August 23, 2018

Penn IUR Announces Year-Long Photo Contest Exploring the Question: Why Cities?

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is pleased to announce a year-long photo contest that explores the question “why cities?” The contest, in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania’s Academic Theme Year, Year of Why, will highlight a series of urban topics including urban greening, energy efficiency, and affordable housing. With more than 80% of the human population projected to live in cities by 2050, the contest aims to highlight the importance of understanding the various facets of urban life.

Each month of this academic year, Penn IUR will announce an urban topic and accept photo submissions that explore that topic. Each month’s theme is intended as a motivation to think about cities, but participants are encouraged to post photos related to any of the themes, or any urban issue, throughout the year. For the month of September, we ask participants to submit images that relate to urban greening and address the question: “Why do cities need green spaces?” Each month’s theme will be announced on Twitter and Facebook.

Submissions will be accepted September 1, 2018 - April 15, 2019.

The contest is open to the public, and submissions will be judged by a panel of urban experts. Winners will be announced in May.

To enter, participants should tweet their image to Penn IUR (@PennIUR), using the hashtag #ThisIsWhyCities, and include a short description of the photo, as well as the date and location that the photo was taken. For those who do not use social media, submissions can be emailed to

For additional information, visit

Please direct any questions to Laura Barron at or 215.573.8386.


Media Contact:

Deborah Lang
Communications Director

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