Most of us regard surface parking lots as an eyesore. But some University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture undergraduate students actually see potential for interesting downtown development.
The students unveiled their designs at Portage Place on May 10 along with an enormous 3D model of their proposed plan.
Playing on the idea of parking "lots," they call the projects "Surface Lots of Possibility."
"Surface lots make downtown very unattractive," says their professor, Richard Milgrom. "It's not a place where people want to spend time, except for work. The land could be used for better, more inviting things."
Reimagined downtown model (Richard Milgrom)
The students' goal was to create a design for downtown that would give people a reason to stay. They presented three different, yet intersecting schemes. Essentially, their ideas focused around increasing density in the downtown by moving parking lots underground and building up. Green spaces and open spaces would be developed and walkability would be increased.
22 year old student Adam Dubyna
is excited about prospects for future development. "Part of our project could be started next year--that soon," he enthuses.
The students are concerned that development is currently concentrated on the periphery of the city in the suburbs. They would like to see an overall vision for the development of the downtown. They see this project as a first step.
Milgrom feels it's important to have young people take charge of the project. "Lots of young people are leaving Winnipeg in search of vibrant urban communities," he points out.
"We don't have enough of that in Winnipeg... They're the markets of the future. If they enjoy downtown living they're going to promote downtown living."