Global success for Imperial engineering students in C40 Cities competition


High view of a grren space in a city

Global success for Imperial engineering students in C40 Cities competition

Engineering students at Imperial College are celebrating success in the global C40 Cities Students Reinventing Cities competition. The competition, facilitated at Imperial by the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) student society, encouraged participants to ‘imagine a more sustainable and inclusive urban future’ in cities across the world. Ten key principles – including sustainable and circular living, climate resilience, and people-centric spaces – formed the backbone of the project. Following months of research and discussion, teams then tendered their proposals directly to city leaders.

Coloured blocks depicting the ten principlesReNew Orleans

ReNew Orleans, led by Civil Engineering student Patrick McAdam, focused on tackling urban inequality and social segregation in the city of New Orleans through five key measures. Working with students across several engineering departments, including Electrical, Design, Mechanical, Aeronautical, and Materials, the team of 11 focused on pedestrianisation, high-tech transportation, resilient energy management, community life, and affordable urban living.

Clean energy generation by a solar microgrid, affordable climate-resilient housing, and a revised bus and pedestrian network for Lake Forest Boulevard are just a few examples of the sustainable solutions proposed by ReNew Orleans. While the project required detailed and holistic consideration of the site with regards to the entire city, primary findings and recommendations were condensed into a 10-page proposal and 3-page implementation plan. To read more about the team’s ideas, a pdf of the winning proposal can be found at the link below:

Escalators next to stairs in lisbornFuturo Conectado

Futuro Conectado, led by Civil Engineering student Mikaella Liveri, worked on revitalising the Mouraria area of Lisbon – a ‘multicultural neighbourhood’ near the southwest coast of the city. Despite being rich in history and culture, the area’s population has been steadily decreasing, with parts of the neighbourhood falling into disuse. The team came up with various solutions, including walkable ‘5-minute neighbourhoods’, inclusion of mobility solutions such as escalators, bicycles, and a funicular railway, optimised flood management, and mitigation of the ‘urban heat island effect’ using greenery and reflective paint. The team of 7 achieved a special mention as the runner-up (2nd best project) of the Lisbon project, and you can read more about the challenge here:

Both teams are grateful for the support and supervision of Professor Mike Cook and Dr Sunday Popo-Ola from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Students interested in getting involved in future projects are encouraged to join EWB.

EWB is a student society at Imperial College that is a subsidiary of the UK-wide charitable organisation of the same name. The aim of EWB is to ‘put global responsibility at the heart of engineering’, by instilling engineering firms – and young people in particular – with the skills and mindset required to think creatively about sustainable solutions to environmental and climate change issues, which also consider social responsibility. At the society, students can find inspirational talks from industry professionals, sustainability workshops and volunteering opportunities, and climate networking events. Sign up to EWB is available through the Imperial College Union website’s Clubs, Societies, and Projects page.

C40 Cities is a network of 96 member cities globally, whose mayors have agreed to work together towards taking dedicated climate action and building a more sustainable future. C40 have been running the ‘Reinventing Cities’ competition since 2017 and the student equivalent of this since 2022. Previous successful teams and their proposed solutions have been involved in real redevelopment projects for cities in the C40 network.

The ReNew Orleans team are excited to connect with LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of New Orleans, to present their proposal to her and discuss the city’s ongoing revitalisation plans.


Tim Gordon

Tim Gordon
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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