RAIC Urban Design Award

The Board of Directors of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) have proposed a national award program for urban design, a first in Canada, to reward individuals and organizations at both the local and national levels for urban design improvements in Canadian metropolitan communities.

Urban design is a great source of pride for many communities around the world. The US National Endowment for the Arts launched the Mayors’ Institute on Urban Design dedicated to improving the design and livability of America’s cities. And, the Union internationale des architectes recently launched The Celebration of Cities, an international initiative for supporting the city, “recovering its essence as a meeting place, a place of creativity and for solidarity”.

Some architects define urban design as the relationship between buildings; and also the relationship between buildings and the streets, the public spaces, and the parks/open spaces that make-up the public realm; the nature and the quality of that public realm — in other words the complex relationship between all built and un-built space.

Urban design focuses not only on new construction, but also on the preservation and enhancement of civil society’s cultural landscape.

“The RAIC has initiated discussions with mayors of major metropolitan cities in order to coordinate a common approach for delivering an urban design award program,” stated Yves Gosselin, MIRAC, Second Vice-President and RAIC Director for Ontario North and East and Nunavut.

Initially, awards would be offered in the following cities: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Mississauga, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg.

It is planned that the program will be put in place in 2004 at the local level, with national awards being adjudicated during the 2005 calendar year. The terms and conditions will be finalized in consultation with the various metropolitan cities, and other stakeholders.

Award categories would include:

Civic Design Project

Community Improvement Project

Private Building

Public Building

Urban Design Plan

An optional Student Project is being considered in cities where a school of architecture, landscape architecture, and/or urban planning exists for a project set jointly by the educational institution and the municipality.