Email from urban design consultant Trevor Boddy
—– Original Message —–
From: Trevor BODDY
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 10:48 AM
Subject: RE: Greetings from Nanaimo
Good to hear you are keeping up the fight, and I am disappointed to hear that your political and planning culture have not risen to the potential that Nanaimo possesses.
I do, however, have a positive suggestion for you. Please go to www.townshift.ca to see documentation and the winners for the “TownShift: Suburb Into City” international ideas design competition that I helped put together for the City of Surrey this year. The main intention of the competition was to raise the level of public debate and commentary on urban design issues, and it has succeeded beyond our highest hopes.
First, in the design briefs we wrote for five of Surrey’s under-achieving “town centres,” then in having a competition open to anyone, we were able to advance ideas and planning principles that would never have gained traction via traditional routes—private sector development applications, or citizen group blue sky propositions. Take a look at our design criteria, site selection and resulting competition entries for Guildford, which has much relevance to your current issue, being the urbanization of an empty parking lot, and the grand winner of the entire competition was for this site, by a very talented Phillipine-Canadian architect none of us had hear of before.
“I am sure [Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts] would say good things about this route to anyone in Nanaimo’s council or civic administration who asks—it has become central to her impressive re-branding of her city, something Nanaimo needs just as urgently”
TownShift was sparked by Mayor Dianne Watts, and I am sure she would say good things about this route to anyone in Nanaimo’s council or civic administration who asks—it has become central to her impressive re-branding of her city, something Nanaimo needs just as urgently. She also thinks it was a bargain, generating ideas, and more importantly, images for five key sites at a cost less than the typical word-based public consultation process. We devised the website to have rich documentation and to make it ultra-accessible to non-professionals—we even included a Sketch-up 3D model of each site (Sketch-up is an ultra-easy program available for free from Google that even former Edmonton subdivision planners can master in minutes!)
Chat things up a bit, and see if City Hall or another group or institution could bring me over to make an evening public (or afternoon session with council, or both) presentation about TownShift, and how competitions and their resulting public discussions are good for everyone. There is good will and interest in another ideas competition amongst our currently under-utilized design community. There is, however, likely only space for one more ideas competition this year, and you should know that I am presenting our results at CSLA and AIBC, and will be attending PIBC, so getting buy-in/funding from city hall early is important.
I hope this gets the juices flowing!
Trevor Boddy B.A., M.Arch.
Consulting Urban Designer