In 2012, the city of Regina announced a competition, which they called the Morph My City Challenge. Of the two sub-challenges, one involved the design of a new neighbourhood on the fringe of the city, and the other involved the transformation of an existing neighbourhood towards sustainability through the year 2040.
I gathered together and led a team through the creation of a detailed submission for the 2040 prize. In all, we spent roughly seven months working on the report, which we have now made available in its entirety. We were very pleased when we were selected to be one of the finalists in the competition.
The finals were a ten-minute live presentation at the 2012 National Infrastructure Summit which was hosted in Regina, Saskatchewan on Sept 10-12. Preparing for the presentation was a significant challenge for us, since our report was 114 pages long. We tried on many occasions to cut down the length of the document, but there was simply too much to say. Successive rounds of careful paring down took place, until we had a ten minute presentation that we were proud of.
Our presentation went well and we elicited some very positive comments from members of the audience and judging panel. The competition was fierce, however, and the prize went to the team led by Mitchell Reardon, with their entry entitled Rosemont: Smart, Green & Vibrant. By the time the competition concluded, we had spent a lot of time talking with the other competitors and had become fast friends. We consider all of them to be extremely thoughtful and capable individuals, and we were pleased to be able to spend some time with them.
It is clear that the different finalists had very different approaches to improving Regina throughout the next ~27 years. In this sense, we felt rather unique among the three finalists in our challenge, and indeed also different from the three finalists in the Greenfield challenge. We focused, ruthlessly, on solutions that were practical and feasible within the budget of the city and on the time frames available. Thus, our recommendations focus mainly on policy changes at the city level that can have far-reaching impacts on the sustainability, prosperity, and livability of the city. As we studied the problems and the many possible types of solutions, we looked for the longest levers; making the largest changes possible with the least effort / money.
Moving forward, we are trying to get the word out about our report and get it into the hands of the people who might find it the most useful. To that end, we are engaging some members of the public service and looking for interest among the general public. If any readers have suggestions on who to contact or other ideas for distribution, I would love to hear them, so you should contact me.
You can find a full copy of the report here: Transforming Regina: Planning for 2040 and beyond