Life Between Umbrellas FAQs

The following are some of the questions we’ve received in the lead-up to the Life Between Umbrellas competition.

Additional questions can be sent to The competition steering committee will endeavour to respond to questions within in 48 hours. All questions and answers will be posted on this page, and will also be shared, via email, with registered applicants in the competition.


Basketball field in the rain

Why hold a design contest for rain-friendly public spaces?

The goals of Life Between Umbrellas are to improve the opportunities for public life during the rainy months, respond to the challenges that are posed by wet weather, and to encourage a culture of fun, friendly, wet weather activities for residents, workers and visitors to Vancouver.

What are the prizes?

Multiple prizes will be awarded in each stream, with some streams also including prizes for children and youth aged 18 and under. There’s also a design-build opportunity for Stream 2. Requirements associated with each stream are outlined in the Design Brief.

How many designs can I submit?

Each person may submit one design for each contest stream.

Kid playing with rain water
People lining up in the rain

Can anyone submit a design?

The competition is open to anyone interested in making public spaces more rain-friendly. While training in a field such as architecture, landscape architecture, planning, etc. may be helpful, professional affiliation is not required for this competition. Participants under 19 will require a parent or guardian’s consent. Employees of the City of Vancouver or their families may not apply. The competition is not open to elected officials or employees in the City of Vancouver, City of Vancouver employees, or VPSN Board of Directors or project leads.

Who will judge the submissions and choose the winning designs?

A jury comprised of design professionals, sustainability, cultural, social and economic experts, will assist with (a) short-listing, and (b) selecting winners. 

People’s Choice voting will take place in person at various locations around the city. Stay tuned for further event details.

How was the jury selected?

Recognizing that residents from all communities in the city can bring forward valuable perspectives, the demographic composition of the jury aims to reflect the diversity of residents in the city. As the city of Vancouver’s population is diverse in many ways and consists of multiple equity-seeking groups, equity and diversity were considered when selecting the individual jurists and the overall composition of the jury.

Rain as a resource
Walking in the rain

What criteria will be used to select the winning designs?

In general, entries in the three streams will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposal (including the completeness of their entry), and the degree to which the proposal responds to the competition goals and Rain-friendly Principles. Please refer to the judging criteria in the contest brief criteria specific to each contest stream.

When will the winning designs be announced?

Winners will be revealed at a showcase event that will take place in late spring at CityLab (511 W Broadway). Stay tuned for further event details.

Kid on a swing in the rain
Rain protection contest

Who owns the designs? What rights will submitting artists have regarding their designs?

Participants retain ownership of any designs that are submitted, including winning designs. By entering a design into the contest, participants enter into a licensing agreement permitting the City to (a) publicly display the designs, and (b) modify, produce, and install the design in perpetuity.

When will the winning design from the design-build stream be built?

The City aims to advance the winning design toward the build stage, however, timing and feasibility of implementation will depend on a number of factors, e.g., on buildability of the winning design, cost of build, staff resources, etc. The build phase will likely be funded as part of the implementation of new public space projects.