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“Are you not sure that you do not support this project? Yes or No?”

March 22, 2013

This may be one big inside joke – but for any landscape architect, particularly those working at the municipal level, you’ll probably get them all.

It’s a take-off on the Iron Chef competitions – by (and between) Ted Uhlrich, Manager of Parks Planning for the City of Surrey (the Challenger), and Tiina Mack, the Manager of Park Development for the Vancouver Park Board (the Iron LA)

You’ll find it in the current issue of Sitelines, on pages 14 and 15 of the pdf.

Here’s a taste:

This is definitely a battle of up-and-comer vs. established veteran: Surrey vs. Vancouver –Studio Stadium style!

The Chair reveals the secret ingredient: Public Process!

What a challenge, Vancouver with its AAA, “aged for 28 days” neighbourhoods and very “tangy” community groups.  Surrey with its “retropolitan” highway oriented dining offset by a multitude of cultural cuisines from every corner of the world. …

In a move that is either incredibly bold or insane, the Challenger attempts building the project without a public meeting. The public goes crazy! His only explanation to the camera, “The funding from the Province was only available until the end of March and I have forty more projects to complete by the end of next week.” He throws out the work to date and starts from the beginning.

Meanwhile on the Iron LA’s side of the studio, an intense community focus group led by a pricy independent facilitator is in full swing. Community members keep repeating, “We are the crème de la crème,” but are politely ushered to the sidelines; despite the facilitator’s best efforts, this meeting ends in a stalemate and the project is temporarily delayed.

The Challenger has reengaged the public and is seeing some benefits, unfortunately the discussion gets sidetracked by concerns about the number of parking spots residents have for their home and the fact there are ten portables at the local school that opened ten months ago. He resorts to a cleverly worded feedback form: “Are you not sure that you do not support this project? Yes or No?”

More of that here – on pp 14-15.

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