The Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) of Abu Dhabi invites you to participate in a global creative ideas competition, the Cool Abu Dhabi Challenge 2020, to improve outdoor thermal comfort in public spaces by mitigating the impact of the Urban Heat Island Effect in the city.

The winning entries will represent the most original and innovative ideas that attempt to reduce Heat Island Effect in a prototypical urban site in Abu Dhabi through design interventions or material and scientific innovations. Entries are not limited to architectural design interventions and are encouraged to work across scales, technologies, systems, and materials.

About Cool Abu Dhabi Challenge.

Outdoor thermal comfort conditions influence several choices that inhabitants make every single day — to walk to a local shop, take public transit, cycle, eat outside at a restaurant, talk with colleagues, friends, and neighbors or simply go to a park. One of the critical issues in designing outdoor spaces is considering human thermal comfort. Making people more comfortable allows them to enjoy and spend more time in outdoor spaces and be a part of a thriving city. Improved thermal comfort in public spaces not only results in less time spent indoors and consequently, reduced energy consumption but also valuable outcomes emerge such as wellness, enjoyment, and safety. It helps develop a sense of belonging, an identity for the design and increases peoples’ level of satisfaction.

For an extreme climate such as Abu Dhabi’s, the harsh conditions felt across significant months of the year certainly reduce the feasibility of such external activities taking place. It restricts peoples’ choices and impacts subsequent health outcomes.

The prize-winning competition entries shall holistically address the challenges, more specifically Heat Island Effect through design, engineering, scientific, anthropological, and material and planting propositions. While maximising passive means is preferred, rational use of efficient active and mechanical systems for public space comfort is strongly encouraged.

Climate sensitive and people-centric approaches should form the core focus of the design. In addition to the technical dimension of the intervention, and its aesthetics should also drive people’s desire to interact and occupy public space.

Eligibility Criteria

The competition is open to all; but is specifically looking for designers, architects, engineers, landscape architects, material scientists, educators, researchers, students, artists and/or inter-disciplinary teams from across the globe, to contribute.

Cool Abu Dhabi Challenge Prizes.

  • Total prize money of $100,000 USD will be distributed to up to ten winning entries (each winning entry will receive $10,000).
  • Winners may earn the opportunity to present their concepts to Abu Dhabi policy-makers.

Cool Abu Dhabi Challenge Selection Criteria.

  • Visionary: An original idea that creatively advances the agenda of the competition.
  • Anticipatory: Flexible and forward-thinking strategies enough to succeed, now and in the future.
  • Replicate: Solutions that can be applied across multiple scales and not be specifically tailored to a particular site.
  • Robust: Enough scientific evidence that the solution is reliable in reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect.
  • Local: Appropriate for Abu Dhabi’s specific climate needs and social-cultural conditions

Method of Application

Only one proposal per registration is permitted per entry. Participants are allowed to register multiple times if they wish to participate in the competition with several different proposals.