The World Habitat Awards recognise projects across the world that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems.
Two Awards of £10,000 are given annually: one for a project in the global north and the other for a project in the global south.
Travel and accommodation costs are also met for one representative of each winning project to attend the Awards ceremony. Individually designed silver trophies are presented to the winning projects.
The Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), which administers the World Habitat Awards, is an independent charitable research organisation that promotes sustainable development and innovation in housing through collaborative research and knowledge transfer.
BSHF's aims are to:
- Identify housing innovation and good practice that fosters a more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable world.
- Promote awareness of sustainable housing issues and encourage the adoption of relevant policies and practice.
- Facilitate progressive thinking on themes related to the development, construction or management of housing worldwide.
The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 as part of the Building and Social Housing Foundation's contribution to the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless.
The Awards recognise projects that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs that fulfil three main criteria: demonstrate sustainability in the solution; can be transferred or adapted for use as appropriate; and bring other benefits such as energy/water saving or social inclusion. Two awards are made per year, recognising one outstanding project in the Northern hemisphere and one in the south.
The applicant requirements are as follows:
- Any individual, organisation or government office with an innovative and practical solution to housing needs and problems from any country of the world is eligible to apply.
- More than one project may be submitted by the same individual or organisation.
- Projects must be submitted by the original designer or be accompanied by a letter of permission from the designer agreeing to its entry in the competition and for its publication in the event of winning.
- Projects at design stage may be submitted; however, preference will be given to projects that are completed or in progress.
- Previous entrants can re-submit in subsequent years providing that the project has been further developed in the intervening time period.
Applications are made online on the World Habitat Awards website.
Initial submissions should comprise a concise description of the key aspects of the project or approach, accompanied by images where possible. Full plans, costings and evaluation reports are not required at this stage, although can be supplied if desired (the main headings under which information should be supplied are set out on the entry form). Submissions can be made in English, Spanish or French and must be received by the deadline.
All entries are assessed and up to 12 projects are shortlisted by an assessment committee. These shortlisted projects are then evaluated by an independent advisory group.
Shortlisted projects are asked for further information and evaluation visits are made to some of the shortlisted projects before recommendations are put forward to a panel of external judges, including the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).
The Awards are presented each year at a major UN-Habitat event, providing opportunities for international exposure, networking and dissemination of the award winning approaches.