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AZ Awards 2021 • Urban Design Visions
The finalists
Urban Design Visions
Are
Finalist
Project
Spoorzone Dordrecht
Location
Dordrecht, the Netherlands
Firm
Mecanoo, the Netherlands
Summary
Dordrecht, a city in the Dutch province of South Holland, is aiming to be energy-neutral by 2050, yet the region continues to grow. For the Spoorzone — a planned community of 6,000 dwellings — Delft-based firm Mecanoo envisioned a high-density, low-impact community with elegant multi-family residences made predominantly of wood, the most sustainable material going. Thanks to solar panels, heat pumps and thermal-energy storage, the homes will generate more renewable electricity than they consume, making the Spoorzone not just a population centre, but a power centre too.
Finalist
Project
Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Plan
Location
Los Angeles County, U.S.
Firm
Studio-MLA, U.S.
Summary
The tributaries of the Upper Los Angeles River have been marred by a racist history of neglect. Today, the hostile concrete landscape offers little in the way of community space, flood protection or nature. Intending to restore all three, the Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries (ULART) Plan is led by Los Angeles Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, Sarah Rascon of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA, led by Mía Lehrer.
Finalist
Project
The Orbit
Location
Innisfil, Canada
Firm
Partisans, Canada
Summary
The Orbit, a planned community in the Canadian town of Innisfil, will feature retail and hospitality hubs, residential high-rises and green spaces, all surrounding a central station with rail links to nearby Toronto. The brainchild of Partisans, the Orbit will be dense and walkable, and it will deliver connectivity via mass fibre-optic cables, which can support future developments like drone ports and self-driving cars. The jewel in the crown will be the station itself, buried beneath an undulating landscape — a site that evokes both the pleasures of rural life and the advantages of urban proximity.
Finalist
Project
Ghetto
Location
Venice, Italy
Firm
Henriquez Partners Architects, Canada
Summary
Overrun with tourists during the summer months, Venice has also seen an influx of refugees in the past half-decade — two challenges the city is struggling to handle. With his proposal Ghetto, architect Gregory Henriquez asks if the former phenomenon might be leveraged to mitigate the latter: Tourists bring capital, which could, in theory, support newcomers. Henriquez’s plan comprises four architectural islands in the canal with timeshares for tourists that subsidize refugee housing. Under this scheme, denizens of the two Venices — the vacationers’ paradise and the port-of-call for migrants — would have to share neighbourhoods and acknowledge each other’s humanity.
And
Urban Design Visions
The Peoples Choice
Is
Project
Ghetto
Location
Venice, Italy
Firm
Henriquez Partners Architects, Canada

Overrun with tourists during the summer months, Venice has also seen an influx of refugees in the past half-decade — two challenges the city is struggling to handle. With his proposal Ghetto, architect Gregory Henriquez asks if the former phenomenon might be leveraged to mitigate the latter: Tourists bring capital, which could, in theory, support newcomers. Henriquez’s plan comprises four architectural islands in the canal with timeshares for tourists that subsidize refugee housing. Under this scheme, denizens of the two Venices — the vacationers’ paradise and the port-of-call for migrants — would have to share neighbourhoods and acknowledge each other’s humanity.

Team: Gregory Henriquez with Sarah Schlegelmilch, Patricia Tewfik, Peter Wood, Bartosz Palus, Nicolette Williams, Sara Zonouzi, Quinci Cohen, UNHCR and European Cultural Centre

And
Urban Design Visions
The Winner
Is
Project
Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Plan
Location
Los Angeles County, U.S.
Firm
Studio-MLA, U.S.
Sarah Rascon: 2021 AZ Award Winner in Urban Design Visions

The tributaries of the Upper Los Angeles River have been marred by a racist history of neglect. Today, the hostile concrete landscape offers little in the way of community space, flood protection or nature. Intending to restore all three, the Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries (ULART) Plan is led by Los Angeles Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, Sarah Rascon of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA, led by Mía Lehrer.

This trio was joined by designers, geographic scientists, information technologists, community advocates and local residents to redefine the tributaries as valuable social, ecological and hydrological players in the fight for equity. In contrast to earlier schemes, which tended to address singular issues (from drinking fountains to cycling trails) on a limited geographic scale, their new collaborative vision, spanning 2,070 square kilometres, considers the watershed as a whole.

“This integrated response to climate change via new green infrastructure, as well as the social infrastructure for renewed equity in cities, is urgently needed.”
Marc Ryan, AZ Awards 2021 Juror

After compiling a database of 114 planning studies previously conducted throughout the area, ULART organizers synthesized a wealth of individual necessities into a broad framework and prioritized the initiatives that would have the greatest possible impact.

(more…)
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