Buckminster Fuller Challenge

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The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is an annual international design competition that awards $100,000 to the most comprehensive solution to a pressing global problem. The Challenge was launched in 2007[1] and is a program of The Buckminster Fuller Institute. The competition, open to designers, artists, architects, students, environmentalists, and organizations world-wide, has been dubbed "Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award" by Metropolis Magazine.[2]

According to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge website: "Winning solutions are regionally specific yet globally applicable and present a truly comprehensive, anticipatory, integrated approach to solving the world's complex problems." Furthermore, the criteria of the Challenge calls not for a stand-alone solution, but an integrated strategy that addresses social, environmental, economic and cultural issues. This is aligned with the design approach of Buckminster Fuller, which he referred to as "comprehensive anticipatory design science".[3]

Winners of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge include John Todd (2008),[4] [5] MIT's Smart Cities Group (2009),[6] ,[7] Allan Savory and the Africa Center for Holistic management (2010),[8][9][10] Blue Ventures (2011) [11] and the Living Building Challenge (2012).[12]

Each year's winner is ultimately decided by an international jury of renowned whole systems thinkers and practitioners of sustainability. Former jury members include Jose Zaglul, Alan Kay, Mitchell Joachim, Adam Bly, Jamais Cascio, Nicholas Grimshaw, Hunter Lovins, William McDonough, Janine Benyus, and Danny Hillis.

Although there is only one winner per year, the majority of the entries received are featured on the Buckminster Fuller Challenge website within a fully searchable database known as the Idea Index.[13]


  1. ^ Hughes, C.J. (2007-09-04). "Buckminster Fuller Challenge Launched". Architectural Record. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  2. ^ Rajagopal, Avinash (2010-06-04). "Operation Hope Triumphs". Metropolis Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  3. ^ "About the Buckminster Fuller Challenge". bfi.org. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  4. ^ "2008 Challenge Winner: Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia". bfi.org. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  5. ^ Makovsky, Paul (2008-07-10). "The Visionary Thinking of John Todd". Metropolis Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  6. ^ "2009 Winner: Sustainable Personal Mobility and Mobility-on-Demand Systems". bfi.org. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  7. ^ Kuang, Cliff (2009-04-24). "Nine Ideas to Save the World, Inspired by Buckminster Fuller". fastcompany.com. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  8. ^ "2010 Challenge Winner: Operation Hope: Permanent water and food security for Africa's impoverished millions". bfi.org. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  9. ^ Thackara, John (2010-06-03). "Greener Pastures". Seed Magazine. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  10. ^ Rothstein, Joe (2010-06-03). "Hang On, Planet Earth, Help Is On The Way". EIN News. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  11. ^ "Blue Ventures Wins $100,000 Buckminster Fuller Challenge For Its Economic Model To Save Fish".
  12. ^ "Living Building Challenge takes top honors in 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge".
  13. ^ "Entries to the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Published". bustler.net. 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2010-08-15.

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