i-Rec 2019 Student Competition

Disrupting the status quo: Resisting disaster risk creation

Over the past decades, the world has witnessed rapid urbanisation, increasing over-consumption, and the unprecedented taming of nature. Humans are exceeding the limits of planetary resources and are causing major global disruptions. Technology and design are prompting overconsumption and the accumulation of power and resources. The creation of risk seems to be an inevitable feature of our current political, economic, and societal systems. 
Undergraduate and graduate students of architecture are invited to participate in an international competition that attempts to bring out innovative ideas to explore ways of disrupting this status quo. This competition focuses on resisting disaster risk creation in natural and human systems. 
Solutions for post-disaster reconstruction and disaster risk prevention must address both the products and the processes of intervention. Participating projects are expected to reflect on the following themes: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. 

The 9th i-Rec international competition invites participants to:

1.    Explore how interventions in the built environment can contribute to the protection of rights and freedoms, especially those of historically marginalized and excluded social groups, in situations of post-disaster and post-conflict reconstruction, recovery, and disaster risk reduction. 

2.    Explore innovative ways to tackle the root causes of vulnerability in a context of ongoing disaster risk creation.

3.    Study comprehensive solutions to reduce inequalities in land ownership, tenure, and urban planning.

4.    Show how architecture and/or urban projects can contribute to protecting resources and nature and aiding the recovery of ecosystems. 

5.    Explore how urban planning and design interventions can help reduce corruption in recovery attempts, empower affected populations, and avoid top-down and paternalist strategies often adopted by humanitarian actors.

6.    Examine sustainable solutions to forced displacement of people. Reconsider the importance of design interventions in temporary spaces of refuge (such as refugee camps and informal settlements) that often become permanent.  

7.    Explore how design interventions can mitigate climate change and how science can reduce the denialism adopted by governments for specific political agendas. 

8.    Examine the technical aspects of physical construction or reconstruction, and present a scenario for an organizational design that articulates the participants, their actions, their resources, and how they will be made available.

A selected bibliography is provided below. However, participants are expected to conduct basic research on the subject before preparing their projects. A selection of articles can be found on the i-Rec website: 


Conference Tracks: An alternative take on the 2030 Agenda

The conference will broadly align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the tracks will follow the 5 Ps; People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. Register your interest in one of the themes below.

A) People

- Disasters and human rights

- Inequality/disaster risk nexus

- Root causes of vulnerability

- Marginalised groups / invisible people

B) Planet


- Planetary boundaries in the Anthropocene/Capitalocene

- Decoupling - myth or reality

- Considering ecosystems in recovery and reconstruction

- Resistance movements for the environment

C) Prosperity

- Disaster risk creation / Disaster capitalism / Development-aid “business”

- Growth/Degrowth and disaster risk

- Neoliberalism and disaster recovery

- Land ownership, tenure and planning

D) Peace

- Forced displacement

- Military/prison industrial complex and disaster risk creation

- Post-colonialism: role in ‘resilience building’

- Confronting structural violence in disaster recovery

E) Partnership

- Political impediments to science impact

- Climate change denialism

- Corruption in recovery

- Resistance, revolt, community capacity and movements for change