Urban Design Challenge 2020

A student design competition for important sites in Canada's Capital Region. It's official! The jury is in and the winners of the Urban Design Challenge 2020 are...

In keeping with guidelines related to COVID-19 issued by public health authorities, the NCC is not holding any in-person events at this time. The June Urbanism Lab event will be held during the upcoming 2020–2021 season instead. The NCC is taking every step to ensure that it supports the health and safety of its staff, as well as those who participate in NCC activities.

This brings the 2019–2020 Urbanism Lab season to a close. If you’ve missed any of this season’s events, or would simply like to explore some of the topics we’ve covered, past editions of the Lab remain available on our YouTube channel.

The changing face of public commemoration

May 20, 2020 - CANCELLED

Topic: Tracking the evolution of public commemoration as art and event
In the biggest cities and the smallest towns, commemorative symbols occupy spaces from which they remind passersby not to forget. On the 75th anniversary of the Dutch royal family’s first dispatch of 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa, this Lab event turns to the interface between memory and public spaces, and examines how commemoration has evolved over time.

Reconciliation and the city

June 2020 - POSTPONED TO NEXT SEASON, 20202021

Topic: Working toward reconciliation from an urban perspective
How can cities embrace reconciliation? From placemaking to commemorations, employment opportunities and conservation, this Urbanism Lab event explores opportunities to make reconciliation a part of how cities grow and evolve.

Past events

From point A to B, intelligently

September 26, 2019

Topic: Public transportation success stories
In the minds of many, one of the most attractive features of a city is how easy it is to get from point A to point B. Public transit lies at the heart of this equation. As most urban residents are well aware, the growth of the transit network is riddled with opportunities and challenges. This Urbanism Lab event takes you behind the scenes of public transit expansion and modernization to learn about the pitfalls and triumphs you might not read about in the morning news.

The most sustainable buildings in North America

October 24, 2019

Topic: Excellence in the sustainble building design
Take a trip around the continent to visit some of the most visually stunning, innovative and environmentally conscious buildings ever built. At this Urbanism Lab event, speakers from across Canada and the United States will walk you through award-winning designs that elevate sustainability to new heights, and provide a roadmap to making our cities smarter, more livable and resilient.

Scientific research in Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt

November 5, 2019

Topics: Endangered species, green infrastructure and environmental DNA
Did you know that, every year, NCC lands attract scientists from around the world who are working to advance our knowledge of biodiversity and climate change? At this special Urbanism Lab event, scientists will present their research, and discuss some of their findings from Gatineau Park, the Greenbelt and the Capital’s urban lands.

Inclusive urbanism

November 20, 2019

Topic: Perspectives on age, socio-economic status, gender and accessibility in planning
Depending on how they are conceived and allowed to evolve, cities have the terrific potential to bring people together, and the terrible ability to exclude and marginalize. This Urbanism Lab event asks what role urban planning can play in reducing inequities and creating more inclusive neighbourhoods.

Adapting to extremes

January 22, 2020

Topic: Climate change projections and urban adaptation
Climate change is compelling communities around the world to rethink how they build for the future. Part of this process involves mapping out how the climate will affect landscapes and critical infrastructure in the near term and short term. This Urbanism Lab event explores how cities are using climate forecasting to make themselves more resilient to sudden and gradual changes in the natural environment.

The urban geography of race and culture

February 11, 2020

Topic: Ethnic segregation from a historical and a policy perspective
Why do some ethnicities end up geographically segregated from other populations? This Urbanism Lab event explores the history and dynamics of ethnic segregation in the city, from ghettos to ethnic neighbourhoods.

The legacy of planning for Parliament Hill

February 27, 2020

Event presented by Public Services and Procurement Canada
How do you restore and modernize the symbolic heart of Canada? Through careful and thoughtful planning. Parliament Hill is undergoing the most significant redevelopment since the 1916 reconstruction of the Centre Block, the scale of which will not be witnessed again for generations. This special Urbanism Lab event explores the Capital’s rich planning history for Parliament Hill. It will examine the complex planning that led to the projects recently completed in the Parliamentary Precinct as part of its rehabilitation.

Nature as neighbour

March 3, 2020

Topic: Urban coexistence with wildlife
The story of urban wildlife is one of challenges and adaptation, whose outcomes continue to have an outsized effect on the well-being of all city dwellers. This Lab event explores why and how some cities are trying to make themselves more livable for humans and animals alike. Come learn about efforts undertaken in Ottawa and elsewhere to forge safe and sustainable partnerships with nature.

Urbanism Lab 2019-2020 Season

Urbanism Lab 2018-2019 Season

Urbanism Lab 2017-2018 Season


Urbanism Lab Book

Introducing a recap of the Urbanism Lab’s first five lively seasons of programming.