As far as urban planning goes, few things are more exciting than a good design challenge. Take a derelict or declining space, ask some of the world’s most talented designers, landscapers, and planners to re-imagine it, and sit back and watch the submissions roll in. Of course, I’m sure it’s not as fun for those who have to go through each and every submission, but once a shortlist is named and the renderings and mock-ups begin rolling in, the real fun begins.
Last year saw design competitions announced for Nathan Phillips Square and the Central Waterfront, but the first big one of 2007 is upon us. Although it was actually announced towards the end of 2006, the competition-happy Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation issued a challenge to redesign the Lower Donlands Area. Not since the Twelve Labours of Hercules has a challenge so great been issued. To get a sense of the task assigned to the competitors, have a look at some of the competition goals:
– Naturalize the Mouth of the Don River
– Create a Continuous Riverfront Park System
– Provide for Harmonious New Development
– Connect Waterfront Neighbourhoods
– Prioritize Public Transit
– Develop a Gateway Into the Portlands
– Humanize Existing Infrastructure
– Enhance the Martin Goodman Trail
– Expand Opportunities for Interaction with the Water
– Promote Sustainable Development
It seems only the killing of the Lernaean Hydra is missing. The shortlist of candidates will be announced on January 26, 2007, and the always-entertaining public exhibition will begin April 17th.