More Awesome Now has won the 2019 IOC IAKS Bronze Award from the international sports community.!
Laneways make up around 30% of downtown Vancouver, many of them serving important business functions. For most of the day, however, they remain unused. More Awesome Now, designed in collaboration between hcma, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) and the City of Vancouver, transforms these underutilized laneways into engaging public spaces.
One of the laneways is Alley-Oop on Granville and West Hastings in the business district. It comes with basketball hoops and hopscotch courts, while its bright, pink-and-yellow walls has also made it a popular Instagram haunt.
A few blocks away, behind Orpheum Theatre, is Ackery’s Alley, named after the Orpheum’s famous impresario and manager, Ivan Ackery. The alley features a red ground, walls painted with an ‘S’ pattern, and gold panels, plus an interactive light installation called FIELD, which we crowdfunded to create.
The project is a result of Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver, a public engagement project by the DVBIA where more than 11,000 people shared what they wanted for the city. Among those ideas was the need for more welcoming public spaces, and More Awesome Now was born.
People from all walks of life are now using the laneways, from servicepersons and commuters, to professionals, students, and tourists. Since opening in 2016, hourly traffic at Alley-Oop has more than doubled, while the number of female users has increased by 50%.
Of the 98 entries submitted from 14 countries, seven facilities were recognized by the jury with the Gold award, six with Silver, and seven with Bronze. The award, presented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) is considered one of the world’s top international prizes for sports, leisure, and recreational facilities. The IPC IAKS Distinction, presented to sports facilities with accessible features, was also awarded to five participants.
Read more about More Awesome Now.