Victorian high school students have been recognised for their innovative solutions to urban problems in RMIT's Urban Futures competition.
The first place prize of $500 was awarded to Deborah Chew, a Year 12 student from Coburg Senior High School, for her entry investigating the issue of urban heat island effect.
Miss Chew highlighted the impact this has on the health of people and the environment and proposed strategies such as green rooftops, increased canopy cover and solar reflective building materials can help to minimise heat gain in her winning entry.
Kelly Laing, a Year 10 student from Huntingtower School, came a close second with her entry on the integration of housing development with transport infrastructure, securing a $300 prize.
Supported by Villawood Properties, the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, Planning Institute of Australia and the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria, the competition is open to all Victorian secondary school students in years 10 to 12.
Students were asked to provide a photo or image to communicate an urban problem, and explain their ideas for a solution.
Dr Joe Hurley, Program Manager of the Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning, has been running the competition for five years.
"Urban Futures encourages and recognises thoughtful and creative engagement with cities from secondary school students," Dr Hurley said.
"The 2014 entries demonstrate the wealth of insight and ideas present in secondary school students on urban challenges and opportunities.
"The environment and planning programs at RMIT can equip these motivated students with the skills needed to tackle these issues and challenges."
The award ceremony was attended by Rory Costelloe, Executive Director of Villawood Properties, as well as Steve Latham from the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria, both showing their support for the excellent entries submitted.
The competition provides an important forum for secondary school students and teachers to come together with urban planning and environment academics and professionals.