Sea2City Design Challenge

About Vancouver

Embraced by water, including the Salish Sea to the west, Burrard Inlet to the north, and the north arm of the Fraser River to the south, we have always been a coastal community defined by our proximity to the ocean, river, and mountains.

Vancouver is situated on the unceded traditional homelands of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ  (Tsleil-Waututh). The area currently known as False Creek is of significant meaning to the local First Nations who stewarded the land since time immemorial. 

We recognize the need to plan for future sea level rise and help flood-vulnerable shoreline neighbourhoods, communities, and businesses to become more resilient to current and future coastal flooding.

The Sea2City Design Challenge (Sea2City) will help inform a framework and vision to guide urban development and ecological revitalization in the False Creek floodplain, a highly valued and constrained urban waterway in the heart of the city.

The design challenge will engage two multidisciplinary teams to work co-operatively with us and project partners to:

  • Explore coastal adaptation approaches that respond to the social equity, economic, and ecological challenges posed by sea level rise and coastal flooding
  • Investigate coastal adaptation approaches for sea level rise beyond one metre
  • Expand our toolbox of coastal flood management approaches
  • Increase public awareness of climate change and sea level rise

Between bridges site in 2100

By City of Vancouver

Between Bridges site in 2100 with a new form of seawall experience: floating walkways. The shoreline has been pulled back and restored. Shoreline buildings have been repurposed as public spaces.

  • Coopers Park site in 2100

    By City of Vancouver

    Coopers Park site in 2100 with a softer shoreline that supports sea life and provides a buffer against waves. Floating structures provide recreation opportunities and buildings are retrofitted to endure occasional flooding until they are retired at the end of their life cycle.

  • Olympic Village site in 2150

    By City of Vancouver

    Olympic Village site in 2150 with a series of islands and mudflats. People walk on an elevated walkway that is the new seawall. The Olympic Village has been transformed into park space as buildings have been moved to higher ground over time. A series of forested berm protect the area from major flooding. 


Outcomes from the Sea2City Design Challenge will be:

  • Used to inform the next phase of our overarching Coastal Adaptation Plan
  • Further refined by us with project partners, Indigenous governments, stakeholders, the public, and coastal regulators

Conceptual designs, created as part of Sea2City, will:

  • Not be built immediately
  • Inform next steps (including more detailed design development and planning)

We will start to take those next steps after the completion of Sea2City and will likely continue for several years recognizing the additional research, planning, technical design, and engagement that will be required to move coastal adaption forward in a constrained urban waterway as False Creek. 

Get involved

We have completed public engagement for the Sea2City Design Challenge

The purpose of these sessions was to raise awareness about sea level rise and review the refined design ideas. We have collected all of the feedback and have shared it with the design teams.

Missed a community conversation? Review the July 2022 presentation

We will be sharing the final results in October 2022.

People holding banner: The seas are rising and so are we - Sustainabiliteens protest by Desiree Wallace

Climate change and sea level rise

The shorelines are already experiencing modest sea level rise and episodes of coastal flooding.

False Creek and sea level rise

Sea level risk at False Creek effects residents, housing, facilities, property, and parks.

How the Challenge works

The challenge has three rounds of advisory sessions and workshops.

Challenge sites

There are four Sea2City challenge sites divided between sites on the north shore of False Creek and the south shore.

Challenge teams

We have selected the Sea2City Design Challenge teams. Learn more about the teams.

Challenge media and videos

View videos and what others are saying about the Sea2City Design Challenge.

Water up to a bench along seawall at David Lam Park

Public events and design teams

Sea2City will include an interactive public engagement and communications program that will run from September 2021 to July 2022.

Selected design teams will participate in three rounds of:

  • Workshops
  • Public engagement
  • Activities

Each round will include:

  • Public learning
  • Design events as well as advisory sessions and workshops with groups established for the project (Community Advisory Group, Technical Advisory Group, City Advisory Team)

There will also be a youth engagement stream.

Sea2City primer on values-based planning and evaluation (10 MB)

Design team tasks

Two participating design teams have been selected through a competitive application process to:

  • Provide comprehensive design package for a preferred conceptual coastal flood management approach for two sites in False Creek (Each design team will be responsible for two sites.)
  • Provide illustrative concepts showing where future coastal flood management approaches and/or structures could be developed along the currently unprotected portions of the False Creek shoreline
  • Participate in a one-day, inter-team design charrette at the conclusion of the Sea2City to apply lessons learned through the challenge process to a fifth site
  • Produce a final set of materials designed to inspire and inform the community and the city

The request for proposals is now closed.

Rise to the Challenge: Sea2City Design Challenge Roadmap  (14 MB)

Learn more about sea level rise

Get more information on sea level rise in False Creek and what we have begun to prepare for it: Review Coastal Adaptation False Creek

Sea level rise in Vancouver

False Creek Adaption Plan

Contact us