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KAPOW!

Design winners unveiled at PechaKucha

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What: KAPOW! Making Spaces Into Lively Places

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What: KAPOW! Making Spaces Into Lively Places
When:6pm Wed., March 25
Where: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.
Cost: $10 suggested donation
Info: http://www.sconnect.org

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What does it take to revitalize a city?

Well, for starters, a competition for design.

KAPOW, a collaborative design competition that kicked off earlier this year, invited the community to design inexpensive projects to enhance downtown Bellingham’s identity, vitality and health. After reviewing nearly 50 applications, a judge’s panel chose 10 finalists to advance to the next round at PechaKucha on March 25 on the main stage of the Mount Baker Theatre.
 
PechaKucha is a simple format where presenters show 20 images, each for 20 seconds, and the images advance automatically. The format was devised by a Japanese architecture firm in 2003 because “architects talk too much.” Currently, PechaKucha Nights happen in more than 700 cities around the world where anyone can share their ideas, work, thoughts or just about anything. The March 25 event marks Bellingham’s sixth annual PechaKucha Night.

The event caps the Downtown Bellingham Placemaking Design Competition launched in January, sponsored in part by the mayor’s office. The competition invited the community to design inexpensive but compelling projects that can make small places more lively and enjoyable. Designs are intended to reflect Bellingham’s unique community identity, attract people, activate inactive spaces, provide amenities and promote people’s health, happiness and well-being. Some “tactical urbanism” ideas include parklets, pop-up cafes and spot gardening.

“Improving the livability of our towns and cities commonly starts at the street, block or building scale,” note the authors of Tactical Urbanism, a guidebook intended to spark creative urban modeling.

“City planners and public leaders are frequently preoccupied with making large-scale, transformative change in the built environment,” the authors note. “While larger-scale efforts do have their place, incremental, small-scale improvements are increasingly seen as a way to stage more substantial investments. This approach allows a host of local actors to test new concepts before making substantial political and financial commitments. Sometimes sanctioned, sometimes not, these actions are commonly referred to as ‘guerilla urbanism,’ ‘popup urbanism,’ ‘city repair’ or ‘D.I.Y. urbanism.’”

Live audience voting will take place at the event to determine a People’s Choice Award. Kelli Linville will bestow her Mayor’s Choice Award, followed by a Judges Superhero Award. A DJ will be mixing up music and local beer will be available prior to the presentations. All event proceeds will be awarded to the winners for implementation of their projects. Attendees who arrive in superhero costumes receive priority seating.
 
KAPOW is a collaboration between Sustainable Connections, the City of Bellingham, Downtown Bellingham Partnership, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Whatcom County Association of Realtors, and Northwest American Institute of Architects.

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