Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: May 14, 2024

University of Maine at Augusta will duke it out with Harvard, Yale and others in design challenge

2 people sitting with building models in foreground Courtesy / University of Maine at Augusta University of Maine at Augusta architecture students will participate in a design challenge focused on the effects of climate change.

The University of Maine at Augusta’s bachelor of architecture program has been selected to participate in a nationwide design challenge focused on the effects of climate change.

UMA was one of eight universities nationwide selected to take part in the Envision Resilience Challenge, a design studio and community engagement initiative founded by philanthropist Wendy Schmidt.

The other participants are Cornell University, Harvard University, University at Buffalo, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, Yale University, and the program's first international partner, University of Toronto.

The UMA student teams will convene a design studio that will focus on Portland and South Portland’s working waterfront and industrial space, along with open space and parks and Casco Bay and its islands.

The teams will consist of students studying architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and environmental science, and will also include members of the community.

Challenge organizers will facilitate engagement of students, faculty and researchers with municipal and community leaders, business owners, local stakeholders and nonprofit and science organizations. 

Student participants will spend this fall semester researching the local challenges, exploring potential responses and proposing adaptive and imaginative solutions to address climate change.

Like coastal communities around the world, Portland and South Portland are at the forefront of a changing climate. The Gulf of Maine waters are warming, and sea levels are rising at three to four times the global average. Winter storms this year have flooded downtowns, damaged wharves, washed away historic structures and set record high tides.

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time — but instead of fearing the future, this program asks us to reimagine the future we would like to see and then work toward it,” said Wendy Schmidt. 

Said Patrick Hansford, a UMA professor of architecture, “The ability to collaborate with the other seven universities will be a great learning experience.”

UMA’s bachelor of architecture program offers the only professional architecture degree in Maine and the only public five-year professional degree in northern New England. The program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

Following the fall semester design studio, the plan is for the challenge to facilitate community programming, events and an exhibition to showcase design outcomes to the region. 

To date, the program has worked with 346 students, 70 community advisors from eight coastal communities and 22 student teams from 13 universities.

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF