culture amplifier

Culture Amplifier Ideas Competition

Submission: December 5, 2021
Registration: December 5, 2021
Language: English
Location: Washington DC
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open


Using the tools of urban design, architecture, planning, landscape architecture, art, and technology and policy, we are seeking ideas that create new, or adapt existing public spaces and cultural infrastructure for people to gather and express both their individual and collective voices. Design opportunities should respond to social transmission and infrastructure in Washington, DC. Emphasis should be on creating cultural destinations, not another monumental landmark.

To achieve this goal, embracing cultural diversity and social equity is required. Diversity is not solely focused on welcoming different cultures and including multiple voices but also recognizing, understanding, and supporting the differences between people. The proposed cultural destinations should encourage not only long-time residents but also newcomers to express and accept identities of all kinds.


In the past, cities were often direct manifestations of their culture. The ability for civic gatherings, the exchange of ideas and values and for cultural celebration reflected in the public realm and programming of the urban fabric. During the 21st century we have experienced unprecedented global integration. Advances in technology and international economic policies have reduced many barriers to the free flow of goods, services, capital, and people. This rapid pace of globalization has fueled economic opportunities and brought with it many other benefits, but it has also begun to diffuse cultural identity in cities.

Authenticity is often lost when development is allowed to override important social outcomes. The rapid pace of development can also erode a sense of place and authenticity leading to a bland monotonous and sameness. A “gentrification” of cities, where we can find a Starbucks, Petco, and Shake Shack on every other corner. Culture is so much more than the branded image of the city. It is defined by the people and communities within it. As people seek deeper connections with their surroundings, maintaining authenticity and the uniqueness of a place can also have positive economic implications; it’s what often gives cities their competitive edge.

And as technology and social media continue to both connect and isolate us, what is the role of cultural identity in cities? Is cultural identity still relevant in the globally diverse city? The goal of this competition is to seek ideas on how architects, designers, planners, and the general public can contribute towards an informed citizenry that promotes awareness on culture, ethnicity and identity. Can spaces, designs and interventions that promote tolerance and equity better facilitate multicultural exchange by promoting opportunities to peacefully interact?


  • Any person or teams of up to five members may register and submit a competition entry.
  • Multiple entries from the same person or team may be considered as long as each is registered and paid for separately and the content is not duplicated. Duplicated content will disqualify all entries involved.
  • Any person that is a registered member of the AIA|DC Urban Design Committee or AIA|DC Asian American Design Union Committee is not eligible to participate.


The winner will receive monetary award of $500 and free registration to the next AIA|DC Urban Design Competition, in addition to the opportunity to author an article in this journal and receive a printed copy. The Honorable mention(s) will receive a monetary award of $250 and the opportunity to author an article in this journal and receive a printed copy.

The finalists will be featured in UD|DC’s annual publication about their submission and will receive a printed copy of the journal.

>>> Go to the competition’s website <<<