main street

Main Street Design Challenge Playbook released

Monday, October 5, 2020

The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) have released the Main Street Design Challenge Playbook, a collection of design solutions that can be implemented during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Main Street Design Challenge invited all Canadian residents interested in place-making and design to develop solutions that can help build the resiliency of Canada’s main streets.  Over the past four months, 47 designs were submitted from a wide range of sources, ranging from well-known architects and urban designers to students, planners, community animators, and artists.

The Playbook showcases a range of creative and practical interventions, from masterplans to art installations to modular street furniture. Some examples include:

  • Socially | Equitable | Landscape, by student Joy Olagoke and Subrahmanya Sai Anudeep Mummareddy (photo above) – a design that transforms outdoor spaces, the undersides and sides of buildings into canvases for art and culture that can be explored safely (Calgary, AB)
  • Fresh Start: Back To Basics by community animator DeeDee Nelson, who gives 10 actions to build trust in community (Vancouver, BC)

The Main Street Design Challenge reflects the importance of design in revitalizing our streets, including kickstarting the economy, fostering vibrant, liveable, and healthy communities, increasing public safety, reducing social isolation, and restoring the public’s confidence to return to streets and public spaces.

We are thrilled with the uptake from the design community to engage in such an important activity to support vital Canadian main streets,” said RAIC president John Brown, FRAIC.

The Playbook can be downloaded here. All designs are free to use, though contacting the creators is encouraged. The Playbook contains links to implementation details and other information on the CUI website.

“We are delighted to see the range and variety of these design submissions from across Canada, which we hope will be picked up and used to help main streets recover,” said Mary W. Rowe, CEO of CUI. 

The Main Street Design Challenge is an initiative of Bring Back Main Street, a nationally coordinated research and action campaign by the CUI to ensure the people, businesses, and organizations that call Canada’s Main Streets home can recover and emerge from the crisis more resilient than ever.

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