Each year, Urban SOS challenges students to make our cities more equitable, resilient places to live and work, and 2016 was no different. Fair Share invited multidisciplinary student teams to fuse the sharing economy with physical design to solve major urban issues.

With Van Alen Institute and 100 Resilient Cities — Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, we launched the competition in May 2016. Over the following three months teams from 31 countries worldwide tackled food deserts, migration, economic inequality, waste management and other complex challenges facing cities today.

Reviewing more than 80 ambitious ideas, juries of AECOM employees selected 16 semi-finalists to progress to the next stage of the competition, where their ideas were evaluated by prestigious panels of experts from academia, urban planning, technology and architecture in four global cities. From a field of inventive ideas, these experts selected four teams to go forward to a final presentation in Los Angeles before a live audience and a jury of 10 leading professionals. Van Alen Institute guided student teams throughout the process, helping them to strengthen their proposals.

The First Class Meal team won the competition for their bold vision to reuse United States Postal Service (USPS) post offices slated for closure and their underutilized distribution network to help collect, store, and redistribute surplus food to neighborhoods with limited food access.

Curious about how your local post office could feed the community? Want to hear more about how refugees could reclaim abandoned buildings? Download our 2016 project summary to read more about the 2016 challenges, the finalist ideas and the big things we learned.