WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture began as an open design competition seeking innovative, implementable proposals that place infrastructure at the heart of rebuilding our cities during this next era of metropolitan recovery. The competition, organized by UCLA's cityLAB, was inspired by the Depression-era Works Projects Administration and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Given the $150 billion dedicated to infrastructure–the largest investment in public works in the United States since the 1950s–designers were asked to envision a new legacy of publicly-supported infrastructure, projects that explore the value of infrastructure not only as an engineering endeavor but as a robust design opportunity to strengthen communities and revitalize cities. Nearly two hundred teams from 13 countries and 25 US states entered the professional competition. The six final proposals represent some of today's most progressive plans for transforming existing urban infrastructure with an emphasis on better public spaces, more conscientious energy and water use, and turning detriments into resources.

WPA 2.0 (Student Edition) attracted nearly 150 entering teams from schools as far away as Mumbai, Sydney, and Beijing. Ten student projects were selected as finalists and one winner will be chosen by the jury while in DC. Their boards, along with those and the video animations from the professional finalists, are presented here at the National Building Museum in the building's East Court. The symposium was the second of the three-part WPA 2.0 sequence and it marked the first national discussion about the role of design in restoring the nation's infrastructure. In early 2010, cityLAB will launch the WPA 2.0 web exhibition. This third phase will provide global access to the range of new ideas and resources gathered throughout the competition, workshop, and symposium.