Envision This deadline nears, presentation this week

Entries for a contest that encourages public ideas to help reshape Shockoe will be presented and judged later this week.

Update #2 — March 26, 2013; 6:54 AM

Organizers now ask that those who’ve submitted ideas to the Envision This challenge (see below) deliver their presentation boards to the Main Street Station by 2:00 PM on Thursday, March 28th.

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Update #1 — March 25, 2013; 6:27 AM

The deadline for entries in the Envision This challenge (see below) is Tuesday at 5:00 PM. All submissions must be delivered to the City Planning Reception Desk at the Main Street Station by that time.

On Thursday, participants will present their ideas to both the public and a panel of judges at the Main Street Station from 4:00 – 9:30 PM.

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Original — February 18, 2013

A contest to encourage public involvement in the redesign of Shockoe will kick off this Tuesday at LaDifference.

The Envision This challenge–organized by The Shockoe Design District, Venture Richmond, i.e.*, and the City of Richmond–invites members of the public to submit designs for a re-imagined Shockoe, one that blends the area into a seamless locale.

“What we are trying to do is…have people with all different kinds of ideas…transform Shockoe into a cohesive destination that’s walkable and easy,” said Chrystal Neal, director for creativity and innovation at the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce.1 “We are hoping, by helping to connect all the different areas of Shockoe, that we can start to develop the identity of the entire area.”

Organizers of the Envision This challenge have located five “dead spaces”–undeveloped patches that contribute little to the aesthetics, identity, and walkability of the district–that they want submissions to remedy. Those areas include a tract of land stretching from the turning basin to the Main Street train station, the site of previously proposed baseball stadium near the Richmond Slave Trail, and others.

Envision This judges

  • Marti Beller • Plan G
  • Josh Epperson • Prophet
  • Bob Meagher • The Martin Agency
  • Mark Olinger • City of Richmond
  • Burt Pinnock • BAM Architects
  • Lisa Taranto • Office of Urban Ecology

Tuesday’s kick-off event will feature an aerial map to indicate those dead spaces, a short presentation from a City official on the history of Shockoe, and a review of redevelopment plans enacted in other cities to inspire ideas for submissions (on Wednesday, these materials will be put online).

Whether its an art installation for a particular area, or a broad design concept affecting a large portion of the district, Neal said all ideas are encouraged. “Who knows what people will come up with?” she said.

On March 28th between 4:00 – 9:30 PM, a panel of judges (see sidebar) will hear five-minute presentations–followed by several minutes of Q&A–from each entrant about his or her submission during a public event at the Main Street Station. After which, the judges will name the winner, who will receive $1,500.2 Members of the public who attend the event will also vote towards the People’s Choice Award winner.

However, Neal cautioned that just because an idea places first, doesn’t mean it will be implemented. At least right away.

“We don’t know what people are going to come up with,” Neal said. “The [winning concept], in theory, could be a $1 million idea.” She said that organizers will subsequently implement a “creative fundraising campaign following the Envision This challenge.” The details of which are now being planned.

Envision This submissions are due at the City Planning Reception Desk at the Historic Train Station before 5:00 PM on March 26th. Here’s the required format for entrees:

Submissions shall be on one to two 30” x 42” presentation boards. A sealed envelope with the entrant’s name and contact info is to be attached to the back of each board. Boards can include sketches, plans, renderings, narratives, and whatever illustrations, diagrams, etc. may be needed to express the idea.

The Envision This kickoff event will be held from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at LaDifference, located at 125 S. 14th Street.

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  1. Backers of i.e*. 
  2. $1,000 will awarded to the second prize winner, and $700 will be given the People’s Choice Award winner. 
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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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