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We are eager to see development plans that foster Londoners' love for the Thames

Design competition moves forward with release of RFP

July 27, 2015

Last week on July 21st, 2015 London Community Foundation, the City of London and Upper Thames River Conservation Authority welcomed shortlisted proponents to beautiful London, Ontario. The second phase of the Back to the River design competition officially kicked off Tuesday, July 21st with a tour of the magnificent Thames River.

The firms selected to participate in the RFP process are:

•             Brook McIlroy, Toronto and Thunder Bay

•             Civitas, Denver

•             PWL Partnership, Vancouver

•             Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Toronto

•             Stoss + Dillon, Boston and Toronto

After receiving the project’s RFP, the five shortlisted firms travelled to the Forest City to learn more about the project and see the study area first hand. Since most of the shortlisted firms are not from London, getting to see the study area up close helped put the project into context for them. Londoners care deeply for the Thames so it is essential that the proposed designs strike a balance between enviornmental sustainability, economic development and recreational/open space. Most importantly, the designs must be relevant to the community. 

Proponents visited our favourite spots to stop and learned about the historical and present day significance of each area. Navigated by John Fleming and Jim Yanchula of the City of London, the tour gave participants a taste of our city focusing on future plans for downtown, the Thames Valley Corridor as well as the SoHo area.

The project calls for a comprehensive, bold design vision to realize the potential of the Thames River; one that will improve the community’s quality of life, enhance the River environment, and support urban regeneration and economic development in the city.

The proponents RFP submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

1.            Compliance with all submission requirements (Pass/Fail)

2.            Attendance at all required events (Pass/Fail)

3.            Innovative and Imaginative: A creative overall design for the River that integrates its recreational and environmental potential at all three scales of inquiry, and enhances its natural beauty (20%).

4.            Design quality and integration: Design strength demonstrated in the details of proposed spaces, features, and inaugural projects (20%).

5.            Practical: Achievable, phaseable design proposals, aligned with approved plans and strategies that build on existing initiatives and respect environmental, ownership, regulatory, and other constraints (20%).

6.            Social and Environmental Benefits: Design proposals that increase accessibility and activity, improve the environment, and offer opportunities for community and donor sponsorship (20%).

7.            Downtown and Economic Regeneration: Design proposals that assist with the revitalization of the downtown and the city’s overall economic improvement (20%).

The jury will select one or more winning proponents who will be awarded a design contract with the City of London of at least $200,000 for an inaugural project at The Forks of the Thames. An inaugural project for the SoHo neighbourhood may be the subject of a future competitive contract once funding has been secured.

After the RFP closes on October 2, 2015 a public meeting will be held where the proponents will present their submitted designs to the public and the jury

Martha Powell President & CEO of London Community Foundation says,

"We were honoured to welcome the proponents to our beautiful city. I am confident they each have innovative ideas for how our city can reimagine its relationship with the Thames River. We are eager to see development plans that understand and foster Londoners’ love and care for their natural heritage."

Vanessa Dolishny
Vanessa is the manager of communications at London Community Foundation where she oversees the Foundation's communications and media strategy. A community enthusiast with a passion for creating change, Vanessa loves using her creativity to have a positive impact on the community. When it comes to ideas, the bolder the better!