Winning Proposal and Research to Shape the Future for West Palm Beach Florida


Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA) have announced Open Shore by Ecosistema Urbano as the winner of the Shore to Core waterfront design competition. The competition invited designers, planners, and architects to envision the future of the West Palm Beach waterfront for the next 20 to 30 years, with elements like changing population, economy, and environment, in mind. Selected from over 40 international teams and two finalists, the winning Open Shore proposal will serve as a “vision board” for the city’s future.

The competition additionally announced a design runner up bu Perkins + Will and a research winner by the team of Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax.

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano


Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

The Open Shore proposal includes “what could be the first public bioclimatic domes in the US adorned with hanging gardens.” These dome spaces remain climatically comfortable throughout the year, supporting a more socially cohesive city in changing conditions of population, economy, environment, and so forth.


Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

The proposal also illustrates how the city’s Banyan Garage could be upcycled into a mixed-use building with both public- and private-sector roles featuring adaptive climates suitable for a range of activities, including a farmers market, coworking spaces, and skyline viewing platforms. Additional amenities include vibrant thematic alleyways—with such features as a rock climbing wall, interactive exhibition space, and immersive foliage—that harness the cultural values and experiences unique to West Palm Beach, while also providing shade and introducing new elevated programming spaces.


Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Ecosistema Urbano will present its proposal to the WPB CRA board in May so that priority projects can be contracted, and a community outreach system can be started.


Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Winner: Open Shore / Ecosistema Urbano. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Research Winner: Happier by Design / Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax


Research Winner: Happier by Design / Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Research Winner: Happier by Design / Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

The winning research team—Happier by Design—“focused on how specific types of public spaces may increase the wellbeing of people who use them and conducted a pilot study analyzing the health benefits of more complex and engaging urban landscapes.”


Research Winner: Happier by Design / Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Research Winner: Happier by Design / Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Through environmental psychology principles and tactical urban interventions, the team found that “public space designs that boost feelings of fascination foster wellbeing.” The team additionally recommended that designers focus on nature and creating spaces that are both interactive and comfortable.


Research Winner: Happier by Design / Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Research Winner: Happier by Design / Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans, and SpaceSyntax. Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will


Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will . Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will . Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Perkins + Will’s finalist design focuses on community building with a continuous waterfront park, extended Great Lawn, and revitalized Banyan Garage as a multi-use civic space.


Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will . Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will . Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will . Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will . Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will . Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Design Finalist: Adapt to Thrive / Perkins + Will . Image Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA)

Learn more about the winning and finalist designs, and the winning research, in the Van Alen Institute’s key findings, here.

News via: the Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA).

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