A new vision for a pocket of Surrey’s Fleetwood neighbourhood is among winners in a design contest created as a “rare opportunity for the public to help solve urban planning issues.”
One husband-wife team’s “Simple Small Things First” entry in Urbanarium’s The Mixing Middle competition earned third place with a new type of zoning category called a “Neighbourhood Zone,” envisioned by Taylor Castañón-Rumebe, an interior designer, and Vince Castañón-Rumebe, an architect.
The Burnaby couple won $3,000 with a project that “provides families with the flexibility to evolve, diversify and strengthen their community over time through an incrementally phased process. By incentivizing the simple, small thing first, it can capture the imagination of the community to make growth possible.”
Competition winners were announced Thursday, Feb. 10, in a virtual ceremony. Forty-four proposals were submitted from across Canada and beyond, including Iran, India and the U.S.
The design competition called for innovative mixed-use designs intended to revitalize residential areas in four Metro Vancouver communities, including a square area of Fleetwood bounded by 80 Avenue, 82 Avenue, 156 Street and 158 Street, just north of Fleetwood Park Secondary. The other areas were in Coquitlam, North Vancouver and Vancouver.
Fleetwood area of #SurreyBC re-imagined as ‘Neighbourhood Zone’ in urban planning competition hosted by @urbanarium.
Video shows vision of Burnaby husband-wife team that won third place.
STORY: https://t.co/i8JWtwdWTI@CityofSurrey @SurreyNowLeader pic.twitter.com/8c7KTMCuBz
— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) February 14, 2022
As outlined in a video, the Castañón-Rumebe submission focuses on a young couple, Jasmeen and Jai Patel, who operated a restaurant in Vancouver prior to the pandemic. They continued to make catered food from their home in Fleetwood, and opted to convert their property from Single Family to Neighbourhood zoning, allowing them to legally operate a restaurant business in their home, “to serve and cater to their neighbours, family and friends.”
Conventional development, the design team argues, “predicts community needs, often leaving little room for the adaptability required for bottom-up change. This project proposes a new Neighbourhood Zone ‘NZ’ zone which removes the focus from specific building use to mixed-use and introduces new typologies. Rezoning from Single Family Residential zone to NZ would be expedited for properties meeting a specific criterion.”
A question at the core of the “ideas” competition: “At a time when more people than ever are working close to home, how can we make our neighbourhoods more livable?” All of the Mixing Middle sites are in single-family, residential-use zones.
The contest’s first-place, $10,000 prize winner was “Lots in Common,” a re-imagining of a North Vancouver site by Team Contingent (Nicole Sylvia, Roy Cloutier and Lőrinc Vass, of Vancouver).
Among Honourable Mentions was a Surrey-site proposal by Parley Collective (Haley Zhou, Felix Cheong, Rachel Cohen-Murison and Eveline Lam, of Toronto).
The winning proposals can be viewed online at themixingmiddle.ca.
Urbanarium (aka Vancouver Urbanarium Society) was first founded in 1985 by a group of “committed urbanites passionate about city making.” The volunteer-run organization’s mandate is “informing and engaging the residents of Metro Vancouver to help guide community decision making.”
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