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Who will win this year's $50,000 Margolese National Design for Living Prize?

"The fabric of our lives."

This oft-used phrase speaks to everything from the layout of our neighbourhoods to the healthiness of our workplaces to the ways we get around.

If our days are spent wrapped in a fabric woven of myriad decisions made by others, then why not confer recognition on one person, each year, whose genius and commitment have helped make the fabric of our lives more resilient, more comfortable... more beautiful?

The Margolese National Design for Living Prize does just this.

Each year, UBC's School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture recognizes one Canadian citizen's outstanding contribution to the development or improvement of living environments for Canadians of all economic classes.

The inaugural prize in 2012 went to Eric Miller, a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto whose research (as the SALA site says) "has been on the cutting edge [examining] the interactions between humans, urban land use, transportation and the environment ... [particularly in the area of] modelling .. vehicle emissions, pollutant dispersion, and their exposure to human populations.."

Last year, the prize went to Bing Thom, renowned Vancouver-based architect and urban designer, for his broad vision of placemaking, long history of designing for citizens (not consumers) and also for the social benefits of BTAWorks' research, analysis and public education on current urban issues.

Will 2014 be your year, or the turn for someone whose accomplishments have made a difference in your community?

We know there are a lot of world-changers who read The Tyee. So we're calling on you to pass this around to the urban designers, engineers, architects, planners, community advocates, environmental remediation experts, and others who do great work to make our living environments (urban and rural) better for all.

Who is eligible?

Canadian citizens who have made -- and are still making -- significant contributions to the development or improvement of living environments for Canadians of all economic classes.

What can the prize money be put towards?

The prize is unrestricted, though it is hoped that the funds enable the winning recipient to continue with and build on their work.

But what does 'design for living' mean?

As a Margolese Prize media partner, The Tyee is privileged to help spread word of this opportunity to the widest possible pool of applicants.

We are excited and intrigued by the flexibility inherent in the definition of who is eligible. The next Margolese winner could be an architect or planner, certainly, but also someone whose "design" creates new social arrangements, advocates for solutions, educates, or fashions public art in ways that make life tangibly better.

The Margolese Prize is itself a challenge to how we imagine the creation of positive change. The broadness of its criteria has the potential to catalyze much richer and complex thinking about who is a "designer for living environments" and what can be done to improve people's daily experiences.

Think of the Margolese as Canada's own Nobel Prize for Better Living!

What is required to apply?

The basics: A statement from yourself (if self-nominating) or a nominator, biography, CV, two to three letters of support, and proof of citizenship.

Application Deadline: October 1, 2014

Please visit the UBC Margolese Design for Living Prize site for more detailed application information.

This is part of a Tyee Presents initiative. Tyee Presents is the special section within The Tyee where we highlight contests, events, and other initiatives that are either put on by The Tyee or by our select partners. We choose our partners carefully and consciously, to fit with The Tyee’s reputation as BC’s Home for News, Culture and Solutions. Learn more about Tyee Presents here.

In this Tyee Presents series


Architect Bing Thom

Margolese Prize Winner Bing Thom on the Art of Placemaking

As date to nominate for $50,000 UBC prize approaches, a chat with last year's recipient.

By Adele Weder, 2 Sep 2014