Kingston University landscape architecture student Regine Elmenthaler was announced overall winner in the annual contest that champions ideas for creating better places for people.
Her vision for the Royal Docks in east London, called Revive the Docks, aims to bring the community together, attract wildlife and add character and fun to the area.
Elmenthaler said she was inspired by the run-down industrial docklands to revamp the area: "I was on the Docklands Light Railway to visit Thames Barrier Park when I became interested in the landscape surrounding Pontoon Dock Station.
"The lack of infrastructure and the derelict industrial docklands made me curious."
Part of Elmenthaler's prize is a four-week work placement with regeneration organisation Thames Gateway, where she will be encouraged to share ideas.
"Public open spaces that create a strong sense of place are my main interest," Elmenthaler added.
"The introduction of alternative ways of living would enhance the docklands with a quirky charm that is currently lacking and create a unique environment for the community and visitors."
Thames Gateway director general Joe Montgomery said: "We're looking forward to the contribution she'll make to the area during her placement and are keen to look at aspects of her entry that can be applied to help make the best use of our natural environment."
Elmenthaler was one of five winners announced at an awards ceremony on 5 June, organised in conjunction with the Academy for Sustainable Communities.
Other winners in the categories of Future Space, Future People, Future Building and Future Streets are: University of Gloucestershire's Giles Hopgood for his design of Kings Square in Gloucester; University of Greenwich's Francisco Rodriguez for transforming university green spaces into fruit and veg plots; University of Central Lancashire's Steven Ferguson for his expandable apartment; and Coventry University's Katerina Frankova for a street furniture project.