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What's the big idea? City has 21 of them
A contest organized by the planning commission got a variety of schemes to spruce up city

Amy O'Brian
Vancouver Sun

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

VANCOUVER - Imagine Vancouver's alleys transformed into open-air markets, jazz venues, playgrounds, or gardens.

Envision a sculpture garden under the Burrard bridge where the sculptures double as percussion instruments and making noise is encouraged.

Or perhaps you'd be more interested in a food market under the north end of the Cambie bridge where southeast Asian cuisine would be sold from open-air stalls.

These are just three of 21 ideas to enhance Vancouver's public spaces, imagined by architects, students and designers for a city-sponsored contest called 21 Places for the 21st Century.

The contest was the brainchild of the Vancouver City Planning Commission, which wanted to get the public more aware and involved in the "public realm."

What the commission got were 65 ideas that ranged from the outlandish and bizarre to the practical and subtle.

A judging panel chose 21 of the ideas, all of which are displayed at the Interurban Gallery in the Downtown Eastside until April 30.

"It was mainly trying to get people thinking about what it is that makes the public realm attractive and how we could enhance that and how we could get the public involved," said Bonnie Fenton, the project's coordinator.

Fenton described the public realm as "all the places in the city where people go ... even those in- between spaces."

With only a few guidelines, the contest attracted a far-reaching range of ideas from a broad group of people.

Ten-year-old student Shubby Martz-Oberlander submitted a hand-drawn poster-board map of an imagined park at West 12th and Larch that would cater to the young and old. There would be a three-pronged slide, a gazebo, and a merry-go-round, among other things.

University of B.C. graduates Monty Walden and Betty Chong submitted a bizarre idea that involves hanging old logs from the ceiling of the tunnel that wraps around B.C. Place Stadium. The project is envisioned as a "suspended river of logs" above the city's traffic.

An idea deemed "zany" by one of the judges envisions old cars with their roofs cut off and transformed into gardens that "blossom and grow in parking spots on the streets of Vancouver." The idea came from the Vancouver Design Nerds -- a group of artists and designers who focus on community enhancement and sustainability projects.

One other idea, from Strathcona artist Glen Anderson, suggested putting up poles on which carved or cast likenesses of the heads of people in the neighbourhood would be on display.

Fenton said there is no guarantee any of the ideas will become reality, but all of the 21 finalists will have the opportunity to meet with the appropriate city department to present and discuss their ideas.

"We hope [city staff] will take the ideas and do something with them," Fenton said.

The judges included Coun. Jim Green, architect Henry Hawthorn, artist Landon Mackenzie and Vancouver park board commissioner Anita Romaniuk.

The project cost the city between $15,000 and $20,000, Fenton said.

21 PLACES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY: FINALISTS:

1 -- Build a sculptural "sound" garden at the south end of the Burrard Bridge that would incorporate sculptures as percussion instruments. Entered by a creator of "acoustical furniture," a therapist, a site planner, and a landscape architecture firm.

2 -- Enhance a waterfall area at Charleson Park in South False Creek by adding a theatre platform and repairing the drainage problem. Entered by a class of Grade 7 students at False Creek Elementary school.

3 -- Create a "multi-use" recreational and educational space that celebrates sustainability, health and fun in Southeast False Creek. Entered by the Fireweed Collective.

4 -- Inject art into Vancouver's transportation system by painting on streets and in SkyTrain stations. Entered by a student of community and economic development at Simon Fraser University.

5 -- Raise awareness about the importance of water at the Main Street SkyTrain station by installing a rainwater meter and other educational materials. Entered by a 26-year-old geography student at SFU.

6 -- Create a project called "Heritage Underfoot" that would remind pedestrians of the historic character of the city's oldest commercial streets. Entered by a planning consultant.

7 -- Transform Vancouver's alleys into welcoming spaces such as markets, playgrounds, and skateparks. Entered by a group of undergraduate students at Simon Fraser University.

8 -- Install "video walls" on the sides of the Sears building in downtown Vancouver. Entered by a landscape architecture intern.

9 -- Enhance neighbourhoods by throwing block parties and creating attractions people will want to stop and look at. Entered by four graduates of the University of B.C.

10 -- Transform four blocks of West 45th Avenue to make the street environmentally friendly; Entered by an extended family living on West 45th Avenue.

11 -- Build a "sustainable bridge" between Strathcona Park and Commercial Drive that would reclaim street space for pedestrians, bikes and vegetation. Entered by five residents of the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood.

12 -- Create a "hawker style" market under the north end of the Cambie Street bridge that would feature cuisine inspired by the food of Southeast Asia. Entered by a False Creek resident who has a degree in urban and regional planning.

13 -- Create a "park for everyone" at 12th Avenue and Larch Street. Entered by a 10-year-old resident of the west side.

14 -- Create a collection of functional birdhouses that depict architectural details of past and present Vancouver buildings. Entered by a group of residents in the Killarney neighbourhood.

15 -- Build a "culture ark" that would take the shape of a "necklace" of barges floating off the edge of Vancouver's waterfront. Entered by an architectural firm.

16 -- Create a "suspended river of logs" that would hang from the ceiling of the tunnel that winds around B.C. Place Stadium. Entered by two UBC graduates who just returned to Vancouver from Toronto.

17 -- Build moveable gardens out of old cars planted with flowers. Entered by a group of artists and design professionals called the Vancouver Design Nerds.

18 -- Recognize and transform the "wasteful, residual spaces scattered throughout the city." Entered by an art student and an instructor in environmental design.

19 -- Build a series of pedestals at Gore and Union streets that would display carved or cast sculptures of the heads of people in the neighbourhood. Entered by an artist living in Strathcona.

20 -- Gradually transform an underground storm sewer that runs along St. George Street into a creek. Entered by a recent graduate of UBC's architecture school.

21 -- Transform the "forgotten places" beneath the south end of the Burrard Bridge into a park with BMX courses, basketball courts and a skate park. Entered by a Kitsilano resident.

Source: Amy O'Brian

Ran with fact box "21 Places for the 21st Century:
 

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wow, and [email protected] - i wish i knew about this contest as i would have loved to enter a entry!

and it's amazing that a Grade 7 student at False Creek Elementary beated university students and even architects.
 

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I think those are some really great ideas. Vancouver has been planned to death. In an effort to make the city functionable, they similataneously sucked the life right out of it. Street parades, local festivals, market stalls, jazz outside....these are the things that bring a city to life. Its a good step, I hope they tell the nimbys where to go and do it.
 

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8 -- Install "video walls" on the sides of the Sears building in downtown Vancouver. Entered by a landscape architecture intern.

I thought of that idea years ago after living in Tokyo. Of course Vancouver isn't Tokyo but the sides of the Sears building is hideous, plain and in serious need of something and always has been. Video screens would further enhance the planned entertainment theme of Granville plus adding to the screens at Future Shop would create one cool modern street.

The other idea I liked from that list is a - "hawker style" market under the north end of the Cambie Street bridge that would feature cuisine inspired by the food of Southeast Asia. Any sort of market selling things would be cool. You see them in many cities in Europe and Asia.
 

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I entered this (didnt win though:( )Some of them were absolutely incredible ideas, though i feel some of them were a bit ridiculous.


3 -- Create a "multi-use" recreational and educational space that celebrates sustainability, health and fun in Southeast False Creek. Entered by the Fireweed Collective.

Um, ever heard of the south east false creek development?!? they are already doing this you know? Olympic village ring any bells?

4 -- Inject art into Vancouver's transportation system by painting on streets and in SkyTrain stations. Entered by a student of community and economic development at Simon Fraser University.

A bunch of stations already have art. A sensible idea, but not particularly original

7 -- Transform Vancouver's alleys into welcoming spaces such as markets, playgrounds, and skateparks. Entered by a group of undergraduate students at Simon Fraser University.

been proposed already

8 -- Install "video walls" on the sides of the Sears building in downtown Vancouver. Entered by a landscape architecture intern.

already proposed ones at future shop accross the street

9 -- Enhance neighbourhoods by throwing block parties and creating attractions people will want to stop and look at. Entered by four graduates of the University of B.C.

um, its not the city's responsability to throw block parties!!


17 -- Build moveable gardens out of old cars planted with flowers. Entered by a group of artists and design professionals called the Vancouver Design Nerds.

really cool idea, quite oringinal, thouogh it would take up parking spaces

18 -- Recognize and transform the "wasteful, residual spaces scattered throughout the city." Entered by an art student and an instructor in environmental design.

thats what this whole contest is about!! thats like an architect entering a competition to design a museum and saying "my idea is to build a museum"



anyways, i thought the rest of them were very well done, congrats to the winners
 

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16 -- Create a "suspended river of logs" that would hang from the ceiling of the tunnel that winds around B.C. Place Stadium. Entered by two UBC graduates who just returned to Vancouver from Toronto.


=/
i'm not understanding this one for some strange reason...are there tunnels that are around bc place? i really don't know... i'm just...confused....someone please explain..
 

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They have my support for the BC Place log river idea and the video screens at the white bland Sears wall.
 

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something definately needs to happen under the north end of burrard street bridge - it feels oddly dead and wasted

what they did under the north end of cambie street bridge was a great use of space as well as the skatepark under the georgia viaduct
 
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