Announcing the Highways for Habitats Contest Winners!

First, we would like to say that all of the entries were spectacular and exceeded our expectations.  Not only did each project demonstrate creative thinking and in-depth problem solving, we were impressed by the well-thought out ideas and unique touch each project had.  The winners were selected from both a public vote and a judges’ vote, weighted equally.  We also appreciated the range of projects we saw, from ambitious schemes to practical opportunities for improvement.  And now for the winners…

Our Highways for Habitats Contest Winner: The Detroit Lid! from livingLAB!

The Detroit LID! Project demonstrates forward thinking at its best.  livingLAB combined knowledge of the current conditions of the area with potential deriving from major projects on the horizon, and identified a great opportunity for improvement.  As is the case in many cities across the U.S., Detroit’s major highways were built right into our city centers, in most cases causing a great divide.  As Detroit continues its resurgence, closing the gap in its urban core via a “lid” over I-75 that separates two vital neighborhoods is a potentially transformative step.  Their design found a way to balance the need to continue moving traffic through with providing a seamless transition for walkers and bikers above.  Their innovative solution to stitch back together the city’s fabric would enhance the area and provide for its residents, with potential to draw in new faces to help it grow.  Well done, livingLAB!  We appreciate your bold thinking!

Congratulations to livingLAB for winning a new Detroit Bikes bicycle! Happy riding!

Runner Up: M-5 (Grand River Ave) at MLK Design from Jimmy McBroom!

The M-5 project took into account the context and its many variables, and we appreciate that while Jimmy chose an intersection to enhance with non-automobile related elements, he first tackled the intersection’s designed purpose – moving cars through safely (he got the highest score for “balance”).  As Jimmy said in his submission, his design addresses current problematic traffic patterns and confusion for drivers, as well as increasing safety for non-motorists and creating redevelopment opportunities at the meeting place of several neighborhoods.  Jimmy’s design maintains the main thoroughfare, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.  Jimmy then added components for more complete streets and multi-modal use, like protected cycletracks, road diets, and transit facilities.  We love how Jimmy took into account the intersection’s location within the city, and gave aim for it to serve as a link to Detroit’s west side.  He saw the potential the site has to truly become a “place” and the impact better, safer streets can have on the community, and he showed this in his design through considerations for the surrounding land.

We would like to give big thanks everyone who participated in the contest – the entrants, the voters, our judges, and our readers.  The goal of this contest is to show all of you that you have great ideas and bring an understanding of your hometown to the table, and that you should get involved in the decisions that shape your community’s future.