With the bell of the first round still resonating in their ears, five remaining competitors returned from their corners Tuesday and prepared to battle for the title of Isla Vista visionary.
The five finalists in the I.V. Master Plan Design Competition placed their final revised drafts on display last night in Embarcadero Hall. The revamped entries will remain open to public comment and criticism throughout the duration of the public exhibition, which ends Feb. 24.
The competition, which received 29 international entries on Nov. 1 before the five finalists were chosen on Nov. 12, sought to solicit a blueprint for the future development and improvement of I.V. The finalists were chosen by a jury comprised of five community members and five California planning and design professionals, who took public input into account before choosing the finalists.
The five remaining participants each received a $10,000 honorarium in November to fund their revised entries for the second stage of the competition. The competition, which is a part of the [Re] I.V. Master Plan process, will culminate in a formal presentation by the finalists to the jury and the public on Saturday, Feb. 24.
The winner, who will be announced on Feb. 25, will receive an additional $10,000 and an opportunity to negotiate a contract to produce the finalized master plan with the county.
The designs, submitted by the finalists from New York, N.Y., Orlando, Fla., Berkeley, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, attracted a mix of students, I.V. residents, county officials, UCSB administrators and business and property owners to Embarcadero Hall (formerly Isla Vista Beer Company).
Joel Sousa, a junior Spanish major, said the final plan should most importantly address better public transportation systems and beach access.
“Some of them are realistic. The one that wins has to have better beach access, and there is a need for transportation, besides buses,” said. “There are 20,000 people in a square mile, and how many of them don’t have cars? About half, I would say.”
Michael David, a local architect, said if the final master plan correctly addresses transportation and density problems, it could set an example for the rest of Santa Barbara County.
“It’s nice to see that one of the plans integrates a light rail going through the middle of the university and I.V. Regionally, it needs to be considered when looking at the future of I.V because it’s important for the future of Goleta and Santa Barbara,” he said. “Preparations need to be made to handle a lot more density, but make it livable, and I think with good planning it’s totally possible. Seeing all the mixed-use buildings proposed with the apartment above the shops is really a key element.”
Viran Singh, an I.V. property owner, said he is concerned with the proposals that call for the removal of privately owned buildings.
“To be honest, the first thing I’m looking at is what they pencil in and red out,” he said. “I also like the idea of making El Colegio Road a main road. An alternate transportation was suggested a long time ago, and it’s absolutely necessary for students. [I think] UCSB should … guarantee each student one parking space in a parking lot and have a daily transportation system from 7 in the morning until 7 at night.”
Santa Barbara County, UCSB and the I.V. Recreation and Parks District sponsored the competition. Further information regarding the competition or the master plan process can be obtained at http://www.islavistaplan.org.