The envelope please: Viaducts “people’s choice” voters and “ideas” judges disagree, almost to the end

The “ideas” contest to brainstorm new options for Vancouver’s viaducts and the East False Creek flats was the most successful in the city’s history: more than 100 entries, 4,000 voters in the “people’s choice” online voting, 15,000 ballots cast, hundreds of online comments from the public.

But when the panel of eminent judges released its decisions last night to a packed auditorium at SFU Woodwards, there was only one point of agreement. This proposal received both an honorable mention and a win in the “people’s choice” category.

When the proponents’ names were unveiled — neither judges nor online voters knew who developed the proposals — the team included a remarkable group including Norm Hotson, Larry Beasley, Jim Green, Margot Long and many more.

Here’s the city’s summary of the entire contest:

December 2, 2011
Viaducts competition winners announced
Vancouver’s viaducts were the centre of attention last night as 15 concepts, ranging from the practical to the highly imaginative, were recognized at the finale to the re:CONNECT ideas competition. Designs were as diverse as creating wide boulevards, monuments and museums to building recreational canals and adding new parks.
More than 100 entries were received in the competition offering creative possibilities for the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts and the Eastern Core, an area that stretches from Northeast False Creek to Clark Drive
A design jury, made up of renowned international and local urban experts, selected winners in three categories for the two competition entry streams – free and fee: Connecting the Core, Visualizing the Viaducts, and Wild Card.
The free stream (no cash prize) was a low- barrier stream directed toward people from any background who could enter without a fee. The fee stream, which required an entry fee and awarded cash prizes, was directed more at design professionals such as architects, engineers, as well as urban planners and their skill sets.
The jury was made up of five industry professionals: Allan Jacobs, globally-renowned urbanist and planning consultant (Berkeley, California); Rob Bennett, Executive Director, Portland Sustainability Initiative (Portland, Oregon); Joe Hruda, Member of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (MAIBC), architect and founding partner at CIVITAS (Vancouver, BC); Tom Hutton, professor at the Centre for Human Settlements and School of Community and Regional Planning, UBC (Vancouver, B.C.); and Patricia Patkau, MAIBC, architect and founding partner of Patkau Architects (Vancouver, B.C.).
The People’s Choice award winners were also announced last night, chosen by the public who were invited to pick their favourites in each category by voting online. The competition attracted entries from across Canada and 13 other countries. More than 15,000 votes were received online, along with over 1,500 comments.
For details on the winning entries, visit vancouver.ca/reconnect
While no decisions on the viaducts are being made through re:CONNECT, the ideas the competition generated are intended to spark dialogue and help inform and inspire planning for this part of Vancouver.
The viaducts options will feed into the public consultation for the Transportation Plan update in spring 2012. Planning work to develop policy directions for the Eastern Core will continue in the New Year, with a report to Council anticipated in summer 2012.