Wildlife Crossing Design Competition

The ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition seeks to identify the wildlife crossing bridge design that works the best for both people and wildlife and also uses innovative materials and methods in a cost-effective manner. The site chosen for the competition is found where the natural and human worlds collide. It lies between the Denver metropolitan area and the resort communities of Vail, Aspen and Breckenridge, Colorado and is approximately 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level. According to ARC, there’s a variety of wildlife in this patch. “The site is  identified as a critical habitat linkage in the Rocky Mountain Corridor, and home to a variety of iconic species such as black bear, cougar, bobcat, Canada lynx, coyote, elk, deer and American marten. It serves as an ideal setting for design teams to explore innovative means to safely reconnect a landscape with the charismatic wildlife that depend on and define this place.”

Nina-Marie Lister, Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, ARC competition advisor, and noted thinker on ecological infrastructure said: “the international landscape design community is fully charged with excitement about this competition. We hope the challenge to address the needs of ecology, transportation, safety, and infrastructure simultaneously will prove irresistible to the best and the brightest designers from around the world” (read more about her comments on designing for wildlife).

The high-profile jury will be chaired by Charles Waldheim, Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. ARC writes: “jurors will be looking not only for beautiful, compelling designs that meet the needs of both people and wildlife but also the use of materials that make infrastructure more affordable and, ultimately, our roads safer from wildlife-vehicle collisions.”

The competition will have two phases: phase one, the call for expressions of interest, will examine qualifications and design approaches. In this phase, design teams must show they meet certain criteria. “For example, they must include registered, professionally-licensed landscape architects, and structural engineers, and they may opt to include professional architects as well as other specializations. The expectation is that wildlife biologists, ecologists, transportation specialists and other experts will broaden the teams’ interdisciplinary design approach.” Phase two will put the finalists from phase one through an intensive design exercise. In phase two, design teams must include at least one firm licensed to practice in Colorado.

A $15,000 honorarium will be awarded to each of the finalists selected from phase one. The winning design team from phase two will receive $40,000 and receive preferential consideration for the wildlife crossing project in Colorado.

Initiated by the Woodcock Foundation and Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, ARC has drawn additional support from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Federal and state agencies and conservation organizations in the United States and Canada are also getting involved.

Expressions of interest must be submitted in hard copy by July 30, 2010. Learn more and enter the ARC design competition

Also, check out the remarks of Nina-Marie Lister and other top ecologists and landscape architects at a recent Dumbarton Oaks symposium focused on creating a better balance between wildlife and people in urban areas.

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