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UiTM students win international design challenge with blueprint to develop Sao Paulo’s favelas

WINNING the University of Westminster‘s inaugural Latitudes International Design Challenge earlier this month was the Urban Chimney, a structure which combines solar panels and wind turbines to ease living conditions in the urban slums of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Proposed by a collective of Malaysian students from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) namely Nur Deena Binti Ruslan, Mohamad Syaifuladli Bin Mohamad Zaki and Ahmad Azlan Bin Aziz, the Urban Chimney earned praise from judges who believed the design brought “soft and adequate interventions to the existing territory”.

…the team found a balance between the need of new structures and the kindness expected of interventions in such consolidated and specific settlements, as it is in the Paraisópolis Favela.

— Latitudes International Design Challenge

As a result of their win, the team won a learning exchange trip to Sao Paulo which will take place in October 2016.


The Latitudes International Design Challenge is an initiative by global educational network Latitude which was established to explore the effects and global dimensions of climate change through design and innovation. Last October, it issued a call for collaborative solutions to climate change in five cities including Chennai, Bologna and Sao Paulo.

142 students across seven countries took part in the challenge, working with 11 international tutors and coming up with 60 ideas. The process involved the utilisation of “smart rooms” with built-in HD videoconferencing technology with partner universities to enable a “global classroom” environment.

UiTM was the sole Malaysian partner university chosen for the challenge and the only university from South East Asia in the program.

All entries will be on display at the Marylebone campus of the University of Westminster from 16 June until 15 July 2016.

Find out more about the Latitudes International Design Challenge from the University of Westminster and make sure to check out Latitudes!

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