Rise to the Challenge - Sea2City Design Challenge

City launches innovative Sea2City Design Challenge for False Creek

Sea level rise is an unprecedented challenge for a coastal city like Vancouver.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

September 23 2021 –

This week, we are launching a design competition to explore ideas for addressing sea level rise and coastal flooding in False Creek.

A first-of-its-kind in Canada, the Sea2City Design Challenge (Sea2City) brings together two multidisciplinary teams over a 12-month period to:

  • Explore solutions to guide urban development and ecological revitalization in the False Creek floodplain
  • Inform the next phase of the our Climate Adaptation Plan and Vancouver Plan

“Sea level rise is an unprecedented challenge for a coastal city like Vancouver,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “It requires bold and creative thinking and the City is looking forward to welcoming new perspectives and ideas to address climate change and sea level rise in False Creek.” 

Design teams

Guided by community values and design principles identified through earlier engagement with residents, business owners, and others who work and play in and around False Creek, the Sea2City design teams will work cooperatively 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 the City’s toolbox of coastal flood management approaches
  • Increase public awareness of climate change and sea level rise

Sea2City will include three rounds of activities, including:

  • Public learning and design events
  • Advisory group sessions
  • Decolonization and Indigenous perspective workshops

Attend a Sea2City community conversation 

Learn more about the Sea2City Design Challenge and sea level rise in False Creek at our community conversations on:

  • September 23, noon
  • September 27, 6pm
  • September 29, noon


Additional quotes from City staff and Sea2City design teams 

After a competitive application process, the City is pleased to welcome two multidisciplinary teams with practitioners based in Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, and the Netherlands, led by Mithun+One and PWL Partnership. Each team brings together specialists in landscape architecture, equity, reconciliation, urban planning, environmental sciences, and engineering that have experience planning and designing for sea level rise and coastal flooding. 

“We’re looking forward to bringing together a range of people, practitioners, and thinkers to address a complex challenge. It’s an exciting opportunity for the City to connect innovative design with public engagement. A successful outcome will be one that connects with the public and builds a shared understanding of climate change, sea level rise and the land and water we call False Creek.” – Angela Danyluk, Senior Sustainability Specialist, City of Vancouver. 

“The visions that emerge from Sea2City will inspire public conversations and initiate action. The process of imagining an adapted waterfront can elevate multiple intersectional and urgent issues - climate adaptation, economic development, and truth and reconciliation - and how these might change our experiences and shape an equitable built environment.” – Deb Guenther, Project Director, Mithun+One.

“We share a collective passion for protecting, enhancing, and adapting urban waterfronts in response to climate change. Addressing the challenges of sea-level rise is always cherished work. It fulfills our personal and corporate values regarding protecting our planet for future generations and fighting climate change.” – Derek Lee, Principal, PWL Partnership 

Sea level rise

Vancouver is situated on the unceded traditional homelands of xwmə kwəy’əm (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. Vancouver is a coastal community defined by its proximity to the ocean, river, and mountains. We recognize the need to plan for future sea level rise and to make its neighbourhoods more resilient to coastal flooding. 
Learn more about the design challenge