David W. Smith Memorial Prize (supported by Routledge publishers)

David W. Smith
David W Smith, who also published under the name of David Drakakis Smith, was an outstanding scholar committed to researching on Third World cities. He died in 1999.
The Development Geographies Research Group (DevGRG) of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) runs an annual essay competition. This competition is in memory of David W. Smith, an outstanding scholar committed to researching cities in the Global South.
This year we are relaunching the prize and invite Lower Sixth/Y12 students from across the UK to submit their entries – thanks to the hard work of Dr Shreyashi Dasgupta. Full details are below:
Theme: This year we are delighted to launch a digital mapping competition with the theme: The Coloniality of Cities and the Built Environment. This competition aims to map place-based stories from cities of the Global South to understand how colonial rule continues to shape cities.

Using screenshots of google maps/street view/open street view/photographs, we encourage all students to submit 3 images exploring one or more topics–i) streets, ii) infrastructure (railways, ports) or iii) monuments named after colonial rulers, space traders, or those who ‘built/discovered places’. The city can be a former British colony located in the Global South.

Each image should tell their story clearly supplemented with title and description, no longer than 300 words. We are particularly interested in descriptions addressing colonial history of the city, what led to independence, who led the resistance, trivia, etymology, brief history of the statue, buildings and street names. We’d like you to question how colonial street names, monuments, or infrastructure relate to and/or contradict the contemporary status and politics of the city. What can the story of these places tell you about the city?


All entries must be in PDF/JPEG/.jpg or word doc format (not more than 3MB) and appropriately cited. Kindly include your name, school, and contact details.

Please submit your entries (and any questions) to Shreyashi Dasgupta of the DevGRG schools prize committee at developmentgeographies.rgs@gmail.com by 1st May 2021 at 23:59 GMT. Entries received after this time will not be accepted. Due to the volume of entries we receive, we will only contact you if you are selected as one of our winners.


The judging panel will comprise of committee members of DevGRG. The panel shall access and determine the winning entry based on theme, imagination and originality, quality of the photograph, and the development of idea through the description of the photos.


The winner receives an RGS certificate and a voucher of £100 from Routledge Publishers. All the entries will be compiled into an image based resource for archives and research and will be published on the DevGRG website and social media platforms.


Past winners:

2006 Winner: Kimberley Lye from Haberdashers Askes School for Girls, Hertfordshire

2007 Winner: Samantha Kelley from Coombe Sixth Form, New Malden

2009 Winner: Sophie Davies, King’s School, Peterborough

2014 Winner: William Nicolle, Exeter School

2015 Winner: Jack Rogers, Eton School

2017 Winner: Anna McIntyre, Cheltenham College

2018 Winner: Antonia Hagen, St. Mary’s School, Ascot.

2019 Winner: Lara Archer, St Mary’s School, Ascot