Design Competition | Shore to Core

Shore to Core-still-blue
Van Alen Institute and West Palm Beach recently launched Shore to Core, comprising both a design competition and a research competition to reimagine the West Palm Beach downtown and to better understand individuals’ relationships to the built environment.

Van Alen Institute started accepting proposals on July 12. The deadline for registration and electronic submission of the request for concepts is 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 21, 2016 at the competition website. Teams are encouraged (but not required) to pre-register their interest by 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 27, 2016 to receive project updates.

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Shore to Core asks: How can we recreate an urban core so its design is intelligent, flexible, and responsive to the needs of residents and visitors? A jury will select two finalist multidisciplinary design teams to envision the future of the urban core for waterfront cities by developing a design framework for implementation for West Palm Beach. The winning design team will work with West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency to implement the first phase of their proposal. Design teams must include at least one designer (an architect, landscape architect, urban designer, and/or planner), and are encouraged to include members with expertise in economic development, environmental psychology, resiliency, placemaking, and the social sciences.


This design project aims to address the needs of the community, to strengthen resiliency, build out the economy, and improve individuals’ wellbeing through the city’s design. West Palm Beach has become a magnet for young professionals, and black and Hispanic residents account for roughly 50% of the population. The local populations can both support and benefit from a thoughtful coast and urban core.


“Each of us is impacted by the cities we live in, yet we do not yet fully understand how,” Van Alen Institute Executive Director David van der Leer said. “In this design and research competition, teams will not only develop designs for a new urban core, but also innovative models to measure and analyze the influence of those designs on people.”

“This competition is a remarkable opportunity to consider ways to make our city’s center more dynamic, expanding our ideas for the future of West Palm Beach,” said Jeri Muoio, Mayor of the City of West Palm Beach.


Besides the design competition, Shore to Core also includes a research competition through an open call for a research team to look at relationships between the built environment and the wellbeing of individuals and communities. The winning proposal will be developed into a pilot research study in West Palm Beach in 2017. The research team should include at least one environmental psychologist or neuroscientist and is encouraged to include members with expertise in the social sciences, as well as designers.


In early September, a distinguished jury will select two finalist design teams that will each receive a $45,000 stipend, and one research team that will receive a $40,000 stipend. All three teams will be asked to develop their original proposals over a three-month period. The final design proposals and research outcomes will be displayed in an exhibition in 2017.

• Colin Ellard Associate Professor, University of Waterloo, Department of Psychology
• Patrick Franklin, President and CEO, Urban League of Palm Beach County
• David van der Leer (Jury Chair), Executive Director, Van Alen Institute
• Jeri Muoio, Mayor, City of West Palm Beach
• Penni Redford, Sustainability Manager, City of West Palm Beach
• Terence Riley, Principal, K/R
• Jon Ward, Executive Director, West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency
• Lilly Weinberg, Director of Community Foundations, Knight Foundation
• Claire Weisz, Founding Principal, WXY Studio
• Nancy Wells, Professor, Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Design and Environmental Analysis Department

More information at the Shore to Core website

WORLD LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE is not involved with this competition. Please send all questions to the organisers of Shore to Core.

Photography | Chris Fay

2023 WLA Professional Awards registrations close on Friday, March 17, 2023, at 11:59pm London, UK.
About Damian Holmes 5671 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at

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