative designs for housing in poor and densely populated urban areas.
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Why this Competition?
1 in 7 people worldwide live in substandard and unsafe urban housing. During the last couple of years, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis have demonstrated how vulnerable much of this housing is to natural disasters. The Competition hopes to generate conceptual designs for affordable, safe, sustainable housing that can better withstand natural disasters.
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What are the specific qualities of this housing that you are looking for?
We are looking for housing designs that are (1) resilient against natural disasters and other environmental conditions, (2) feasible given locally available technologies, capabilities and materials, (3) sustainable with local resources, (4) viable in that they are culturally appropriate, can garner support, and be embraced by local stakeholders, and (5) scalable to other communities worldwide.
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Who can participate in this Competition?
Anyone over 18 years old is eligible to participate. Background in engineering or architecture is not necessary. We encourage people from all walks of life and from all countries to consider participating in this Competition. Participants cannot, however, be affiliated with the research groups of any of the project senior personnel at the University of Notre Dame who are working on this project.
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Will I have to submit detailed blueprints and specifications?
No. At this time we are looking for innovative conceptual designs of housing. Eventually, winning submissions may be further developed into detailed designs and structural plans that can guide housing construction. At this stage, submitters will however have to specify things such as proposed materials and construction processes and explain how their design satisfies basic requirements and functionalities.
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What are the rewards that I can receive and how will the winners be determined?
There are three ways you can win a monetary prize:
(1) All submissions will be evaluated by a panel of experts in engineering, architecture and international development. They will determine which entries win the grand (first) prize of $10,000 (USD), the second prize of $3,000 (USD) and the third prize of$1,000 (USD).
(2) There will also be a process of “peer review” in which submitters assess other submissions. Through this process a “popular vote” prize of $1,000 (USD) will be awarded to the submission with the highest score in this process.
(3) Prizes will also go to the individuals who through their recruitment efforts generate the largest number of other submissions. The first place recruiter will receive $300 (USD); second place $200 (USD); and third place $100 (USD).
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What do I have to do to submit a proposal and be eligible for one of the prizes?
You must (1) register at this website and agree to the Competition Rules, Terms and Conditions (2) complete an online entry survey, (3) submit a proposal, (4) complete an online exit survey, and (5) complete at least 2 reviews of other submissions.
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Why do I have to complete two surveys?
The Competition is not only designed to come up with innovative ideas for urban housing in developing regions of the world. Our other objective is to study and learn more about how these challenges work. Your answers to our survey questions will help us obtain valuable information that we can use to better understand participants in these types of challenges and understand the factors that contribute to winning submissions.
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Who has the right to use the ideas that I submit?
By submitting your proposal you are giving the University of Notre Dame and the Competition Team a license to use your ideas. However you will retain ownership of the intellectual property rights in your submission. The intent of the Competition is to serve as a conduit for ideas—facilitating idea creation, rather than attempting to commercialize these ideas. For this reason, winning ideas will be made available for public viewing. In addition we will create an online repository of all submissions that will be available through our website to anyone. Creating the repository allows your ideas to be seen by others, and if others are interested they can contact you to arrange licensing and the use of your ideas. If you wish to not include your submission in the repository, there will be an opt-out option during the submission process. Your identity will not be disclosed publically in relation to your submission in the repository, but we will create a method whereby interested parties can contact you directly. More details on intellectual property issues and the rules governing the Competition can be found in the Competition Rules, Terms and Conditions.
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Can I work with others on this Competition?
Yes. We encourage people who want to work with others as a team to do so. We have created a tool whereby you can create a team and invite people to join your team.
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How can I join an already existing team?
When a team is created, a unique number code is generated and viewable by the creator of a team. In order to join an already existing team, you must have that numerical code and enter it when you request to join an existing team. This means that you can only join an existing team if a member of that team tells you the numerical code.
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Can I tell others about this Competition?
Yes. We very much encourage you to spread the word. We have created a tool that you can use to refer people to the Competition. All you have to do is enter their email address, and we will send an email to them with a link to the website. The people you refer can choose to either work with you on a team, or to develop their own proposals. We will track how many people you refer and how many submissions result from your referrals. A total $600 (USD) will be awards to the top three recruiters.
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Where can I find more information on the Competition?
Once you have registered there will be a “Documentation” tab through which you can assess the detailed brief containing information on the Competition and requirements for submissions. Information on intellectual property rights, the terms of the Competition, the rewards, and privacy issues can be found in the Competition Rules, Terms and Conditions.
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Who is conducting this Competition?
The Competition is part of a 4-year National Science Foundation project (CBET 09-41565) designed to develop and study the crowdsourcing of civil engineering projects. The Research Team in charge of the competition consists of Professors Kijewski-Correa, Hachen, Madey, Kareem, and Thain of the University of Notre Dame. More information on the larger project and the project’s principle investigators can be found at http://www.nd.edu/~opence/.
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Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Please contact the project team at info@sheltersforall.org with any questions.
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