Modular shoes, banana-stem food packaging, and a compact mountain shelter are among the concepts and objects that came out on top in the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s (C2CPII’s) third Product Design Challenge. More than 130 design professionals and students from 19 countries contributed a total of 79 entries responding to the challenge of creating product solutions for a circular economy. In partnership with Autodesk and the Alcoa Foundation, this is the third of six such global competitions from C2CPII to be held from 2015 to 2017. A panel of designers, investors, and sustainability professionals judged the designs and chose a winner for each of the four submission categories. Awarded $2,000 each, the winners are: MODS, a modular shoe from Virginia Tech student Quang Pham (best student project); Banana Stem Fiber Package, an alternative to plastic and paper food packaging made of banana stem fiber by Columbian designers Brayan Stiven Pabón Gómez and Rafael Ricardo Moreno Boada (best professional project); OLI, a food-to-waste disposal bin from Virginia Tech student Claire Davis (best use of Autdoesk Fusion 360 software); and Huba (shown in the video above), a compact, off-grid shelter by Seattle-based industrial designers Malgorzata Blachnicka and Michal Holcer (best use of aluminum). [C2CPII]

ICYMI: The long history of wood and craftsmanship in Japanese design. [ARCHITECT]

Researchers are turning to amorphous metals—which exceed the strength and conductivity of typical metal alloys—among the next generation of 3D-printing materials. []

Is the key to workplace productivity peace and quiet? A recent study from Oxford Economics found that time for uninterrupted work topped amenities of every variety—even free snacks—among office workers, and Millennials in particular. [CityLab]

The ongoing push to fix cities whose crumbling pedestrian infrastructure fails to meet ADA accessibility standards. [NextCity]

Architectural acousticians at Arup are vying to reduce the din and racket of the typical New York City subway station in an ongoing project for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to redesign 8.5 miles of track servicing the city's Upper East Side neighborhood. Among the improvements: “low-vibration” tracks free of joints and sound-absorbent finishes. [Wired]

Meet nonprofit Echoing Green’s 2016 class of social enterprise leaders, including 2013 Harvard University Graduate School of Design Loeb Fellow Deanna Van Buren who co-leads Designing Justice+Designing Spaces, an organization that explores new opportunities for equity in architecture and real estate. [LOEBlog]

It’s well known that architecture schools could do better to imbue students with business skills. But should business schools be imparting a deeper, more nuanced understanding of design on their graduates? [Fast Company’s Co.Design]