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New West announces winning designs from reGENERATE ideas challenge

Check out the winning designs in the 22nd Street station visioning process this Thursday at New Westminster City Hall.

And the winners are …

The City of New Westminster has announced the winners of the reGENERATE ideas challenge for the 22nd Street SkyTrain station neighbourhood. The ideas challenge sought innovative, climate-friendly urban design ideas that inform the creation of a vision for the neighbourhood’s development.

The city received more than 80 submissions from a participants, including youth and professionals. It garnered local and international submissions.

“We commend all participants for their outstanding contributions and commitment to enhancing the livability and vibrancy of our city,” Mayor Patrick Johnstone said in a news release. “Together, we are shaping a brighter future for New Westminster.”  

A jury panel, comprised of an architect, climate and community planners, and community representatives, selected four winning ideas (from three categories), as well as two honourable mentions. Members of the public also voted for their favourite design.

“These winning entries embody the creativity, passion, and enthusiasm of proud community members and environmentally-conscious professionals towards shaping an inclusive and climate-friendly future,” said the city’s news release.

Community members are invited to attend a drop-in at New Westminster City Hall on Thursday, March 7 between 6 and 8 p.m. to view a display of preliminary concepts and to provide comments or ask questions.

Who won?

In the Top Comprehensive Idea category, the jury was looking for a submission that considered the entire neighbourhood. Here’s what the city has to say about the two entries selected as winners (it was a tie) in this category: 

  • The Same Station in an Urban City by JIM Architecture stood out for its in-depth proposals for land use and landscape design, the transportation network, and the pedestrian experience. 
  • 22nd Street Courtyard Community by Peter Williams was noted for its focus on social connection through semi-public and public spaces.

The Top Local Community Idea winner was A Vision for the Future by Monkey Rebel, a group of New West youths.

“This thoughtful submission stood out for its variety of impactful and feasible suggestions to incrementally transform the neighbourhood into a climate-friendly and community-oriented one,” said the city’s news release.

Christian Zollner’s submission, Destination Connaught Heights, was selected as the winner in the Top Youth Idea category. The city states that Destination Connaught Heights took a comprehensive planning approach in proposing form-based zoning, complete streets designs, and options for improved traffic circulation, one of the key concerns identified by community members during engagement.

The jury awarded Honourable Mentions to two designs: 

  • Sensory Park, by Carter Canton, proposed a park with five sensory experiential components.
  • We are the Memory We Inhabit, by Fiorella Pinillos, Natalia Botero, and Johanna Pabon, proposed centering memory into every aspect of the neighbourhood, a concept rooted in Indigenous tradition.

After a two-week voting period in February, where community members were given 20 shortlisted submissions from which to select their favourite design, We are the Memory We Inhabit was also voted the winner of the Community’s Choice Award.

 “We are energized by the range of ideas brought forward in the ideas challenge submissions, to help us think boldly on climate and social connectedness, and we look forward to exploring how some of these concepts could land in the 22nd Street station neighbourhood context,” said Jackie Teed, the city’s director of climate action, planning and development.

The next step in this 22nd Street visioning process is workshopping the winning ideas, standout elements from the other submissions, and the feedback provided by the community during engagement sessions, into an emerging vision for a climate-friendly neighbourhood.

According to the city, submissions in the ideas challenge explored opportunities to:

  • Create and expand spaces for public gathering, including green space with ecological and climate adaptation functions, as well as indoor gathering spaces where neighbours could connect, support each other’s well-being, and advance climate action
  • Promote local renewable energy generation, such as through wind, solar, or even capturing kinetic energy along pathways
  • Redevelop the station and its immediate surroundings into a mixed-use hub that could serve daily needs of residents
  • Support a range of housing typologies, from high rise, to mixed-use low rise, courtyard orientations, townhouses, and multiplexes
  • Support sustainable transportation modes by expanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure, or closing select roads to cars

Following this week’s open house, the draft vision will continue to be developed through 2024; the city states there will be more opportunities for the public to provide input before the vision is finalized.

Details about the winning designs and the 22nd Street SkyTrain station neighbourhood vision are available on the city’s website.

Bold vision

Here’s a look at some of the key dates related to the city’s plans to redevelop the neighbourhood around the 22nd Street SkyTrain station:

  • In 2017, the City of New Westminster’s update to the official community plan identified the area around the 22nd Street SkyTrain station as a place that could accommodate higher density.
  • In March 2019, New Westminster city council approved a climate emergency declaration. It also committed to taking bold action to achieve the greenhouse gas reductions required to keep global temperature increases below 1.5°C. 
  • In November 2019, council approved Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action. This relates to a carbon-a free corporation, a car-light community, carbon-free homes and buildings, pollution-free vehicles, carbon-free energy, a robust urban forest and a people-centred public realm.
  • In February 2020, council endorsed a plan to create a bold vision for a climate-friendly, transit-oriented development for the neighbourhood around the 22nd Street SkyTrain station. The goal was to respond to the climate emergency and the Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action, and also incorporate other council priorities such as affordable housing, equity, and inclusion.
  • In 2020, planning work related to this neighbourhood was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages/pandemic workload impacts.
  • In June 2023, city council approved a recommendation directing staff to relaunch the 22nd Street station area bold vision process, with a dual focus on First Nations collaboration and building climate resilience.