DRIA 2020/21 Band

(OPEN TO PARTNER UNIVERSITIES) The annual DRIA international design competition encourages foresighted urban and architectural design proposals. It promotes innovation in building technologies to ensure a specific community’s resiliency, particularly before and during a disastrous event. A different community in Asia is picked every year as the competition’s test site through careful joint research efforts of this year’s organizer, the School of Architecture and Design, King Mongkut’s University of Technology (KMUTT), the initiator School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, and its network partners schools.




Naga City, or simply Naga, is geographically located in the Camarines Sur province on the historic Naga River at the serpentine Naga and Bicol Rivers’ confluence. The city has always been an ideal place for commerce and a center for schools, churches, and government offices. It is administratively independent of the provincial government. With a steady rise in population, it represents itself as the Bicol region’s commercial, religious, and cultural center. As a city within rural surroundings, Naga also faces several resilience issues with various significant challenges:

Climate and Natural Hazards

Naga’s climate is characterized by a pronounced maximum rain period, with the monsoon season bringing precipitations through heavy downpours, local thunderstorms, and typhoons. These regularly disrupt day-to-day lives, causing flooding, land subsidence and liquefaction, and the destruction of infrastructure from heavy rain and windfall. Especially the low-lying lands in the urban areas are at risk of flooding. They are also due to their proximity to the river confluence that leads to the nearby sea and faces the difficulty of discharging large amounts of water quickly enough. Besides, the risk of sea level rises due to climate change poses another challenge.

Reference Source: https://www.cnn.ph/videos/2019/12/4/Naga-City-under-state-of-calamity,-appeals-for-help.html

In-Migration and Economic Challenges 

While exposed to continuous population growth and land migration from the surrounding rural areas, the city has developed practices for dealing with informal settlers. Still, it faces a large housing gap for these groups. However, housing provision does not solve the city’s lack of income opportunities to ensure a decent livelihood for this population segment. With the region’s economic development generally viewed as exemplary in the Philippines, there are also concerns that global market expansion and its actions create complex side effects that affect urban gentrification. Thus, economic growth may not generate income growth but hinder the population’s anticipated development, especially for the marginalized informal sectors.




Sprawl Development and Agricultural Land Decline

Given the steady need for housing for informal settlers and urban poor, there is a demand for inexpensive land, in some cases realized via land conversion. At the same time, agricultural land and their use decline, further threatening low-income groups such as farmers/sellers by compromising their land resources and revenues.



Towards a positive climate environment

How can Naga City cope with climate change and its consequences by proposing a livable and regenerative environment? Can cities and urban environments have a regenerative and restorative impact on urban and natural systems? In this 2020/21 edition, the DRIA competition wants to reflect on urbanism and architecture as a form of transformative change. Teams are requested to investigate and reflect to provide innovative ideas to complementary approaches:

  • The proposition of urban and architectural actions and solutions that deal with the existing vulnerabilities and anticipate, prevent, and adapt to Naga’s extreme weather conditions due to climate change and existing natural hazards. Proposed measures must allow adjusting to those excessive periods where day-to-day activities become interrupted. Here, design teams need to go beyond protective solutions and reflect on proactive efforts to coexist in such situations and quickly reinstate the urban and ecological systems.
  • Regenerative and restorative design solutions and actions at the urban and architectural scales impact natural systems and contribute to climate change impact mitigation. “Regenerative approaches seek not only to reverse the degeneration of the earth’s natural systems but also to design human systems that can co-evolve with natural systems—evolve in a way that generates mutual benefits and greater overall expression of life and resilience.” (Mang, P., Reed, B.)
  • Urban and architectural responses need to confront steady population growth, the constant influx of informal settlers, demand for adequate housing resulting in the transformation of agricultural land, and the need for respective income opportunities. With the outlook towards a widening social gap, solutions must provide Naga Cities’ citizens with sustainable solutions for a prosperous future.

Suppose submitted proposals can successfully address such tasks. Naga City and its environments may turn into socially responsive communities that act sustainably responsible and initiate regenerative and restorative effects on urban and natural systems.

The competition challenges participants to imagine the future of Naga and suggest global visions and design proposals to create a climate-positive (carbon negative) city. The design competition requests integrated and holistic proposals with systemic approaches that tackle the effects of climate change in the urban areas of Naga City. We seek comprehensive, visionary, speculative, provocative, innovative, and resilient design proposals that improve the present and imagine a better future for Naga.

Proposals are expected to be applicable, feasible and replicable, and should be accompanied by quantitative evidence to demonstrate the benefits resulting from the designs.

The competition brief thus request teams to

  • define a position, statement, plan, and strategy for Naga’s future development (2050) that meets the future city’s needs and objectives
  • define and design the urban model, including densities, intensities, mixed-use character, mobility, resources, etc.
  • identify and locate the city’s sites were to develop urban projects that the future model requires. Sites will have to allocate the forecasted total housing stock; however, the sites’ program will not be limited to housing
  • design the selected sites at the urban and architectural scales, incorporating needs that the city’s future development will require, such as services, facilities, schools, healthcare, transportation and mobility networks, water management, energy, waste management, etc.
  • develop integrative and holistic approaches that effectively use resources and strengthen the city’s environmental, social, and economic resiliency

While competition teams are encouraged to reflect their comments, thoughts, and visions about the four locations currently being considered by Naga City, these locations should not be understood as mandatory locations for which the competition will request solutions.

Important Dates 


Issuance of Competition Brief                   

January 2021

Submission of Competition Entries 

15 June 2021 (6 pm Bangkok Time)

Submission of Student Workshop

29 June 2021 (6 pm Bangkok Time)

Submission of Research Talk   

15 June 2021 (6 pm Bangkok Time)

Opening of DRIA 2020 Symposium

14 July 2021

Presentation of Competition Entries 

14-17 July 2021

Announcement of Award Honourees  

18 July 2021



Competition Brief