Q: How do you get people excited about urban design?
A: Hold a video competition.
At least that's the answer that came to Architecture Minnesota magazine.
Last year Architecture Minnesota held the first annual "Videotect" competition, asking for people to submit short films on the topic of Minnesota's most controversial urban design element - skyways.
Last year's Videotect Grand Prize Winning entry
The competition, culminating in a live screening at the Walker Art Center of the most popular candidates, was a hit according to Architecture Minnesota editor Chris Hudson:
We knew that with a public video competition we wouldn't necessarily get highly prescriptive commentary, but we guessed--and guessed right--that what the entries lacked in analysis they would more than make up for in entertainment value. Bringing entertainment to urban design discussions is a pretty cool thing, in our eyes.
Honorable Mention and Viewers' Choice Finalist for the 2011 competition
Videotect is back this year for round two. This time the topic is "sustainable transportation and its enhancement through quality design" and each video has to be two minutes or less in length.
39 videos were submitted to this year's competition, predominantly from Minnesota, but also Oregon, Illinois, and New York, and from as far away as China, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Hudson ultimately sees Videotect becoming a popular international competition.
You can watch the videos, and vote for your favorites here.
One of this year's entries in the Videotect competition
Voting for the people's choice award runs through Friday, however tomorrow afternoon I'll be sitting down with fellow panel judges to pick our favorites. And trust me, it's not going to be easy!
This year there will be a screening of finalists on March 1 at the Walker Art Center, culminating in a vote for the popular choice winner. The creators of the winning videos will be awarded $2000 (for Grand Prize and Popular Choice) and $500 (for Honorable Mention) respectively.
Another entry in this year's Videotect competition