Innovation Awards

October 26-27, 2023 | Suwon, South Korea

Applications are now closed

One of the most awaited components of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum, the Innovation Awards
aims to inspire and empower individuals, organizations, and institutions to push the boundaries
of creativity and problem-solving in addressing the housing challenges faced by communities in
the region.

With a focus on innovation, the awards recognize outstanding initiatives, programs and
solutions that are making a difference in the way communities improve the places they call

The Innovation Awards finalists are here!

Over 3,100 applications. Countless inspiring and impactful solutions.
6 finalists (plus honorable mentions)!

Here are the finalists for the 2023 Asia-Pacific Housing Forum Innovation Awards, and their outstanding initiatives, programs and solutions that are making a difference in the way communities improve the places they call home.

Finalists – Policy: Public Sector Housing Solutions

The Manila Housing Program

  • Philippines

The Manila Housing Program encompasses housing, disaster resilience, climate adaptation, and social integration, by emphasizing mixed-income communities with amenities, preventing poverty concentration, and ensuring sustainability. It engages residents as active partners, valuing their input, and making them co-creators in addressing their housing needs, ensuring that the solutions developed are genuinely responsive to their unique circumstances and aspirations.

Affordable Housing Program for Low Income Households with Non-Fixed Income City

  • Indonesia

Livable and affordable housing for low-income households is one of the priority programs of the “Program Sejuta Rumah” – One Million Houses, by the Indonesian Government. It provides housing finance assistance to low-income households especially for those in informal markets, through Mortgage Linked Down Payment Assistance, known as “BP2BT.” This initiative provides access and opportunities for informal low-income households for home ownership, self-construction and self-improvement. It mobilizes banking capital towards improved housing construction quality, reducing the burden of government subsidized housing finance.

Honorable mentions:

Making Housing Affordable for Low Income and Microfinance Sector

  • Pakistan

Building Permit Procedure Resource Book

  • Nepal

Finalists – Program: Civil Society Housing Impact

Priority Zones in Urban Poor Settlements of Phnom Penh

  • Philippines

The Housing & Living Conditions Improvement (HaLI) project seeks to improve the livelihoods of residents of urban-poor settlements in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Supported the Agence francaise de Développement (AFD) and Fondation Abbé Pierre (FAP), the project focuses on housing renovation & Infrastructure upgrading, community mobilization & empowerment, psycho-social support & counseling, economic empowerment, and research-action. It intervenes on different scales through an holistic approach in order to improve the living and housing conditions and advocate towards slum’s upgrading solutions rather than relocations or evictions.

Kampung Susun Akuarium (Vertical Kampung)

  • Indonesia

The program started in 2016, following the eviction of Kampung Akuarium settlement residents. Through advocacy, organizing and other tactics, its residents, together with the Rujak Center for Urban Studies, the Jakarta City Poor People’s Network and the Urban Poor Consortium succeeded in pushing for the redevelopment the settlement. The redevelopment, completed in April 2023, uses co-design principles with designs that suit the needs of residents and adopt the unique economic activities.

Honorable mentions:

Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP): Promotion of environment friendly construction materials and technologies in coastal region of Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh

Building Houses Using Cost Effective Technologies for the Poor

  • India

Finalists – Sheltertech: Private Sector Technology


  • India

Bandhu is an AI-driven tech platform that connects India’s blue-collar workers to jobs and affordable housing. It securitizes workers’ rental housing cash flows to unlock rental deposit loans and home improvement loans for low-income tenants and landlords, ultimately making the rural-to-urban migration process more equitable for 300 million Indians.


  • Singapore

WeavAir provides a novel decision support platform that increases the resilience and affordability of housing, balancing environmental impact, social impact and investment financial return. By combining networks of sensors, satellite imagery and drone data capture systems as well as AI-powered software, the company supports real-time monitoring of the evolution of climate risks and ESG risks, reducing the cost and time required to make accurate housing development and resilience decisions by at least 10-fold. This allows for creating a digital twin of an asset and accurate assessment & prediction of the financial and ESG impact of housing development projects.

Honorable mentions:

What’s new

A special award on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), supported by EU
SWITCH-Asia, will recognize one of the award’s finalists that integrates sustainability considerations in
an exemplary way.

SCP emphasizes the provision of products and services and enabling of lifestyles
that minimize environmental impacts while maximizing social and economic benefits. These include
resource efficiency and building circularity, emissions reduction / energy solutions, and creating
climate resilient, sustainable cities.

Award Categories

All applications must fit the following required category criteria:

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Significance and impact towards affordable housing
    • Does the policy initiative address a critical need in affordable housing?
    • Does it demonstrate potential for significant impact on improving housing conditions for low-income households?
  • Innovative characteristics
    • Does the policy exhibit innovative approaches or strategies in addressing affordable housing challenges?
    • Does it introduce new ideas, methods, or practices that contribute to more effective housing solutions?
  • Alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals
    • Does the policy align with relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to housing, poverty reduction, or sustainable cities and communities?
    • Does it contribute to achieving targets outlined in the SDGs?
  • Scalability and Replicability
    • Does the policy demonstrate potential for scalability, allowing it to be implemented on a larger scale?
    • Can the policy serve as a model or be replicated in other regions or contexts to address similar housing challenges?

Who should apply

• Government agencies at local, regional, and national levels

• Public sector organizations

• Policy makers and policymakers’ associations

• Housing-related research institutions

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Significance and Impact towards affordable housing
    • Does the program address a significant challenge or need in the affordable housing sector?
    • Does it demonstrate measurable impact on improving housing conditions for low-income households?
  • Innovative characteristics
    • Does the program showcase innovative approaches or strategies in tackling affordable housing issues?
    • Does it introduce creative and effective methods that contribute to positive housing outcomes?
  • Alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals
    • Does the program align with relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to housing, poverty alleviation, or sustainable communities?
    • Does it actively contribute to achieving the targets outlined in the SDGs?
  • Scalability and replicability
    • Does the program exhibit potential for scalability, allowing it to be expanded to reach more beneficiaries?
    • Can the program’s model or approach be replicated in other locations or contexts to address similar housing challenges?

Who should apply

• Civil society organizations

• Non-profit organizations

• Community groups and advocacy organizations

• Community leaders and grassroots organizations

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Significance of Challenge
    • Is the challenge that the initiative is tackling critical, well understood and well communicated?
    • Does the initiative address other relevant global and/or regional challenges (for example, climate change, health, etc)?
  • Impact and Systemic Effectiveness
    • Has the initiative achieved, or does it have the potential to achieve relevant results or impacts regarding its objectives and/or goals?
    • Does it stand out for results that improve the well-being of low-income households?
    • Does the initiative seek to address systemic barriers to housing?
  • Innovation and Product
    • Does the initiative offer elements of novelty (despite potentially building off previous work)?
    • Does the initiative bring elements of innovation that makes it stand out among other existing solutions or alternatives?
  • Market Potential
    • Is the solution proposed interesting for customers in the housing sector? Does it have the potential to receive further financing from investors?
    • Is the innovation proposed resilient enough to navigate value chain and market risks?
  • Sustainability and Scalability Potential
    • Does the initiative include elements in its concept and/or management that contribute to creating and maintaining a long-term positive impact over time?
    • Does the initiative have the potential to be transferred and expanded to other geographies or realities, or expanded to multiple offerings with little modification?
  • Team
    • Are the team members equipped with the necessary skills and capabilities to effectively implement the proposed solution?
    • Does the startup’s team have the capacity and resources to scale the technology and expand its impact?

Who should apply

• Sheltertech startups/scaleups

• Housing technology Entrepreneurs

• Corporations (including, but not limited to, builders, developers, real estate companies, financial institutions and banks)

• Public-private partnership initiatives

• Non-profit organizations

• Academia-led innovation and technology labs/entities

Finalists are invited to provide further information to be considered for the Sustainable Consumption and Production Award:

  • Consideration of circularity and (climate change) resilience:
    • Does the project/policy/technology integrate circularity considerations, including sustainable building material and end of life material recovery as well as sustainable energy aspects (such as lighting, heating, cooling) and retrofitting for future requirements?
    • Does the project/policy/technology consider current and projected impacts of climate change?
  • Enabling of sustainable lifestyles:
    • Does the project/policy/technology integrate sustainable lifestyle considerations including awareness of how it relates to key sectors like transport/mobility, agri-food, circular products system?
    • Does the project/policy/technology integrate health and wellbeing considerations, including promotion of communities, public amenities and green spaces?

“What is SCP?”

SCP fosters circularity, resource efficiency, and green innovation, aligning consumption practices with the planet’s carrying capacity. As part of Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG 12), SCP plays a critical role in helping Asian economies decouple economic growth from environmental harm, promoting a more sustainable and inclusive development path. It directly addresses urgent environmental issues, such as climate change and pollution, across Asia.

“Why an SCP Award?”

The creation of a joint Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) award for housing projects by Habitat for Humanity supported by SWITCH-Asia underscores the critical role the housing sector plays for a more sustainable economy and society.

Housing has a significant environmental footprint, consuming vast quantities of resources during construction, operation, and maintenance phases, and producing substantial waste during renovation or demolition. Moreover, homes and buildings account for a significant proportion of global energy use and carbon emissions, making the sector central to addressing climate change.

A shift towards more sustainable housing practices is therefore essential for mitigating environmental impacts and achieving global sustainability targets including SDG 12. Simultaneously, housing plays a crucial role in ensuring social wellbeing.

The quality, location, and affordability of housing are intrinsically linked to a range of social outcomes, including health, education, and income. Sustainable housing, therefore, contributes to social sustainability by promoting equitable access to decent, safe, and affordable housing.

SCP criteria:

  1. Providing an innovative, scalable solution on sustainable housing to significantly impact the housing deficit and improve living conditions for low-income households
  2. Contribute to housing sustainability through innovative technology, policies or practices including resource efficiency and building circularity, emissions reduction / energy solutions, and creating climate resilient, sustainable cities
  3. Integrated into local networks and economies by addressing of local SMEs directly or through associations and financing programmes and / or improving supply chains (up- and downstream: construction, maintenance, waste) through voluntary standards and/or capacity building 

About SWITCH-Asia

SWITCH-Asia is a programme funded by the European Union (EU). Active since 2007, it seeks to promote Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Asia, focusing on enabling frameworks, policies and financing especially for Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and building capacity of SME stakeholders. Its Policy Support Component (PSC) is established to foster cooperation on SCP with regional organisations and governments.

For finalists (2 per category)

  • Finalists will be invited to an expenses-paid trip to Suwon, South Korea, to present their solutions to a live audience and panel of judges at the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum on October 26, 2023.
  • Finalists will receive presentation coaching and have their innovation featured in a finalist video.
  • Finalists will have the opportunity to interact and connect with key housing decision-makers, experts and practitioners at the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum.
  • Finalists will be featured across Asia-Pacific Housing Forum communications channels (social media, newsletters).

For winners (1 per category) – in addition to the benefits above, category winners will:

  • Receive a cash prize of US$ 6,000.
  • Winners will be featured on Habitat for Humanity Asia-Pacific’s website, newsletters and social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • A featured video showcasing the winner’s work (based on images and footage submitted by the winner, mixed with a filmed interview at the awards ceremony) will be featured on the AP Housing Forum’s website and Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific website.

Among the finalists, the most innovative, scalable solution on sustainable housing will be awarded the Sustainable Consumption and Production Award:

  • The winner will receive targeted communication support by EU SWITCH-Asia.
  • The winner will be promoted by EU SWITCH-Asia and Habitat for Humanity in Asia-Pacific across various online communication channels.
  • The winner will also be featured at a high-level EU / networking event in Asia or Europe, where they will be invited as a (in person or virtual) participant or contributor.
  • All the applications must be filled out in English on the Evalato platform and all forms must be completed in full.
  • The previous Innovation Awards winners can apply with their new and different technology, program or policy.
  • The previous Innovation Awards finalists can still apply but should indicate and showcase in their application form how their application (technology/program or policy) has been improved and bettered from their last year application.

Important Dates

Applications are open until August 20, 2023

Finalists to be announced on September 11, 2023

The Innovation Awards will take place on October 26 and 27, 2023

Get a glimpse of previous Award Winners

2021 – Asia-Pacific Housing Forum 8

2019 – Asia-Pacific Housing Forum 7

2017 – Asia-Pacific Housing Forum 6