BRC Street Plan Design Competition: Cool, but Totally Unofficial

We recently caught wind of a Black Rock City Street Plan Design Competition hosted by an experienced group of participants calling themselves the Black Rock City Ministry of Urban Planning (BRCMUP). The Burning Man organization has nothing to do with it, but we thought, hey, this could be fun to watch. And then an architecture blog called ArchDaily wrote about the competition on August 16 without doing its journalism homework, so now we have to clear a couple things up.

Burning Man is not involved with this competition, and we aren’t “select[ing] a winner”. The BRCMUP organizers never said we were, either. They say they’ll present their winner to us, and then it’s up to us what we do with it. So the ArchDaily blog post was in error, and it has since been corrected.

As for the contest itself, the official description is worded pretty strongly:

“The final choice of design will rest with bmorg [sic] based on a combination of popularity, logistics and space considerations (including the option to retain the current city plan).”

We love the ingenuity of Burners and are curious to see what they come up with through this competition. We will certainly take a look at all the top designs in this competition, not just the winner, out of curiosity and admiration. The ideas generated by this competition could also be useful to Regional Events, which are in various stages of growth and planning, each with their own location’s design challenges, and we think that’s great. But there are no plans to redesign Black Rock City.

Thanks to BRCMUP for starting an interesting conversation, and we look forward to seeing what comes of it.

(Photo by Ron Lussier)

About the author: Burning Man

Burning Man

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man's Communications Team.

6 Comments on “BRC Street Plan Design Competition: Cool, but Totally Unofficial

  • Slicky says:

    Why try to improve the best planned city in the world?

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    • Adi Neumann says:

      Time means place
      My favorite thing about the current system is that it is the final detail in a world of difference. Even time no longer has the meaning we are so hung up on in our everyday lives. Now it is a location. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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  • One of the BRCMUP organizers here.

    I wanted to point out that what we will be producing via the competition is a book of design patterns ranging from individual elements (street lamps, roundabouts etc) up to macro scale city plans. This, along with voting data and public feedback, will be available as an encyclopedia of design patterns for BRC and regional planners to draw from. We also plan to build an exhibition on the playa next year.

    Unfortunately this got misread by media as a show pony thing and thats not the intent. We would like to see BRCMUP become a platform for urban designers to share and discuss ideas at the micro and macro level and not just for BRC but also regionals as they grow.

    Thanks.

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  • I only want to say one thing and it’s REALLY important: Bpack Rock City plan as currently drawn is a good inspiration of sorts but only works if it’s truly oriented to the solar meridian. If BRC isn’t true solar North oriented the. The whole city plan doesn’t really have true meaning. Sorry, just true. And this is why the yahoo people of the planning community are taking aim at the city design.

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