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Why an Ideas Competition?

The 21 Places competition was an effort by the Vancouver City Planning Commission to increase awareness of the public realm in the City of Vancouver and of its importance to our sense of our place in the world and our quality of life. The competition was designed to involve Vancouverites from all walks of life. Submissions were encouraged – and received – from children, students, and community members as well as professionals in urban planning and architecture.

The aim of the competition was to generate a dialogue among Vancouverites about the best, most creative ways to make Vancouver’s public realm a more appealing and welcoming place to be.

How did it work?

Participants in the 21 Places competition were encouraged to choose a favourite public place or site, and then propose a change or improvement to it. Changes could be abstract or concrete; permanent, temporary, or seasonal. Selected public spaces could be large or small, as could the changes. Ideas for activities or programmes to be offered in a public place were also welcome.

What happens next?

The 21 finalists are on exhibit at the Interurban Gallery (9 East Hastings Street) from 15 to 30 April 2005 and their ideas will be featured in a self-guided walking tour of Vancouver.

What do the selected entrants receive?
The 21 winners will:

  • have the opportunity to present their ideas to local decision-makers (City Council, Parks Board, etc.) who may be able to implement them
  • have their idea included in a brochure with a self-guided walking tour of the 21 winners
  • have their entry on display in the Interurban Gallery in April 2005
  • have their work featured on the Vancouver City Planning Commission Alternative Futures website
  • be recognised in the local media.

*Note: The Vancouver City Planning Commission can make no guarantee that the winning ideas will be implemented.

What were the judges looking for?
Entries were judged based on the IDEA presented, NOT on artistic skills.

The judges looked for evidence of some of the following:

  • imagination
  • ingenuity
  • functionality
  • usefulness
  • attractiveness
  • sustainability
  • accessibility
  • inclusiveness
  • multicultural awareness
  • an environment inviting to a range of age groups
  • opportunities for public events