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This article was published 15/8/2015 (1584 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Anew contest is inviting Winnipeggers to stop sitting on their great ideas and chair them instead. The prize: $30,000 to bring that idea to life.
After creating the original idea for the Table of 1200 event - now a fundraiser for Storefront Manitoba - that boasted many, many chairs, Johanna Hurme, an architect with the local firm 5468796 Architecture, wondered where all the furniture went once the feasts finished.
Figuring there were at least 1,200 white chairs kicking around Winnipeg, she helped dream up Chair Your Idea, a competition to foster innovation in the city.
"This is a chance for Winnipeggers to have their say. This is our chance as a collective community to show the world what kind of great ideas come from Winnipeg," Hurme said.
The contest begins Aug. 27 and locals must submit their plans for how to make Winnipeg a better place at chairyouridea.ca before Sept. 19.
The registration fee is $25, plus a white chair donated for public use and marked with the entry number, which can be dropped off at one of the "chairtaker" locations found on the website.
Peter Jordan offers a few suggestions to get the ball rolling in a promotional video for the contest. His ideas are to use the prize money to tear down the barriers at Portage Avenue and Main Street, create better road signage for cyclists or carve sculptures out of trees ridden with Dutch elm disease.
Hurme said the jury of architecture and design buffs that will pick the contest winner hopes to choose an idea with good investment return.
"Something smart and something we maybe haven't thought of yet," she said.
While filling potholes next summer could be a great one-time fix for Winnipeg roads, they're looking for something more long-term, she said.
"Let's say that you decided to plant $30,000 worth of trees. That investment will grow in the future and make the place more sustainable and more beautiful in the future," Hurme said.
Maybe the toughest challenge — aside from coming up with the Cadillac of concepts — is the pressure to describe the idea in 140 characters or less, as contest entries can't be any longer than a tweet.
The winner will be announced Sept. 19 during a block party at a to-be-determined location. The winner must attend to accept the prize, and the architecture firm will help execute the bright idea starting in 2016.
The contest entrants' white chairs will be used at the block party to be attended by Mayor Brian Bowman and a who's who of other local celebrities who have shown interest in the project so far, such as Liberal candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette, a judge for the competition.
Ouellette said he's going to keep an eye out for projects that want to integrate indigenous cultures into public spaces.
"One of my huge issues is a lot of people view indigenous people in a negative way, and I think sometimes that poses problems," he said. "We have to create really public statements using our infrastructure in a way that doesn't cost more, but creates this positive imagery around indigenous peoples."
Prior to the block party, and possibly afterwards too, chairs will be scattered around the city to help turn sidewalks, streets and parks into a collective living room, Hurme said.
"It's the symbolic idea of taking a seat and pausing and having a conversation with your neighbours to exchange ideas," she said.
Hurme said she hopes Chair Your Idea will attract at least 1,000 entrants. All submissions will be put in an "idea bank" for the City of Winnipeg to consider.
"Generally, (we're) wanting to make sure we bridge the gap between the so-called design community and the rest of the citizens of Winnipeg and make sure people feel they have a say in what should be done for the city, even if they're not planners," she said.
Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Updated on Saturday, August 15, 2015 at 9:51 AM CDT: Corrects the organization which Peter Jordan works for