Competitions And Knowing Your Developer

The High Line is probably one of the best known urban reclamation projects in the world and it does have the advantage of cool art/concert projects produced in it’s behalf. It even has a portrait project and, shudder, a Facebook group. It is also a good model for seeing how large scale urban planning projects may be done.

It was one thing to assimilate the old elevated rail line into the Manhattan fabric but one huge question was what would happen to the Rail Yards, a large quasi abandoned space in lower Manhatten where the High Line trains turned around?

Development of the yards was an open competition and 5, count ‘em, 5 projects were selected to compete. And the High Line blog made sure people got an in depth look at what each company offered and what they were all about. Wouldn’t that just seem sooo luxurious in Montreal?

In fact Friends of The High Line ran a design competition in 2003 to publicize their cause and received 720 entries from 36 countries. Publicity can, indeed, be a good thing.

Of course none of this is perfect and developers have met the challenge of public process by submitting outrageous renderings designed to seduce all naysayers (Can you say Devimco?). This New York Times article takes a look at this trend.

There has been some cool art projects for school kids to get involved with such as “Chalk Shoes To The High Line”.

So it s not a perfect process and not everyone will be ecstatic but here in Montreal we are truly bush league (remember the Expos?) as our small town officials make back room agreements and then tell the public what’s good for them after all the principles have agreed.

Sad.

The High Line/ Rail Yards blog.

And in Arizona they hold design competitions for suburban strip malls.

About these ads

2 responses to “Competitions And Knowing Your Developer

  1. “So it s not a perfect process and not everyone will be ecstatic but here in Montreal we are truly bush league (remember the Expos?) as our small town officials make back room agreements and then tell the public what’s good for them after all the principles have agreed.”

    You hit it right on the head – the corruption, call it “patronage” if you will, drives the problems of the planet. In a fair system those who have the best ideas would rise to the fore. Unfortunately only organizing in huge numbers, short of running for office, with the ability to quote precedence after precedence will give weight to the voice of sustainable reason. And the ability to wield consequences is also a required component of any effective movement.

    We will note, by the way, that the developers and construction companies have been very shrewd in placing their members in elected office, my own town-councilor being an example.

    David Applebaum pointed out, last Thursday night in NDG, that the Falaise (for instance) is laid claim to by numerous interests. Oh the snares, snags and tricks this will bring forth.

    It seems very hard to think that Griffintown will be no more – home of my ancestors wiped-out for “The Corporation.” [sigh]

    The beat goes on …

  2. Nice to know what those interest are. It gets a little depressing when you realize how fixed it all really can be. That’ s why they say you can’t fight City Hall…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s