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CAC is excited to celebrate 40 years of showcasing the talents of Chicagoland high school students solving real-world architecture, design and engineering problems.

Every child has the right to grow up in an environment where they feel safe and secure, have access to basic services and clean air and water, can play, learn and grow and where their voice is heard and matters."UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative

2022 Newhouse

In a youth-friendly Chicago, children from birth to 18 years of age are respected, safe, healthy and given the best possible chance of tackling the challenges of tomorrow. This goal stretches beyond only young people to add value to all citizens’ lives. The economic value and long-term livability of an urban environment are bolstered by youths’ access to a host of opportunities. These include, but are not limited to: time spent outdoors building connections to nature, the ability to get around independently, opportunities to build community connections and access to healthy food and exercise.

This year’s Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition centers teens’ efforts on projects to create a more youth-friendly Chicago, with a special focus on the ten communities identified in Mayor Lori Lightfoot's INVEST South/West Initiative.

The Competition calls for projects that respond to the needs of hypothetical clients, based on prompts submitted by Chicago architecture firms. Submissions for this year’s Competition must address six elements of youth-friendly cities*:

Multifunctional Green Spaces

Green spaces can promote healthy living and community connections. This can look like a community garden, outdoor gathering space, exercise opportunities and more.

Intergenerational Space

Children, the elderly and everyone in between can not only support, but learn from one another.

Safe Play Spaces

Places for children to play, free from feat and trauma, are essential to promoting healthy children, not to mention adults.

Accessible Play Spaces

Four-point-three-percent of the population ages 0-17 have a disability. By adulthood, the rate jumps to one in four. Recreational and play spaces that support people with disabilities are essential.

Neighborhood Mapping

Kids know what's up! A youth-friendly city is one that recognizes that talking to children can provide deeper insights into an area's issues and opportunities.

Cultural Heritage Spaces

Seeing oneself reflected in cultural and heritage spaces matters and is essential for an inclusive urban life.

*Adapted from Cities Alive: Designs for Urban Childhoods” (ARUP, 2017)

Project Categories & Details

Designs must address at least one of the six elements of a youth-friendly city, applied to a specific INVEST South/West neighborhood. Youth may propose projects that use:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Community Art

The full competition manual will be available in January 2022.


Participation in Newhouse is free and open to any Chicagoland high school students. Youth may participate independently or as a team.

Important Dates

November 11, 2021: Competition Launch

Early December 2021: Online registration opens.  Sign up to be the first to know when it happens!

January 21, 2022: Student and teacher manual released

April1, 2022: Online registration closes

April 22, 2022: Submission deadline

April 25 to May 30, 2022: Jury review period

May 21, 2022: Awards ceremony

May 21 to June 20, 2022: Exhibition

Competition Jury & Entry Evaluation

A robust network of professional architects, designers and engineers serve as jurors for Newhouse entries. Jurors review and evaluate student work for evidence of the design process, critical thinking and creativity, craftsmanship and professional presentation.

Questions? Want to learn more about how to get involved? Email Want to know when registration for 2022 opens?

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