United Technologies Future Buildings and Cities Challenge



Submit Your Solution by December 17, 2017

It is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, an increase from 55% in 2017. Although cities cover only 2% of the world’s land area, they account for 70% of greenhouse-gas emissions, of which 30% are generated by buildings. Construction of green buildings can significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The building industry is growing  rapidly and is estimated to account for 57% of all global growth by the year 2030. Urbanization and  growing populations are driving the development of skyscrapers and other tall buildings around the world. Architects and planners are mapping out ways to accommodate the world’s urban population without straining the environment with vast amounts of emissions and waste. Now more than ever, it is crucial for building designs to reduce environmental impact.

The Challenge

United Technologies Corporation & The New York Academy of Sciences invite students ages 13-18 from around the world to participate in an open innovation challenge focused on sustainable building solutions.

How it Works

This challenge takes place on our virtual platform, Launchpad, an innovation platform facilitating global collaboration and problem solving. Using Launchpad, international students work together to design solutions to challenges sponsored by top companies.

On Launchpad, you can meet other solvers from around the world, create teams, and work collaboratively to tackle the Future of Buildings and Cities Challenge.

Once part of a team, you will have a project page where you can share your work externally, or communicate privately with team members.

Note: Students are free to form teams with other students on Launchpad, they may create local teams or work on their own.

Key Dates

Challenge Starts: October 17, 2017

Solutions Due: December 17, 2017

Winners Announced: February 2, 2018

Note: participants may join the challenge at any point until the challenge closes on December 17, 2017.


Please ensure that you can meet the following requirements before signing up:

  • All individuals must be between the ages of 13-18 as of the date of registration in order to participate.
  • All participants must sign up on Launchpad and agree to the Terms of Service. Those under the age of majority must submit a parent/guardian consent form before the challenge begins.
  • Challenge materials and solutions should be submitted in English in order to be considered. Participants can work in teams or individually. Teams can be as large as 6.


Winners will be awarded entry into the elite Junior Academy community.

Additional prizes to be announced soon.


Act as an expert advisor in the Future Buildings and Cities Challenge:

Starting on October 19, students from around the world will work together in virtual teams to design solutions to a real-world problem in the area of green buildings. We are seeking STEM professionals with expertise in engineering, sustainability, green buildings or another related area who are willing to give these students feedback and coaching, providing guidance as they design their solutions over a 60-day period.

Applications open from August 4 – September 15. Apply now.

Download the GSA Innovation Curriculum to engage your students in real-world problem solving! Combining principles of scientific research and design thinking, this project-based curriculum takes students through the process of developing creative solutions to challenges facing their local communities or people across the globe. Use it to support students participating in the Future Buildings and Cities Challenge starting October 19, or run a challenge of your own. This free resource offers engaging ways for students to build both STEM content knowledge and 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.