An Ideas Competition to reimagine recreation, commerce, conservation and life along the Jordan River.

    The purpose of the competition is to re-envision a mid-valley section of the Jordan River Parkway, an urban greenway running through the heart of Salt Lake County, Utah. Local governments and community groups are coming together to encourage big ideas for how more residents and visitors can access and enjoy the Jordan River and surrounding areas.


    This juried competition invites US-based teams (architects, landscape architects, designers, urban planners, engineers, planning/design students, contractors, etc.) to submit innovative and creative ideas that balance conservation with development, link residents and visitors to an ecologically diverse nature corridor, create year-round recreational opportunities, and foster vibrant social gathering places.

    Tackle the range of challenges on your own or form multidisciplinary teams. Bring innovative ideas that demonstrate your team’s unique talents and the best ideas for the competition.

    These challenges (updated since they were originally posted on this website) form the foundation of the criteria that will be used by the jurors to choose the competition award winners; People’s Choice Award finalists, Jury Award and Innovation Awards.


    Create places, not just designs. Activation is more than a physical space, more than a destination. Ideas for activation should add up to more than the sum of the parts; diversity of activities, density and frequency. Activation requires new uses and users, differing but complementary scales, opportunities to gather, and ways for unique users to relate along the river corridor.

    Activation Innovation Award underwritten by the James Lee Sorenson Family Foundation.


    Access is key and successful edges are porous. Connect the parkway to the surrounding communities, emphasizing the opportunities for integration and interaction rather than simply geographic proximity. Cultivate community ties and a sense of stewardship. Consider multiple modes of access and circulation for people and wildlife.

    Connectivity Innovation Award underwritten by Central Valley Water Reclamation Facility.


    Multi-use should be the watchword. Consider the waterway, formal trails, passive use areas, active use infrastructure and multi-use potential. Explore year-round recreation opportunities on a socially equitable basis. Design ideas are important but we’re also looking for cutting edge recreation-based business models that could be located within the competition area.

    Recreation Innovation Award underwritten by the James Lee Sorenson Family Foundation.


    Protect and enhance what’s at the heart of the parkway, the natural corridor. Consider the variety of habitats, the hydrologic cycle, river flow, wetlands, invasive species, native species, wildlife (existing and potential), and the buffers necessary to protect the critical ecological functions and features. Balance the aesthetics, natural elements and safety in an ecologically sustainable way.

    Conservation Innovation Award underwritten by Mark Miller Subaru in partnership with Recycle Utah.


    Greenways are fuel for economic prosperity, it’s conventional wisdom. Consider the positive relationship between well-designed greenways and critical economic indicators. Think about ideas on the spectrum of recreation-oriented, mixed-use, and greenway-supportive bases. Explore development that embraces the surrounding context and is adaptable for future opportunities.

    Economic Prosperity Innovation Award underwritten by Central Valley Water Reclamation Facility.


    Competition entries will be evaluated, scored and ranked by the Jury based on the objectives outlined above and using the following criteria:
    Criterion Available Points
    Compliance with all submission requirements. Pass/Fail
    Innovation and Creativity. Original ideas that capture the imagination and advance our thinking about the challenges. 15
    Feasibility and Practicality. Ideas that are achievable and respect environmental, ownership, and regulatory constraints. 15
    Activation. Ideas that draw people to the corridor through interactive, engaging, and diverse means. 20
    Connectivity. Ideas that foster connection to, through and along the corridor. 20
    Recreation. Ideas for varied types of quality recreation for all to enjoy. 20
    Conservation. Ideas that balance aesthetics, nature and safety in an ecologically sustainable way. 20
    Economic Prosperity. Ideas that adopt principles of thriving economic prosperity, including overall improvement for diverse communities. 20
    Total available points: 130


    The River flows north through the county; from the headwaters at Utah Lake to the north border of Salt Lake county where it eventually empties into the Great Salt Lake.

    The competition area includes a 3.5 mile stretch of the river and is broken into five segments. Teams can focus in one or more geographic segments or present ideas that span the entirety of the competition area.

    the PRIZES

    Entries will be judged on the criteria listed above and the organizers anticipate distributing:







    (One for each challenge topic)
    (Chosen by Jury)

    The jury will choose the most creative and innovative entries as competition finalists and the public is encouraged to vote for the People’s Choice Award winner.

    It will be possible for a single team to win multiple awards.

    Ideas from this competition may be used in master planning and for other government purposes, but the competition does not include a contract award component (please see Terms & Conditions for details).

    the WINNERS

    View All Submissions



    Project Narrative

    Blalock & Partners (Salt Lake City, Utah) and lo|ci (Salt Lake City, Utah)

    Kevin Blalock, Brian Backe, Sean Baron, Chad Parker, Kelly Garfield, Dugan Frehner, Jennifer Lindley, Michael Budge, David Durfee, McKenna Drew


    Jordan Rising

    Project Narrative

    MIG Seattle, Washington

    Brice Maryman, Rick Barrett, Lauren Schmidt, Laura Moran, Mark Brandi, Davin Dawson, Jordan Lewis, Victor Sandoval, Dean Alker, Kyra Czerwinski, Casey Howard, Roman Yanke, Melanie Davies, Cindy Mendoza, Kim Donahue, Ed Canalin, Lia Andrews, Mark de la Torre, Chase Mullen


    Live + Work + Recreate

    Project Narrative

    AJC Architects (Salt Lake City, Utah) Steven Gilbert
    ArcSitio Design (Salt Lake City, Utah) Steve Simmons
    Bonneville Research (Salt Lake City, Utah) Bob Springmeyer


    Reimagine the River's Edge

    Project Narrative

    Landform Design Group (Salt Lake City, Utah)
    Place Alliance Northeast (Amherst, Massachusetts)

    Jason King, Jeff Richardson, Derek Lamb, Benji Williamson , Becky Merkley, Sara Lawler, Andy Bohne, Jeffrey Dawson

    MEET the JURY

    Jenny Wilson

    Mayor Jenny Wilson,
    Salt Lake County

    Mayor Cherie Wood

    Mayor Cherie Wood,
    South Salt Lake

    Spencer J Cox

    Spencer J. Cox,
    Utah Lieutenant Governor

    Sarah Jack Hinners

    Sarah Jack Hinners,
    Director, Center for Ecological Planning and Design University of Utah

    Mayor Jeff Silvestrini

    Mayor Jeff Silvestrini,

    Stephen Goldsmith

    Stephen Goldsmith,
    Board Chairman, Seven Canyons Trust

    Mayor Kristie Overson, Taylorsville

    Scott Peters

    Scott Peters,
    PLA, ASLA, Principal, EPG and Jordan River Foundation Board

    Brandon Stoddard

    Brandon Stoddard,
    Director, Hall Global Entrepreneurship Center, Weber State University

    Jan Striefel

    Jan Striefel,
    PLA, FASLA, FAICP, Founder, Landmark Design

    Bruce Brierley

    Bruce Brierley,
    CEO, Maxtec

    Ron Bigelow

    Mayor Ron Bigelow,
    West Valley City


    The Organizers have a direct stake in the success of the river corridor through land ownership, regulator authority, ongoing investments, and future commitments. They share a common vision for the parkway; one that balances conservation with development, links residents and visitors to the natural world, creates diverse recreational opportunities, and becomes a place of community gathering and neighborhood revitalization.

    Salt Lake County logo
    Jordan River Foundation logo


    Jordan River Commission logo
    millcreek city logo

    West Valley City logo
    South Salt Lake logo

    Taylorsville logo


    Sorenson Impact logo
    Mark Miller Subaru logorecycle utah logo
    utah department of natural resources
    Salt Lake VAlley Water Reclamation Facility