Image: Living on a Soft Edge

SFU Public Square, in partnership with Vancouver Foundation, created the RISE ideas competition to raise awareness about the issue of sea level rise in Metro Vancouver, and provide the space for innovative ideas to emerge. During the six-week competition period, over 45 teams registered to take part and 30 teams completed their submission. Teams were asked to provide an answer to the challenge: “How can we design Metro Vancouver communities to adapt and thrive in the context of a 1metre rise in sea level?”

The entries to RISE were diverse and inspiring. Some teams chose to focus on social, economic, or environmental solutions. Others adopted a broader approach. But all demonstrated creativity, innovation, and commitment to helping Metro Vancouver adapt and thrive in the context of sea level rise. On judging day, 28 teams made their final pitch to our judges – all experts in community building and climate change adaptation. Read more about the winners below, or view all the entries to find out how other teams approached the challenge.



Team: Arthur Leung, MArch (UBC)

Projecting to the year 2100, this project proposes the use of “soft infrastructure” around deltaic landscapes (e.g. Richmond’s Lulu Island) to replace the existing “hard infrastructure” of the dyke. “Soft infrastructure” strategies would more effectively respond to sea level rise by respecting the processes of the river, reviving the estuarine habitat and reconnecting people to the waterfront. Read more about Living on a Soft Edge.

Judges comments

Our final round panel of judges found Living on a Soft Edge forward thinking but doable, within existing land use plans, robust, comprehensive, flexible, liveable, practical, and a fun way to adapt to sea level rise.




Team: Sarah Primeau, Neda Roohnia and Jeff Cutler (all with space2place design)

Perforated Edge demonstrates a model of flood-adapted urban development that uses multiple strategies (e.g. elevated grades, flood gate, new water channels, wetlands) to safely bring water into the city for ecological enhancements, recreational opportunities, and waterfront development. Through these measures sea level rise becomes an opportunity for coastal communities to increase their livability, ecological richness, and resilience. Read more about Perforated Edge.

Judges comments

Our final round panel of judges found Perforated Edge a creative response to the reality that dykes may be needed in some areas, an effective regional approach, and a well thought-out project that would make spaces for people to enjoy living and working.




Team: DG Blair, Executive Director, Stewardship Centre for BC; Deborah Carlson, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law; Cathy LeBlanc, Intergovernmental Relations & Planning, Ministry of Community, Sport & Cultural Development

Green ShoresTM is LEED for the shoreline. Its rating system and guidelines promote practices that restore and protect the natural shoreline in developed areas. Not only does Green Shores benefit ecosystems, and maintain beautiful shorelines for communities, it is also a cost-effective and resilient way to address projected 1 metre sea level rise by 2100. Read more about Green Shores.

Judges comments

Our final round panel of judges recognized Green Shores for supporting and nurturing ecosystems, directly addressing ecosystem health, incorporating the natural environment into hard engineering, and being relatively easy to implement.




Team: Matthew Beall

Metro Vancouver, as a global city and global citizen, has the means and opportunity to help address climate change as it affects people worldwide. By coupling the region’s response to sea level rise with a program of welcoming and integrating climate refugees, we can help confront a global humanitarian concern and in the process build a more robust, resilient, and vibrant city. Read more about Refuge Urbanism.

Judges comments

Our final round panel of judges found Refuge Urbanism addressed a number of social concerns including transit, housing, emergency management, while remaining aware of economic and environmental factors. A comprehensive and robust approach that incorporated a large variety of community needs.




Team: M Mehdi Naserimojarad, Yaser M Roshan, Farzad Hamidi

To address the challenge of sea level rise, a novel action plan to minimize the effects of RISE on social life and economy, as well as providing tools for energy and food security before the year 2100. The plans include dynamic adjustment of shorelines level to prevent floods and land usage conversion plans for agriculture. Read more about A Green Rise to Energy and Food Security.

online voting

A Green Rise to Energy and Food Security was the most voted on idea in the competition, with 1,270 votes.

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