Students City Challenge

Create better cities, create a better future!

The way in which we design and manage our cities impacts our society, our individual wellbeing and the environment. In 2050, presumably, two-thirds of earth’s population will live in cities. Consequently, cities will become an even more central living environment for humans.

Urban growth makes societies face far reaching problems and consequences. The extensive degree of multicausal air pollution is identified as one major issue in urban areas.

Your ideas count! Take action und help to create and fundamentally improve your future living environment!

Present your ideas for an intervention that can drastically reduce air pollution in urban areas and thereby revalue cities as entities of living spaces for humans.


The Challenge


Students of all disciplines and all levels of expertise are welcome to participate, because what counts most are two important features: creativity and persuasiveness. You can join the challenge as a team (12 members max.) or on your own.



You develop a concept to reduce air pollution in urban areas in the long term. Your concept should be based on one (or multiple) intervention(s), that aim for behavioural changes of relevant actors in the field and it should portray potential effects on the social, political, economical and ecological landscape. Be creative! From car-free cities to Jules Vernes’ city under the sea and even more unusual ideas. There are no limits to your creativity!

But, you should consider these points in the illustration of your scenario:

  1. Which individual/organisational actors play a role in this scenario?
  2. Describe the policy intervention that will change the current state
  3. Describe how these actors and their behaviours are influenced by your intervention
  4. What are other positive/negative side effects of your intervention that have to be considered?



There are no limitations to formats. What you present and how you present your idea is up to you. You decide for yourself whether you want to implement empirical data or not, if you want to develop a computational model, create a piece of art or a stage play, write an essay or do something completely different.

Selection phase 1 (Submission):

Each participating team or individual must register with a summary of the intended project (approximately 700 words), including title and keywords. Further submissions have no limitations in format.

For example:

  • If you do a stage play, your submission could be a script or a video.
  • If you develop a mathematical model, your submission would be a sequence of equations with explanations.
  • If you work on a social sciences concept, your submission would be a project description including theoretical background and maybe empirical data.
  • Etc.

Selection phase 2 (Review results):

Your submissions will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary pool of reviewers, that most notably assess the project’s innovativeness, (potential) feasibility and a convincing illustration of the described scenario.

If your submission is among one of the six finalists, you get the chance to present your concept at the Social Simulation Conference 2019 at Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz in front of experts from politics, city planning and the social simulation community.

Selection phase 3 (Conference pitch):

Conference attendees will vote for your projects at the live event and your concept will be visualised and musically accompanied. The top four teams or individuals will be awarded with glory and prize money (1st: 1000 EUR, 2nd: 500 EUR, 3rd/4th: 250 EUR). The winning Team has furthermore the possibility to publish their work in the conference proceedings.




If you register before 21st July, we can offer you extended support with your project, for example if you need some data records etc. After that date, you can still register until the deadline, but we cannot offer you the extended support anymore.


Register with your personal information and a short project description. After that, you need to submit your full project within the deadline.


You need to register and submit your project in an appropriate form until 5th August 2019.

If you have any questions, contact lionmert[at]