Throughout his life, innovator and designer Buckminster Fuller endeavored to develop solutions for humanity's many problems and to "make the world work for all." Carrying on the spirit and intention of his work, the Buckminster Fuller Institute holds an annual competition to support the development and implementation of a single worthy strategy that holds the potential to solve one of the most acute social, economic, environmental, or cultural challenges humans face.

Six finalist projects recently were selected for the 2010 cycle of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, and during a ceremony on June 2 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.,  one of them will be awarded the $100,000 prize that will encourage further development of the project.

The finalist projects are:

  • Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (Tilonia, Rajasthan, India): This program trains women in remote towns and villages to electrify their communities through solar power and to serve as the resident solar engineers, both improving quality of life for the community and catalyzing the local economy.
  • Call to Farm: FarmShare (Brooklyn, N.Y.): A model in the emerging urban agriculture movement, FarmShare reconnects farmers and consumers as co-producers using urban backyards and an online social network.
  • Eco-Boulevards (Chicago, Ill.): A reconception of Chicago's street grid as a holistic bio-system that captures, cleans, and returns wastewater and stormwater to the Great Lakes, this model could help cities function as mindful gatekeepers of a critical freshwater resource.
  • LivingBuilding Challenge (Seattle, Wash.): One of the most stringent and comprehensive sets of design and performance-based standards for the built environment, the Living Building Challenge seeks to change our approach to the design, construction, renovation, and occupation of buildings.
  • Operation Hope: Permanent water and food security for Africa's impoverished millions (Africa and New Mexico, U.S.): The project demonstrates how to reverse desertification of savannas and grasslands as a means of mitigating climate change, biomass burning, drought, flood, drying of rivers and underground waters, extinction of wildlife, massive poverty, social breakdown, violence, and genocide.
  • Watergy Greenhouse (Berlin, Germany): Developed to refine a closed system greenhouse as a way of providing extremely efficient farming capabilities in water-scarce communities, Watergy Greenhouse allows 85 percent recycling of irrigation water and can be deployed across urban and rural conditions.

Learn more about each finalist at the Buckminster Fuller Challenge website.