2021 HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition

HUD PD&R invites teams from accredited educational institutions within the us to participate in its Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition. Teams must be comprised of scholars enrolled during a graduate course of study .

Transforming our communities: the necessity for quality, affordable housing has never been greater. At its best, housing can help strengthen the social and physical fabric of communities and neighborhoods. it’s the hope of HUD and PD&R that by initiating and funding this competition, a replacement generation will advance the planning and production of livable and sustainable housing for low- and moderate-income people through research and innovation.

Making it actionable: The IAH competition has been designed to duplicate a real-life approach. Multi-disciplinary teams comprised of graduate students in architecture, planning and policy, finance and other areas are going to be asked to deal with social, economic, and environmental issues in responding to a selected housing problem developed by an actual housing project agency (PHA).

The importance of a team approach: This competition is meant to encourage research and innovation in affordable housing, to boost practitioner and future practitioner capacity, and to foster cross-cutting team-work within the planning and community development process. The IAH will join the suite of annual PD&R awards for community planning, historic preservation, and affordable housing design.

Multidisciplinary teams must be comprised of a minimum of three students and a maximum of 5 , plus one faculty advisor. Each team must have members representing three different graduate level programs; one among which must be from an architectural or design-related program, and one among which must be from a non-architectural program. There are many acceptable permutations; here is one example for clarity:

  • •2 M. Architecture candidates
  • •1 M. Planning or Public Policy candidate
  • 2 MBA candidates


  • All team members must be enrolled in a graduate degree program from an accredited educational institution in the United States.
  • All team leaders must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
  • All teams must be comprised of at least three citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Registration for the 2021 IAH Competition is open! Enter a team.
Looking for teammates? Use the Team Finder forum to connect with other students.

Competition Schedule
Competition launch; registration opens; guidelines and criteria announced 09-14-2020
Deadline for teams to register: Noon Eastern Standard Time 11-02-2020
Detailed Program Site and Housing Authority announced 11-03-2020
Deadline for teams to submit Phase I: Noon Eastern Standard Time 01-25-2021
Finalists announced; Phase II released* 02-12-2021
Site visit for finalists (travel conditions permitting) Early March 2021
Phase II submissions due 04-12-2021
Final presentations and awards ceremony in DC (travel conditions permitting) Mid-April 2021

Download the information related to this competition here.

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