Jun 2012 7

Re:Think Housing 2012

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House by Kevin Wells House by Kevin Wells

The City of Vancouver came up with a spectacular “idea-hunting” project, a competition called re:THINK Housing. This global competition is intended to initiate a discussion about the affordable housing crisis in Vancouver. The city currently faces several housing challenges; homelessness, a lack of new rental homes, and financial pressure are among the most serious. Not surprisingly, the housing issue is one of the top concerns among Vancouver residents.

“Affordable housing is one of the toughest challenges we face in Vancouver, and we need fresh, bold thinking in terms of how we build affordable options for the people who live and work in our city,” explained Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The Competition

“This competition is an important step to getting dynamic, maybe even controversial ideas into the public realm and hearing directly from our citizens.” As part of the competition, community storytelling nights on the theme “There’s No Place Like Home” were already held in three Vancouver neighbourhoods.

The competitions is for all those who are interested in this topic, including professionals such as architects, designers, planners, philanthropists, non-profit organizations, and financial institutions, as well as general public. If you have an idea about how to make the housing situation in Vancouver better, you can submit a proposal in one of two competition categories: Building Bold or Vibrant Neighbourhoods.

Building Bold

Vancouver Neighbourhood by Chuck Chuck Chuck
Vancouver Neighbourhood
by Chuck Chuck Chuck

This category aims to bring innovative ideas for large-scope projects. Some of the main areas of interest in this category include questions such as: “What else can be done to meet the housing needs of Vancouver residents?” “How can the city use its transit lines, land, and properties owned by a public body while creating opportunities for better living?” and “How can we involve third parties in the project?” Winning projects will be announced in two streams within this category: Building Bold: Public Land and Building Bold: Private Land (mixed submissions should be proposed within the public stream).

Vibrant neighbourhoods

Ideas in this category should describe innovative concepts that create affordable housing options at a neighbourhood level. These ideas are expected to reflect more on choice, connection, and communities. Are our housing choices made today at least similar to those we will need to make in the future? How does our housing change in relation to modern lifestyle and city growth? How can we build affordable housing in our neighbourhoods and sustain it? Are there any inspirational, new forms of housing that work elsewhere but haven’t been tried in the city?

Projects submitted to Re:THINK Housing are expected to elicit ideas considering affordability, long-term stability without government subsidy, social and environmental benefits, and its financial aspect. Submissions close on June 29th and they must be proposed electronically.

The Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing will be responsible for selecting winning submissions, while the public will be able to vote online in early July. Winners selected by the jury will be announced in late July and a total of $8,000 distributed to them. The best ideas will be published in Spacing Magazine.

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