Category Archives: Urban Planning

Design contest for transportation plan

Vancouver is asking its citizens to vote on over 100 design proposals to replace its Georgia & Dunsmuir Viaducts, and the look of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

The city launched a proposal competition last month to redesign the aging bridges as well as the Eastern Core area. They received 104 submissions, most of which were designed by Metro residents.

You can view the submissions here. Voting ends November 25, 2011.

The winner of each part will be decided on December 1st and while there’s no commitment that the winning idea will result in construction, the City says the purpose of the competition is to encourage and foster the larger dialogue about the future of the city’s transportation plan.

The project in full is being introduced in three parts:

The first part is “Connecting the Core”, which is seeking “big picture” ideas for the future of the city’s Eastern Core.

The second part is “Visualizing the Viaducts” which includes conceptual designs for the land currently occupied by the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts and the neighbourhoods surrounding the transit ways and view corridor of the mountains. Some ideas call for the removal of the rail yards while others call for greenway parks.

The third part is what the City calls “The Wildcard”, which called on applicants to focus on one element that would “revolutionize” the way people see the Eastern Core.

When the original viaduct was built in 1915, it was meant to bypass the industrial lands and creek waters that were later drained to make room for the rail yards. There were structural problems however and in the late 1960s, the viaducts were rebuilt with aspirations for a larger freeway network connecting downtown to the Trans Canada Highway but popular opposition rejected this plan.

The current viaducts were constructed in 1972.

I applaud Vancouver for holding an innovative contest to foster dialogue of local residents of the future of its last remaining central ‘dead zone’ and hope more cities take notice.