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Fionn Byrne / Stephanie Braconnier

CHANGE IN COMMON Climate Change and the Future of the Yard

The University of British Columbia School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture


2019/20 Winter Session Term 2 Studio Report


This course was held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.

2019/20 Winter Session Term 2 LARC 502 Design Studio II Braconnier & Byrne

Studio Instructors Stephanie Braconnier, Fionn Byrne Students Anjani Batra, Vicky Cen, Ben Eisenberg, Josh Fender, Emma Gosselin, Kelly Kang, Berend Kessler, Ivana Lexa-French, Zhijie Ma, Prashi Malik, Christen Oakes, Kevin Parsons, Jennifer Reid, Chris Rothery, Kendra Scanlon, Max Slater, Marije Stryker, Jingzhou Sun, Jenny Tang, Sara Tavakoli, Kimberly Wong, Beau Wuthrich, Jordan Yule, Noora Yunus, Suzy Zhan, Yaying Zhou Guest Critics Rebecca Anderson, Danielle Berwick, Taylor Boisjoli, Emily Knox, Tom Kwok, Eason Li, Annie Liang, Kees Lokman, Kaitlyn Pelletier, Jonah Susskind, Ding Yu, Kristina Zalite, David Zielnicki Studio Contributors Ileana Costrut, CityStudio Vancouver Projects Coordinator, Kelly Gardner, CityStudio Vancouver Projects Coordinator, Andrea Wickham, City of Vancouver, senior Green Building Planner Guest Speakers Ryan Vasseur, Architek, Jedidiah Gordon-Moran


CHANGE IN COMMON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE FUTURE OF THE YARD Fionn Byrne Stephanie Braconnier

The University of British Columbia School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture


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Foreword Andrea Wickham and Kelly Gardner

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Introduction Susan Herrington

18

Private property and collective responsibility Fionn Byrne

Projects 22

Hastings

180

Langara

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FenceÂł Berend Kessler, Ivana Lexa-French

184

De - Reconstruction Anjani Batra, Prashi Malik

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Cross-Pollination Kimberly Wong, Jordan Yule

204

Crisis Commons Jennifer Reid, Noora Yunus

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Kingsway

224

Quilchena

68

Omniate Christen Oakes, Kendra Scanlon

228

Hypernature Emma Gosselin, Jingzhou Sun

92

Green Capillaries Max Slater, Beau Wuthrich

252

Alice’s Return Zhijie Ma, Suzy Zhan

116

Kensington

274

Point Grey

120

The Plot Thickens Chris Rothery, Ben Eisenberg

278

Decomposition and Renewal Kevin Parsons, Yaying Zhou

138

Shared Boundary Joshua Fender, Kelly Kang

294

Capra Tilapia Marije Stryker, Sara Tavakoli

154

Fraserview

158

The Moving Canopy Vicky Cen, Jenny Tang


>

Figure 1: The City of Vancouver is predominately zoned as OneFamily Dwellings, especially in the land encircling the downtown core. Adapted from City of Vancouver, Property parcel polygons (April 27, 2020) and rendered by Fionn Byrne.


FOREWORD

The City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan established a series of ambitious goals to help Vancouver to become the greenest city in the world, and focus on climate action was renewed with the declaration of a climate emergency in 2019. In 2020, the City launched a public engagement process to develop the Vancouver Plan, a city-wide plan that will help shape Vancouver in the future.

The City recognizes the importance of engagement and partnerships with a range of groups to best explore how we might achieve our climate and city building goals together. This document highlights one such partnership – between City staff, the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and CityStudio Vancouver. This project explored ideas of how residents might consider using private assets (the yard) to improve environmental performance for the collective whole.

Through this partnership, the City was looking to explore original, creative ideas that were still grounded and implementable. Students situated highly creative thinking in constraints such as >

Mayor L.D. Taylor judging squash-growing contest, 1925. City of Vancouver Archives. AM1477-1-S5: CVA 1477-121

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neighbourhood plans, zoning, utilities infrastructure but also in progressive contextual considerations such as reconciliation.

The City sought imaginative solutions for the tiny piece of land that when viewed incrementally has the potential to have a real role to play in meeting current and future climate demands. CityStudio Vancouver provided a space to do this thinking, and link to the right people. The students delivered fresh experimentation and insight. It was a rich collaboration.

ANDREA WICKHAM Senior Green Building Planner, City of Vancouver

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FOREWORD

CityStudio Vancouver is an innovation hub that unites City staff, students, faculty and community to co-create experimental projects that make Vancouver more sustainable, liveable, joyful, and inclusive. As a Canadian charity, we exist to help cities and schools work together, filling a common gap in cities around the world. The mission of CityStudio is to inspire students to become social innovators and change makers who can engage and improve their cities.

As one of our major collaborating partners, in Vancouver, we have worked with the University of British Columbia to bring community-based, experiential learning opportunities to students since 2011, collaborating with 1,664 UBC students and 119 faculty members. CityStudio Vancouver is proud to have hosted its 5th course collaboration with the UBC School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture the semester of Spring 2020. The Landscape Architecture Design Studio II cohort partnered with CityStudio Vancouver and the City of Vancouver Sustainability Group to examine innovative interventions to help the City address its Greenest City Action Plan goals. As part of their coursework, >

Miss Francis Leigh and Ken Mair, in their garden, 1930. City of Vancouver Archives. AM1535: CVA 99-2106

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students worked together with the

process demonstrating their ingenuity,

City staff to co-create pilot projects for

determination, and resilience in the

the benefit of community. These SALA

production of this original body of work.

student’s provided thoughtful and original

We believe that bringing SALA students to

solutions for how the City could inspire

the table of city-building is an important

residents to transform their yards to help

opportunity for civic engagement, service

Vancouver become the Greenest City.

and creativity. With these projects they develop career skills while collaborating

This project idea was developed during

on innovative solutions for the benefit of

CityStudio Vancouver’s annual Project

all.

Development session, which brings together City staff to identify and

-

develop project concepts that further

KELLY GARDNER

Vancouver’s strategic aims. We were

Projects Coordinator,

excited to match the City staff and their

CityStudio Vancouver

project idea with the SALA Studio course as it was a strong fit between city needs and faculty expertise. We were proud to present a number of these final projects at HUBBUB, a celebratory showcase where students, City staff, citizens and elected officials connect to make these solutions permanent.

At CityStudio Vancouver, we learn by doing and following an idea. We experiment with our hands and take risks. We struggle and learn together. This semester, students in the SALA studio class participated wholeheartedly in this

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>

Figure 2: View of house and yard at 4573 W 13th Ave, 1914. City of Vancouver Archives. AM54-S4-: SGN 1097.08


INTRODUCTION

Change in Common: Climate change and the future of the yard represents the culmination of graduate student work in the studio course LARC 502. Within UBC‘s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, LARC 502 provides the second core studio in the master of landscape architecture program and the dual degree program (master of architecture and landscape architecture degree). This core studio expands upon the application of space- and form-generating concepts and techniques through examination of landscape typologies, site interpretations, and numerous other analytical methods. These investigations have culminated in spatial and experiential programs and design strategies that enhance sustainability.

Under the leadership of assistant professor Fionn Byrne, and with assistance from SALA adjunct faculty member, Stephanie Braconnier, students were asked to demonstrate how landscape architects might reshape the urban fabric of the city to make it more resilient to ecological and cultural change. This year’s studio addressed climate change and the common land use typology: the yard. Ubiquitous to >

Children playing on a swing in the backyard at 2119 West 42nd Avenue, 1915. City of Vancouver Archives. AM505-S1: CVA 660-31

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Vancouver and many other North American

and rights-of-way at the end of the block.

neighbourhoods, the yard–its care and the

One group challenged the perceived

activities it affords–is often overlooked

rootedness of plants with a moveable

as a site for ecological and communal

feast for the neighbourhood. Soil, too, was

contributions. The propositions offered in

examined as a vital material foundational

Change in Common: Climate change and

to many ecosystems connected to yards.

the future of the yard demonstrates how

All projects envisioned the typically static

this landscape typology is ripe for re-

yard as a dynamic site latent with social

evaluation as key to combating biodiversity

and cultural possibilities.

loss, economic inequality, waste, the heat island effect, and social polarization.

At a time when many Vancouverites seldom venture beyond their yards, this

Students collaborated with CityStudio

work reveals the hidden potentials of the

Vancouver as part of their efforts to help

yard. In doing so, Fionn Byrne, Stephanie

develop a City-wide Plan for Vancouver

Braconnier and the students of LARC 502

that envisions a healthy, livable, and

give us great hope for a landscape just

sustainable urban environment. Treating

outside our doorsteps.

the yard as a microcosmic unit duplicated across the city, students worked in pairs.

-

Each pair tackled one of seven different

SUSAN HERRINGTON

neighbourhoods: Hastings, Kingsway,

Professor and Chair,

Kensington, Fraserview, Langara,

Landscape Architecture Program

Quilchena, and Point Grey. Several

School of Architecture and

proposals sought to transform divisions

Landscape Architecture

commonly found it yards, such as fences,

University of British Columbia

into spaces for interaction in the practice of ecological and social reparation. Many projects went beyond the boundaries of the yard to include interventions of bioswales and native plantings in laneways

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max. coverage 1584 sqft

lot area 4026 sqft

min. yard area 2442 s

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Figure 3: Minimum yard area: For RS-1 zoning, the maximum site coverage can be no greater than 40% of the site area. This leaves 60% of the total site area as yard and available landscape.


sqft

June 21, noon

June 21, 3 pm

June 21, 9 am

Adapted from City of Vancouver, RS-1 Explanatory Notes (August 26, 2019) and drawn by Fionn Byrne.


PRIVATE PROPERTY AND COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY

The development of what would later become the city of Vancouver began in earnest after 1885 with the completion of the transcontinental railway, when the Canadian Pacific Railway began selling land around the terminus of the rail line that had been granted to them by the British Crown. The course of development followed a well-rehearsed colonial process. The Crown provided land grants, engineers and surveyors measured and subdivided the territory, and settlers laid claim. The military enforced the right to the division of land and protected those who settled, at times violently removing previous occupants. 1

The Royal Engineers and Canadian Pacific Railway surveyors measured out and subdivided the land into the regular grid of lots that exists nearly unchanged to this day. What’s more is that the original parcelization continued to influence the city’s fabric as it developed. As a result, most of Vancouver has been subdivided with a uniform reductive and placeless system of measure established to accommodate the housing of settlers (Fig. 2). Key to understanding this system is a nearly obsolete measuring tool called >

Exterior of Rev. J.W. Pedley and Mrs. Charlotte Ellen Reed Pedley’s residence at 710 Richards Street, 1888. City of Vancouver Archives. AM54-S4: Bu P112

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the “chain.” At 66 feet in length, this is the

remained largely intact, the form and use

basic unit of the urban form. Typical city

of the yard has drastically changed over

blocks are 6 chains long by 4 chains wide.

the years. 4 For example, the city’s typical

Blocks are divided into 12 parcels along

dimensions were set in place years before

the long side, which means each is 33

the average resident would own a car, and

feet wide. The short side of the block, on

so the yard shifted from accommodating a

the other hand, is divided with two back-

horse to parking an automobile. Likewise,

to-back parcels of 2 chains each. After

a once common practice of raising

subtracting a 20-foot laneway, 10 feet from

livestock on one’s property has been

each side, each parcel is then 122 feet

replaced by a trip to the grocery store.

deep (Fig. 3). 2

J.B. Jackson tracked these changes in his influential essay The Popular Yard and

The base unit found across every electoral

concluded that “the front yard has now

district of the city of Vancouver is this long

become a space dedicated to showing

enduring 122 x 33 foot residential parcel

that we are good citizens, responsible

of land. Incredibly, while at last count only

members of the community. What goes on

15% of dwelling units are single-detached

the in the back yard is strictly private, and

houses, an overwhelming majority, upward

the palisade around it protects the family

of 80%, of the city’s residential land is

from inquisitive eyes.” 5 Cynthia Girling

3

zoned single-family (Fig. 1). In other

and Kenneth Helphand would come to the

words, individual residents claim private

same conclusion several years later in

ownership over most of the land in the city

their book Yard, Street, Park: The Design

of Vancouver. This private from of land,

of Suburban Open Space. They stated,

irrespective of use, is called the “yard.”

“the yard is not just territory, but a means

The front yard, side yards, and back yard

to personalize one’s environment and to

are each rigorously defined by zoning by-

signify participation in the community.” 6 It

laws in conjunction with, and as an inverse

is precisely this concept, of how the yard

to, the building envelope.

reflects what it means to be a responsible member of the community today, that is

While the physical structure of the city has

the subject of this studio publication.

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The yard provides an opportunity to

1.

For a more comprehensive history

explore the responsibility of individual

of the development of Vancouver

residents to the collective challenges

see Lance Berelowitz, Dream City:

facing our society. For example, while

Vancouver and the Global Imagination

the first residents of Vancouver did not concern themselves with climate change,

(Douglas & McIntyre, 2005), 40. 2.

For a more comprehensive history of

today we face the extinction of species and

the Vancouver street-grid system see

a warming climate. We ask ourselves, what

Berelowitz, 45.

is the form and appearance of responsible

3.

For more statistics see City of

actions that community members can take

Vancouver, Housing Characteristics

within their yards to address these issues?

Fact Sheet (April 30, 2017) and Glenda

Although we can lament the commitment

Luymes, “Too many bedrooms: Single-

of so much dubiously claimed land to

family zoning contributes to housing

private and individual ownership, within

shortage, UBC expert says” Vancouver

this spatial reality and power structure

Sun, October 1, 2017.

we can still ask, what new uses of the

4.

See for example J.B. Jackson, “The

yard are possible? The projects presented

Popular Yard,” Places 4, no.3 (1987):

here use landscape design as a method of

27.

research to explore the future of the yard.

5.

Ibid., 29.

6.

Cynthia L. Girling and Kenneth I.

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Helphand, Yard, Street, Park: The

FIONN BYRNE

Design of Suburban Open Space (Wiley, 1994), 25.

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Study Area 1

HASTINGS

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Lakewood Dr

Venables St

Parker St

23

Templeton Dr


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FENCE 3 Thresholds as dynamic spaces

Edge conditions are traditional boundary markers. They delineate spaces, separating the household from the neighbourhood and the private from the public. Implanted with solid foundations or deep roots, they are often static and immovable. In natural ecosystems, however, the edge is often the most dynamic; a space where various communities and processes overlap to engage with one another. As humans shape a world of growing polarity and uncertainty, adaptability is resilience and multifunction is strength. Our proposal seeks to challenge static boundaries within our neighbourhoods, spaces and minds, examining the edge as a place not only of division but of transformation and connection. We reimagine boundary spaces as a point of departure, turning to the typical single-family residential lot and its most ubiquitous and unfulfilled landscape typology — the fence. Our proposal, Fence³ (F³), explores the possibilities of flexible and dynamic physical boundaries. The premise is an alternative fence system that can be stacked, turned, built and rebuilt in any direction to provide

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vertical and horizontal planting space. While a series of familiar fence posts provide necessary structure, the fence is largely comprised of movable, modular units. Constellations of these units can modify and adapt to sunlight, water flow, privacy, connection and cooperation and can be rearranged in response to changing seasons, social connections or simple curiosity. Laid along property lines, it adapts to three dimensions and, as neighbours engage through its malleable qualities, impacts a fourth — the social fabric. F³ provides a medium through which a single-family household can directly participate within larger cycles of human, plant and animal processes. The project sharpens its focus to incorporate edible and pollinator plantings, wild-bee habitats and vermiculture compost. Urban Potential The over-winter survival rate of wild bees is over 36% higher in urban areas than rural areas, largely due to the widespread use of agricultural pesticides. Intensive farming rapidly degrades topsoil, reducing


Ivana Lexa-French Berend Kessler

populations of soil organisms such as earth worms. The urban residential fabric becomes a possible sanctuary for these and other crucial species. With increasing urban sprawl, our project identifies the potential of the suburban household as a foundation of support for the broader ecosystems, of which our species and others depend.

reveals a preference for a physical barrier on all sides of the property. A minority of homes have no barriers between their front yard and the street. Some barriers are ornamental with an aesthetic intention occasionally matched by the rest of their yard. Cedar fencing is found in various shades of disrepair while many households favour a low-height chain-link fence.

The study site giving context to our analysis and subsequent intervention is located within a typical city block in the Hastings electoral district. It is situated four blocks south of East Hastings Street in a distinctly residential neighbourhood comprised primarily of older single-family homes. A laneway runs east-west cutting through the block — a condition typical of Vancouver. Most of the properties have medium to large back yards with a garage or shed adjacent to the laneway. Some of the yards are tended to and read as active spaces with raised beds and planting areas, while others receive less attention and have minimal planting. The threshold of the fence remains a common denominator.

We conclude that while households generally prefer a physical barrier between themselves, their neighbours and the wider community, there is room for extraordinary new possibilities in what this barrier looks like and, more importantly, what it can do.

A study of thresholds at the block-scale

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Hastings

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Questioning boundaries: Re-imagining rules and expectations of built space where new interactions and benefactors emerge.

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FenceÂł

>

Context plan: A typical block in Vancouver.

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Through the eyes of bees: Purple, blue, yellow and white are the most attractive colours to bees.

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Hastings

A

Site Plan

Lakewood w Drive

C

D

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Block plan: Existing conditions at the block scale.

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FenceÂł

B

Temp T Te e leton Drive

Venaables Str St eet

Parker eerr Stree treett

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Hastings

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Section A: Existing conditions.

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Section B: Existing conditions.

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Site photo: Disjointed boundaries.

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FenceÂł

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Site photo: Opportunity zone.

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Hastings

A sun and rain study on a section of the block supports thresholds as zones of opportunity. On average, they receive more sun and account for a large amount of space within a properties' boundaries. In this space, FÂł would respond with edible and pollinator plantings, compost units and the intermittent placement of bee-houses. While honeybees live in colonies, wild bees are solitary, and the fence provides ample distance and elevation within the urban environment. Plantings of 4 square feet are more effective at attracting pollinators, so we propose additional wildflower plantings on lawns and green roofs to enhance this localized system. In sum, the effects would reverberate across block, neighbourhood and regional scales.

Surface run-off Groundwater flow Infiltration Seasonal sun shadow Pollen transfer Nutrient transfer Rainwater capture

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Site photo: Existing boundaries.

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FenceÂł

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Site plan: Seasonal sun and rain studies and diagrammatic illustration of pollen, nutrient and water transfers.

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Hastings

As a radical departure from the conventional fence typology, FÂł has a profound impact on the social fabric of residential life. It expands the definition of community to include lifeforms very different from ourselves who nonetheless provide services crucial to the well-being of our ecosystems and survival of our species. The design conceptually and practically situates humans as conscious, active and responsible members of these natural cycles, heightening awareness around the processes of

Ho use

ho ld

Ne

igh

bo

urh

ood

Eco sys tem

waste and renewal.

>

It starts at the bottom: Every household has the potential to strengthen and support larger systems and communities.

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FenceÂł

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Bee and man: Neighbours can be all sorts of lifeforms.

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Hastings

>

Section C, evolution of the fence: The gradual replacement of chain-link with the modular units of FÂł.

The F³ base unit is a hollow rectangular box comprised of four pieces wood — new or upcycled. The unit could be prefabricated or assembled on-site by owner or contractor. The resulting volume has three cavities on top and bottom that can receive planting and bee habitat inserts or posts to form the basic structure of the fence. The base unit measures 60x20x20 centimetres.

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Assembly diagram: Base unit.

>

>

Exploded diagram: Base unit.


FenceÂł

Organic food and yard waste is fed into the top and worms break this down into worm-castings, a rich form of solid fertilizer that can be retrieved from the bottom. Nutrients in worm-castings are highly water soluble. A water inlet allows collected rainwater to be poured into the unit, percolate through the worm-castings and produce a liquid fertilizer called ‘worm-tea’. Worm tea collects at the base of the unit where a tap can easily fill a watering can for distribution to plantings on the fence or elsewhere.

1

2

1. Food & yard waste 2. Vermiculture compost 3. Worm castings 4. Filter to contain soil 5. Filter to contain small worms 6. Compost tea 7. Base

4 5 6

7

Vermiculture compost unit.

>

>

Bee habitat insert: 4-8 millimetre holes attract a variety of wild bees

3

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Hastings

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Section D, little by little: Individual units are attached to an existing fence and wildflower seeds are sewn in the lawn.

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Colours in the rain: The preferred purples and blues of bees complement grey Vancouver skies.

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FenceÂł

Proposed Planting Palette Fence: Basil Borage Crocus Chives Fennel Lavender Lemon balm

Marjoram Mint Oregano Rosemary Thyme

Roof / Lawn: Alfalfa Aster Black-eyed Susan Borage Catmint Cranesbills

Cornflower Coneflower Fleabane Heather Hyssop Primrose Yarrow

>

Bees welcome: The neighbourhood invites pollinators to stay.

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Hastings

The relationship between neighbours is central to human communities and is delineated by the yard and the fence. FÂł allows for neighbours to work together maintaining the fence system through planting, providing habitat and using a shared compost unit. We propose that sharing ecological responsibility with neighbours strengthens and redefines bonds between them, as well as the environmental processes and actors they depend on. By interacting with the threshold and across it, we speculate how this reimagination may change our interaction with boundaries all together.

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Worm tea party: A toast to a stronger community.

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FenceÂł

Founding

Stacking

Planting

Connecting

Adapting

Engaging

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Hastings

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FenceÂł

>

Growing together: The modularity of Fence 3 might ultimately lead to multiple households to connect their yards.

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CROSSPOLLINATION Reimagining back yards as moments in the greater landscape

The existing consumption-waste cycle in Vancouver and around the world enables an ongoing societal disconnect from the realities of the materials we use and dispose of, never to be seen again. The present system — wherein we bring goods into our homes and then discretely dispose of packaging and waste in containers to be hauled off by government services to no particular use elsewhere — is not only unsustainable but absurd. In a world of limited resources and continually growing demand, the need for households and communities to become more conservative, or even cyclically self-sufficient, is urgent. Our proposal draws inspiration from Vancouver’s Zero Waste 2040 strategy and the Vancouver Biodiversity Strategy to critically examine the current lack of connection to our community and environment. We suggest that the aforementioned disconnect with the materiality of the products we use is also present in the household’s relationship with its immediate environment. The back yard as we know it today is a misuse of valuable land that might otherwise contribute to

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the cycle of growth and decomposition that directly or indirectly provides for our needs on a day-to-day basis. Some of the questions we asked were: •

To what extent might dismantling physical boundaries between private lots invoke a greater communal ownership of the land? How might we repair the disconnect between residents and local flora and fauna? How might we integrate today’s waste cycle into the locally visible landscape?

We propose a step-by-step program to reinvent and ultimately dissolve the edge conditions between private lots. By removing fences, installing pollinator hedges and deploying a strategy where residents may reuse and recycle their waste for private and community benefit, we believe that communal use of the land between humans, animals, and plantlife will result, benefiting all involved. Furthermore, we believe that making the lot boundaries porous will activate the alley-ways as enhanced community space.


Kimberly Wong Jordan Yule

Our present concept of “the fence” is a single-purpose solution that under performs with regard to ecosystem infrastructure or even private utility. However, we also recognize that the private utility it does provide as an agent for privacy and some security is valued by residents. We therefore propose rethinking fences as spaces of enhanced utility and function, whilst maintaining a physical presence. By integrating a reuse of “waste” material into the creation of “units” that serve particular ecological functions, the edge conditions of lots become valuable conduits for wildlife and customizable utilities for humans. Units and pollinator hedgerows are woven into a semi-porous membrane along the present fence-line, altered and manipulated for optimal utility.

that this strategy seeks to encourage. We hope that over time the units encourage community engagement that transcends private plot lines and creates community spaces to be enjoyed by all.

Our study deploys half-a-dozen unit schematics to inspire and demonstrate a small sample of what might be possible using material formerly considered waste. The examples include “Bicycle Generator”, “Bee Pod Hotel”, “Critter Gallery”, “Owl Composter Toilet”, “Woodpecker Diversion”, and “Swallow Resort”. These were formulated and illustrated whimsically to emphasize the personality and creativity

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Hastings

>

Context plan.

The site is a single block located in the Hastings electoral district. It is located in a mainly residential area between two commercial hubs; (East Hastings Street to the north and Commercial Drive to the west). The houses are positioned on a rectangular grid pattern, typical of many neighbourhoods in Vancouver. L wood Driive Lake

The median building age on this block is 98 years. The average home values dropped $179,996 from 2019 to 2020. (BC Assessment, 2020)

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Site plan.

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Cross-Pollination

Templeton Drive

Venables Vena ena Strreeet e

Parker Street

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Hastings

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Subject block photos: Alleyways.

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Cross-Pollination

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Subject block photos: Edges.

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Hastings

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Sun and rain study: 2136 Venables Street, Vancouver. North side of block. Opportunity zones in pink.

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Cross-Pollination

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Sun and rain study: 2155 Parker Street, Vancouver. South side of block. Opportunity zones in pink.

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Hastings

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Existing garbage truck

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Existing waste bins

How do we define “normal”? On the same day every week, residents sort their waste into bins — garbage, compost/yard waste, paper recycling, plastic recycling, and glass recycling — and set them at the edge of their property. Following this, large trucks generally unnoticed by residents drive down alleys with workers darting in and out, emptying designated bins into the truck as they go from door to door. When the residents are back home they roll their empty bins back into their yards and start the cycle over again. Physical lot boundaries clearly separate private and public space; municipal programs clearly divide belongings from trash. Our prototypes propose that we critically redefine “normal”.

Umbrella, 2m

Monitor Pole, 1.7m

Waterproof panel roof

Bicycle, 1.7m

Pole, 2m

Power Cable Camera to display

Table Stabilizing Foot

Generator

Bench, 2m

Cable to other unit Camera

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Critter gallery: View photos of who lives under the bench.

>

>

Bicycle generator: Exercise while powering other units.


Cross-Pollination

Owl house, 0.8m

Pulley

Space below entrance, 15cm Scarecrow

Log Pole, 6m

Pole

Pole, 4.5m

Misc. Material Composter, 2m

Stopper Misc. Material Composter, 2m

Drainage holes for compost liquid to drip into planter

Drainage holes for compost liquid to drip into planter

Lever

Misc. Material Planter Bed, 2m

Misc. Material Planter Bed, 2m

Woodpecker diversion: Peck this, not my house.

>

>

Owl composter toilet: Owl house-compost-planter tribrid.

Goard swallow house, 28cm

Space below entrance hole, 4cm Bird bath bathtub, 1.5m

Umbrella

Pole, 2.7m

Pole, 5m

Nesting tubes, 7.9mm diameter

Plug Lever to (un)plug tub

Bucket for nest material

Shower head to dispense overflow Mason bee house, 0.4m

Escallonia x exoniensis ‘Fradesii’ Vaccinium ovatum Pink Princess Escallonia Evergreen huckleberry

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Swallow resort: Repel mosquitoes; engage their enemies.

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Bee pod hotel: Attract and protect native pollinators.

Nandina domestica Heavenly bamboo

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Victoria’ Victoria California Lilac

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Pollinator hedgerow: Semi-permeable divider between yards that provides food and habitat for local pollinators.

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Hastings

1

2

1.

Community compost and garbage pick-up moved to end

2.

Beta tester households and community workshop.

3.

All fences taken down and flowering shrubs planted.

4.

Community recycler installed and garbage units deployed

5.

Waste sorting and reuse area grows into community

of alley.

3

across block. space.

>

Phasing strategy for deployment over time.

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4


Cross-Pollination

5

57


Hastings

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Cross-Pollination

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Hastings

>

Section, after: View of the alley (south facing).

>

Section, before: View of the block (east facing).

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Cross-Pollination

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Hastings

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Final implementation: Perspective view down the alley (facing east).

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Cross-Pollination

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Study Area 2

KINGSWAY

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Lillooet St

E 15th Ave

E 16th Ave

65

Windermere St


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OMNIATE

We exist in an epoch orchestrated by capitalism, which is not only a globally dominant economic system but also an organizational framework that defines our relationships to self and nature. 1 This epoch, called the Capitalocene, assumes the right and ability of humans to alter, control, access and hold dominion over that which is non-human. It also perpetuates the alienation of humans from the web of interconnected life while removing their reciprocal responsibilities to and with other critters. The alienation of our species is expressed by physical, emotional, spiritual, and social trauma. We have constructed the urban landscape as a mechanism which separates us from interactions with and an understanding of natural processes and non-human entities. In Vancouver this is evident through the historical destruction of creeks in favour of development, a landfill that is nearing capacity and the continued overflow of raw sewage into natural water bodies. We advocate for interventions that integrate ideas of the ecological and the social in the hope that by redefining

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relations between humans and nonhumans and cultivating connection to land and natural systems we might fight both human alienation and ecological losses. How might the residential urban landscape facilitate a “reparation ecology� in the Kingsway area and heal trauma in land and human bodies? 2 Omniate consists of two municipally implemented interventions that work across both private and public land. The first intervention supports recent efforts by Metro Vancouver to restore salmon spawning habitat in Still Creek by introducing a series of bio-structures to act as an experiential stormwater management installation. It makes use of the rights-of-way that cap each end of Kingsway’s prototypical blocks by converting them into zones for stormwater infiltration and habitat enhancement. Over time the installation will completely biodegrade, allowing vegetation to overtake the site and new species to inhabit the rights-of-way. The incremental decrease of human access reinforces the idea that perhaps we can build some


Christen Oakes Kendra Scanlon

places in our cities that are not for “us,� slowly prioritizing non-human wellbeing over the human experience. Next we present a policy change that abolishes the green bin program, requiring each household in RS-1 zones to manage food and organic waste on their property. This policy brings ritual (as a repeatable, embodied process that fosters connection with something greater than self) to food waste cycling, encouraging individual reconnection to land and food systems. By seeing topographic change proportional to household masses of food waste, this policy forces the individual to confront their own place in larger systems of food production.

1.

2.

Jason W. Moore and Raj Patel, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet (University of California Press, 2017), 3. Ibid., 207.

Omniate activates both private and public residential land to alter conventional relations between humans and nonhumans. It addresses alienation and ecological losses by re-cultivating human connections to land and natural systems.

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Kingsway

STILL CREEK

CASE STUDY

KINGSWAY

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BURNABY

VANCOUVER

BRUNETTE DRAINAGE AREA


Omniate

BURNABY LAKE

Context map: Kingsway is a part of the larger Brunette Drainage Area that empties into Still Creek. Opportunities exist across the entire area for improved stormwater management.

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Stormwater Stormwat m mw er Manag Management a ement

Kingsway

Diagrams (top right): Quantifying the impact and potential of food waste and rainwater harvest. Case study block plan (right): The ends of the block provide opportunities for stormwater management. Individual back yards provide opportunity for the personal, ritualized management of food waste.

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The Avoider T Th h e Avoi v id deer er

The hee Gardener G Gard ener err

Mourner Thee M T Th Mour Mo Mou u n nerr

The T hee A h Artist Art Arti Ar rrtt st

Omniate

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Kingsway

Experiential stormwater management: This installation consists of a series of bio-structures which are placed on rights-ofway. They catch water in small “tidal pools� along their bases, where it evaporates, infiltrates, or wicks up into the structures. The woven polymer material biodegrades, releasing implanted seeds which may grow from the structures or fall to the surface below. Rammed earth stepping stones lead the way through the site and degrade slowly. Storm water funneled from the adjacent lane, streets, and properties is returned directly into the water table, limiting the stormwater released in Still Creek and encouraging salmon habitat along the waterway.

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Omniate

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Kingsway Year 1

Year 10

Year 50

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Temporal sections: The structures and pathway slowly biodegrade to form areas of increased infiltration, maximum habitat, and limited human access.

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Omniate

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The human experience: The first few years allow passage of humans through the structures, while stormwater infiltrates below.

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Kingsway

A change in policy: To address the alienation of urbandwelling people from land and food systems, the requirement to remediate our own food waste creates an opportunity for ritualistic reflection on the individual’s larger role in the environment. The city recommends we dig small holes in our back yard on a weekly basis. Households will approach this task in a variety of ways. We have identified four archetypes that describe possible approaches to ritualizing and managing food waste. The ways in which each household responds to the task at hand will result in new forms across the urban landscape.

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Omniate

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Kingsway

The Avoider: At first, the typical homeowner resorts to tactics that attempt to tuck waste out of view from the neighbours’ watchful eyes. This adaptation is the least labour-intensive method. It remarks upon the tension between what we consume and what we discard; we aim to avoid and forget. The pile will grow, eventually changing the landscape of their yard and gently forcing them to confront their food waste.

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Omniate

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Sections: Over time, even avoided waste will become fruitful plots for growth, including some volunteer vegetables that sprout from the scraps.

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Kingsway

The Gardener: This approach proposes what to many of us is the most obvious answer to having an excess of compostable material on hand: they take a horticultural approach and use their food waste to grow new food. Their yard becomes a series of large garden beds, increasing in number the longer the policy is in place. They can supplement their diets with homegrown food, and may have enough to give away to friends and neighbours.

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Omniate

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>

Sections: A dedicated approach to stewarding the land. Relationships to land and self begin to flourish.

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Kingsway

The Artist: With every new medium there is an opportunity. The artist sees food waste as a material for creating new artbased land forms. These forms will shift and change as more material is added. Vanity does not escape hard work. The artist leverages their work for social clout.

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Omniate

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Sections: Documenting the shifting land becomes a new attachment to understanding waste. Eventually, plant growth takes over.

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Kingsway

The Mourner: Recognizing all that we have lost in the urban world, this approach takes ritualism to heart. They bury food waste weekly, fully embodying the process while reflecting on their role in greater systems. The weekly ritual is revealed in successive rows upon rows of small grave-like mounds.

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Omniate

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Sections: Treating each week’s waste as an offering, the mourner sees the resulting growth as point of spiritual connection.

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Kingsway

20 Years: When Omniate is implemented over a prototypical Kingsway block, biomass accumulates and land is reallocated from human to non-human habitat. Creative landforms emerge as homeowners adapt to the new policy and new relationships between residents, land, and food form. The rights-of-way at the end of the block are now giving way to native vegetation. Non-humans are slowly claiming the space as their own. The image of this block as a sea of hardscaping and lawn is slowly fading from memory as humans find unexpected kinship with their new neighbours.

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Omniate

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Kingsway

70 years: Two generations later, Vancouver sees a new residential landscape that is more green, wild, inaccessible and unpredictable than its predecessor. Food gardens sprout up from lumpy yards, native shrubs overtake laneways, and surprising critters inhabit rights-of-way. What once was private has become public: food waste is now being composted and used wherever there is space. What once was public has become inaccessible. In redefining urban human relationships to land and nature Omniate fosters interspecies responsibility. By altering the very topography on which we live our daily lives, we at once fight ecological losses and human alienation from natural systems.

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Omniate

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GREEN CAPILLARIES Verdant vasculature in the anthroposphere

Analyzing the built form and opportunities for intervention in Vancouver’s residential neighbourhoods, a number of typologies become clear. Single-family homes — particularly the ubiquitous “Vancouver Special” and similarly constructed homes — make up the typical built environment, while each block is bisected by a rear alleyway that is used primarily for waste collection and access to privately owned parking. As the property values for many of these homes has increased at astonishing rates, the possibility of home ownership for Vancouverites has decreased. Additionally, single-family homes are being split into multiple units and owners are choosing to monetize their space in any way they can; laneway homes and short-term rental units abound. This rapid hyper-monetization of space can lead to a sense of alienation and placelessness: houses become reserves for wealth, neighbourhoods become vectors for speculation. With space at such a premium and neighbourhoods struggling with a lack of identity, the social fabric of Vancouver’s residential neighbourhoods begins to fray.

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The grid of alleyways underpinning Vancouver’s residential fabric offers space and opportunity to imagine more within our shared spaces. What we propose is simple: transform this system of alleyways from the current paved typology into a network of bioswales. This malleable intervention reduces stress on city stormwater infrastructure, emphasizes community engagement, promotes ecological networking and offers the opportunity for large-scale urban transformation. We propose restructuring these narrow roads from single-use utility zones into productive bioswales that retain water in the driest months of the year and detain it during the wettest. The baseline transformation of the alleyways into bioswales, which channel and absorb water throughout the city, can reduce pressure on the current municipal system and take on additional environmental functions. Our proposal imagines four typologies to begin: ecological corridors, urban orchards, productive agricultural operations and a network of publicly operated rain gardens.


Maxwell Slater Beau Wuthrich

The resulting naturalized corridors are designed to link disparate communities of animals, plants, people, and systems. Through the reallocation of function from collection of garbage to collection of water runoff we envision a new public network of ecological spaces that could transform urban neighbourhoods.

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Kingsway

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Imaging the first of Vancouver’s alley bioswales.

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Green Capillaries

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Kingsway

Trout Lake

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The Matrix: Alleyways can form a network with an alternative, non-anthropocentric program.

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Renfrew Ravine

3100 Block


Green Capillaries

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Timeline: Interventions at personal and governmental levels.

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Kingsway

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Shade and rain: A study revealing the alley as the hydrological and solar crux of the space.

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Green Capillaries

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Analysis: The large slab of concrete in the alley acts as a stone heat sink, and quickly channels water from the adjacent lots directly into Vancouver’s stormwater system.

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Kingsway

Utilitarian Alley: At present, the alleyway is a storage space for cars and a conduit for garbage removal. We propose situating the alley as central to each block and its community, rather than as ancillary to the roads that frame the block.

Vegetation Vege on enjoy enjoyed ed priva privately tely

Private carports orts as ent entriess to homes hom o

Physicall div Ph divisio ision n of spa pace c

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Green Capillaries

Garbage pickup in alley

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Alley detail.

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Present situation: The current ecology of the alleyway.

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Kingsway

Bioswale transformation: We propose transitioning the alleyway from a space that prioritizes the personal automobile and trash pickup to a space that emphasizes ecological and social connectivity with improved municipal infrastructure, resulting in an increase of ecological activity. The bioswale construction and localized planting pallets work in harmony and we can imagine a network of systems that begin to give highly valued city land back to humans and non-human species.

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Ecological corridors.

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Green Capillaries

Soil with high organic matter Porous sub-layer Gravel/stone base Liner/drainage g tile

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Kingsway

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Relationships: Public-private interactions change with the design of this space.

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Green Capillaries

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Resonance: A sense of place and stewardship is nurtured in these new, interstitial spaces.

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Kingsway

Single crop orchards: Emphasis on little to no labour with high aesthetic value, single fruit crops allows for identification with a particular fruit and the potential for trading with other neighbourhoods. Food, space for people, and a fruitful sense of identity could be shared and celebrated by the communities in this space. Difference of crop choice between neighbourhoods emphasizes variety, most notably in produce, but more importantly in the timings of shared annual agricultural events, such as flowering, leafing, and fruit harvests.

Soil with high organic matter Porous sub-layer Gravel/stone base Liner/drainage tile

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Single crop orchards.

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Green Capillaries

107


Kingsway

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Apple allĂŠe: A low labour, high produce option.

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Green Capillaries

109


Kingsway

Guilding the Alley Food for people: Nuts, Fruit, Forage Food for soil: Nitrogen, Leaf litter Diggers and miners: Legumes, Deep roots Groundcover: Swale protection Climbers: Grapes, Pollinators Support: Grasses, Shrubbery Protection: Integrated pest management

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Permaculture alleys.

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Green Capillaries

Perennial Agricultural Ecosystems: By taking the best of

The specifics of planting and harvesting are flexible; hazelnut

both worlds - a network of corridors designed to prioritize

trees form the upper canopy while legume plants fix soil-loving

ecological needs - and a system that is agriculturally productive

nitrogen underground to feed the entire system. A variety of

and socially engaging, we are afforded the opportunity to

stories builds vertical guilding and the increase of biomass

transform these alleyways into permacultural oases. These

retains more water. Habitats for birds and insects occur

low-input, high-output farms rely on a few simple principles:

naturally, and the surrounding residents benefit not only from

The agricultural systems must function perennially; they must

the food produced, but from the magnificence of a naturally

be holistically balanced; and they must be operable by the

maintained ecosystem.

community, in a low-input manner.

Overstory (high canopy cover) Chestnut, Walnut, Hazelnut

Midstory Honey locust

Ground cover Nasturtium / Clover

In swale Comfrey

Understory Berries, Perennial vegetables

Soil with high organic matter

Gravel/stone base Liner/drainage g tile

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Kingsway

>

Permaculture promenade: A balance of labour and productivity.

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Green Capillaries

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Kingsway

Sowing the future: Networks of varied typology and agenda could enhance Vancouver’s urban fabric by weaving running stitches of green across our city’s preexisting interstitial networks. The first step to realizing this possible world simply involves the reconstitution of something we already share: a six metre wide alleyway.

>

Expansion: The network of alley bioswales sweep Westward.

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Green Capillaries

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Study Area 3

KENSINGTON

116


Somerville St St Catherines St

E 37th Ave

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118


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THE PLOT THICKENS A soil quality intervention

Kensington represents a typical Vancouver residential neighbourhood; single-family homes, organized neatly in rows on a grid. This is an urban pattern typical not just of Canada and the North American continent but also of much of the world. Our study block is predominantly occupied by young families with diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. As a result, the individual’s relationship with their yard varies significantly from house to house. Some yards simply serve as places to store cars, lumber and — in at least one case — old toilets. Other yards serve as maintained landscapes to frame and display the home with neatly trimmed shrubs, brick and ironwork fences and even lion statues. Some yards are furnished for socialization, featuring patio furniture or children’s play equipment. Other yards are set up for labor: growing food, building and working on things. Despite these differences, the yards all have in common the fact that they are extensions of the people who maintain them, and as such respond to the individual aesthetic desires, time constraints, financial considerations, and

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functional requirements of the residents. Because of the diversity of uses and the limited amount of unused space in many yards, our design aims to impact the whole yard while minimizing disruption to existing character. Soil is the foundation of every ecosystem. Billions of bacteria can be found in even a small handful of healthy soil, which plays an important role in the cycling of nutrients on both a local and global scale. Plant health is precipitated by soil quality. The majority of urban soil is highly degraded, making it a prime target for remediation. As cities expand, urban soil becomes ever more important. In fact, as little as 0.4% annual increase of global soil carbon sequestration could store enough carbon dioxide to halt global warming. Despite the fundamental importance of soil, it is often overlooked. Our design methodology inverts traditional perspectives of the yard and focuses on the subterranean and the microscopic. Our proposed bio-enrichment vessels offer a low effort opportunity to invest in


Ben Eisenberg Chris Rothery

the health of a yard. The vessel combines passive compost and irrigation techniques to feed nutrients directly into the soil, stimulating the mycelium and bacteria that power the soil ecosystem. Using inputs of rainwater and green waste from the kitchen or yard, the bio-enrichment vessel brews a nutrient-rich compost tea that flows through the semipermeable, biodegradable membrane of the vessel. Over its 10 year lifespan, the vessel improves soil quality, creates a thicker layer of humus and fosters a more active microbial community. Plants benefit from the increased resources in a slowly expanding radius from the vessel. The benefits continue to flow through the ecosystem.

a lush community, with all the associated benefits of an urban forest on human health and property value. In this way, the vessels even contribute socioeconomically to the community. While The Plot Thickens is envisioned here as a Kensington-specific solution, the bio-enhancement vessel has broad reaching implications as an easily scalable and transportable design with important impacts on every scale.

Eventually the vessel itself biodegrades, merging completely with the mature soil community it once supported. In a single yard, an individual bioenrichment vessel could be used to support a vegetable garden or a young tree. A network of vessels could transform the entire yard. Across a whole block, an extensive network of vessels would create

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Kensington

Tree Density High density

Low density

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Tree density: Measured in the Kensington area.

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The Plot Thickens

Of the over seven thousand street trees in Kensington, the largest concentration of established tree roots are in the southwest corner, suggesting an ideal site for a subterranean intervention. The Plot Thickens builds on that existing network with its microbial ecosystem working mutualistically with the neighbourhood’s dense street tree network.

Impermeable surfaces House foundation Tree or shrub root network Microbe plume from vessel

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Area of proposed microbial network.

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Kensington

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Subject block photos.

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The Plot Thickens

Designing for microscopic constituents requires a shift in perspective. The world manifests itself differently at a small scale. Where a small yard or garden might seem like an insignificant space to us, an insect might find a rich and complex world. Where a pile of trash tucked into a corner might only catch our attention as an eyesore, to insects it represents a dense layer of resources. A driveway that might not be a barrier to us represents a swath of land cut off to photosynthetic life. A fence that separates us from our neighbours is hardly noticeable to roots and mycelium.

Incorporating compost can increase soil carbon content by 50 - 80%

Globally, a 0.4% annual increase in soil carbon could halt the annual increase in atmospheric CO²

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Kensington

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Microscopic worlds.

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The Plot Thickens

Soil food web: Simplified from: Simplified from: H.W. Hunt, D.C. Coleman, E.R. Ingham, et al., “The detrital food web in a shortgrass prairie,� Biology and Fertility of Soils 3, no.1 (1987): 57-68. By targeting the soil-forming bacteria and fungi, our design solution supports the overall health of the yard ecosystem across multiple scales, from the bottom up. As the microbial community grows, it becomes able to support larger communities of plants, insects and birds in the yard. Healthier plant communities support human physical and mental health. The benefits of our intervention magnify themselves as they cascade across scales from microscopic to human.

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Kensington

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Bio-enhancement vessel: Interactions with soil structure and topography.

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The Plot Thickens

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Kensington

Detail 2.

>

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Detail 1.

1+

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The Plot Thickens

The bio-enhancement vessel is the gateway through which humans and microbes interact with each other in the yard. Through mutually-beneficial association, quality of life can increase for both humans and soil bacteria.

2+

131


Kensington

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Year 1: At installation.

Soil forming processes take months to occur, and in low quality urban soil, the full effect of the intervention could take years to manifest. At installation, soil microbes would begin receiving new nutrients, but their effect would not yet be evident in the landscape. As time progresses, the microbial activity around each vessel would increase, thickening the plot of soil and strengthening the roots of plants in the immediate vicinity. Soil quality would begin to radiate outward. By the end of the vessel’s 10 year life, the soil community in it’s area would be established and the vessel itself would decompose into the soil.

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Year 10: The soil community is established.

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The Plot Thickens

133


Kensington

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Information sign: Soil / human community.

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Microbial public art.

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The Plot Thickens

A neighbourhood with a strong soil community can be a neighbourhood with a strong human community. Soil microbes recognize no property lines, connecting the biotic community across the entire neighbourhood. Plants share resources with their neighbours and even communicate with each other via networks in healthy soil. As this project develops, humans benefit from healthier gardens, increased property values, and a greater sense of community cohesion. In an effort to increase understanding and acceptance of the bio-enrichment vessel system, informational signs and public art are recommended. This public art, combined with a flourishing of the neighbourhood’s plants, could profoundly reshape community identity.

Anticipated microbial spread: After 10 years.

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Active blocks

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Kensington

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Inverted section: A beautiful and complex world hides just below our feet.

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The Plot Thickens

A world most rich, the entirety alive. Networks outstretched, communities to connect. Intrinsically allied, together thrive. Important space - protect, no more to neglect. No need to scrap your rusty grill and old hubcaps, sit back and relax, just feed the soil your scraps. The nutrient cycling makes a soil more healthy, gardens make a community more wealthy.

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SHARED BOUNDARY The Fence Garden

The fence signifies the property line between two neighbours; a separator between two private spaces. In Vancouver, the high fence may also serve as a symbol of social isolation and social disconnection. Our project “Shared Boundary” challenges this narrative through an integration of a shared planter-box fence. This fence system speculates how food, water and waste management could be shared amongst neighbours, with the goal of connecting the community at large. Through the introduction of a shared water/food/waste system along the fence line, neighbours can contribute to the sustainable goals of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan and can build stronger connections with one another as they work together to manage the system. Rainwater is re-directed from roof drains into the fence garden boxes. Water that surpasses a certain level in water tanks could then be automatically released to the garden boxes to irrigate the fruits and vegetables. In the back yard, a shared chicken coop encourages interactions and shared ownership between neighbours while providing essential proteins.

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Household food waste and organic waste from the fence garden and chicken coop can be used for compost, and later be reused as fertilizer for the garden. The water/food/waste system will encourage each neighbour to share costs, time, material usage and storage spaces. Both benefit by increasing overall productivity and efficiency while still maintaining privacy by adjusting the height of the fences. This results in economic, social and environmental benefits through the reclamation of the fence line. The fence garden becomes a solution to the ‘metabolic rift’: the rescaling of food production, reclaiming of vacant land, and de-alienating urban dwellers from their food. By integrating a straightforward design solution along the property lines, neighbours can contribute to building a sustainable future within their community. The fence, formerly a method for protecting privacy and discouraging interaction, becomes a catalyst for neighbourhood community development through localized food production and alleyway events.


Joshua Fender Kelly Kang

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Kensington

140


Shared Boundary

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Back alley.

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Typical back of the house on St. Catherines Street.

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Typical back of the house on Sommerville Street.

Typical house front on St. Catherines Street, looking east.

St. Catherines Street.

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Typical house front on Sommerville Street, looking west.

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Kensington

Kensington lot size <25%

Regular lot: 122 ft x 33 ft

Typical lot size

38% of houses have planted edibles

An average of 23% permeable and green space

St. Ca the rin es Str eet

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Axonometric: Typical conditions for the block.

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88% of houses have planted shrubs or ďŹ&#x201A;owers


Shared Boundary

So mm erv ille Str eet

143


Kensington

Typical Fence Condition

Sharing table 4 x 4 x 6 ft

4 x 2 x 6 ft

4 x 2 x 4 ft

Compost Bin 2 x 4 x 2 ft

2 x 2 x 2 ft

Water Storage 2 x 4 x 2 ft

2 x 2 x 6 ft

2 x 2 x 4 ft

Shed & Market Unit 8 x 4 x 7 ft

Chicken Coop 4 x 4 x 6 ft

2 x 4 x 2 ft

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Kit of Parts: Units are designed to fit together along the centre of the property line offering varying degrees of privacy and function.

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Shared Boundary

Full Sun

1/2 Sun

Full Shade

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Design intervention plan.

145


Kensington

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Current condition.

Full Sun Vegetables

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Sharing table & chicken coop.

146

Full Sun Florals


Shared Boundary

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Stormwater management integration.

High Shade Evergreens

Low Shade Evergreens

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3-Zone planting scheme.

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Kensington

%

pe

Slo

1-5

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Water system: Roof drain diversion into fence.

148

Full shade: Wet, shady zone between houses.

>

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Full sun: Dry, full sun zone in back yards.


Shared Boundary

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Front yard: Outside looking in.

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Front yard: Inside looking out.

149


Kensington

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Full scale intervention: View of alleyway.

150


Shared Boundary

151


Kensington

February Coop Maintenance

January Cooking Classes

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Project Calendar

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Back yard view: Children & chickens.

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May Spring Gardening

March Annual Planting Meeting

April Seeds Exchange

June Summer BBQ


Shared Boundary

August Compost Exchange

July Summer Market

November Winter Planting

September Back yard Tours

October Pumpkin Carving

December Christmas Feast

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Alleyway market: Community summer market.

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Study Area 4

FRASERVIEW

154


Lancaster St E 51st Ave

Rupert St

E 52nd Ave

155


156


157


THE MOVING CANOPY

The Moving Canopy is a comprehensive landscape design project for the Fraserview neighbourhood, in the southeast section of the City of Vancouver. The site shares many similarities with other residential blocks in Vancouver. The site is an RS-1 zoning district and restricted for single-family housing only. As in traditional western landscape planning, single-family houses in Vancouver often have a front yard and back yard as private greenspaces. Public or semi-public greenspaces such as Killarney Park and the Fraserview Golf Course are within walking distance. The project is designing the yards at the single house scale, block scale, and community scale. This project addresses urban heat island effect in Fraserview by increasing shade on impermeable surfaces through staged tree planting, starting in the back yards. Besides increasing shade, we would like to improve the physical and mental health of individuals by enhancing tree canopy in residential areas and connecting community members by introducing a plant-sharing program. By promoting sustainable design solutions, this project

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will raise public awareness of urban ecological issues. After site research and analysis, the design program is divided into two parts: movable planters and a community sharing program, both managed by the community centre. The design intent of movable planters is to allow people to change the position of the plants for optimal shade throughout the seasons while keeping the existing pavement in the back yards. The design of the movable planters emphasizes user experience. The wooden planters have a simple structure, a safelock mechanism and dimensions directly related to the human body. The planters can hold the suggested plants and soil and be rolled around on flat surfaces easily. There are screen planters, shade planters, supporting planters and a compost box to support healthy soil. The screen planters have high recreational value because they create a sense of relaxing space by blocking views and providing seating. Trees in shade planters will cast shadows, thus mitigating urban heat island effect. Air quality will also be improved by tree planting. Once the trees outgrow


Vicky Cen Jenny Tang

the planter, they can be transplanted into lawns in the back yard, or they can become public street trees as permanent landscape elements. Supporting planters are designed for habitats in urban ecosystems and urban agriculture. Planting vegetables and fruit trees will support local food production, meaning more organic food, less ecological footprint and a sense of achievement. Mature fruits and vegetables can be shared with neighbours in the community sharing program. Once the tree canopy of the block has been increased to capacity, plants can be more widely distributed to public spaces or to other blocks. The community program includes weekly food exchanges and seasonal events where people gather in the alley to socialize. The dates of these events along with planting and composting strategies are organized into a calendar that is given to households when they first receive a planter. The benefits of this program are strengthened social cohesion and community building, as well as education about agriculture and recycling systems.

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Fraserview

2 Years Later

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Site photos: Exposed paved back yards and front lawn can cause heat island effect.

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Project diagram: From temporary to permanent.

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Concept collage: Planting and composting on wheels


The Moving Canopy

Planning Zone Short-term Opportunity Zone Long-term Opportunity Zone

Killarney Park

Comm munity Centre

Frasservi eerv rv rvieew Golf Courrse se

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Context plan.

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Fraserview

Axonometric

Rupert St.

3

E 52nd St.

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Block plan: The block has a low canopy cover, as there are few street trees. The front yards are mainly lawns with low shrubs, whereas the back yards are paved as parking space.

162


The Moving Canopy

4 5 1

Lancaster St.

2

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Fraserview

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Existing physical conditions.

Rupert St. Low stone fence

Planting rack

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Section 1: Existing conditions.

Rupert St.

Lawn

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Section 2: Existing conditions.

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Deck on top of a garage

Paved back yard as parking space

Garage


The Moving Canopy

Max. 3.7m height Max. 48m2

Max. 1.9m height

Max. 8% of total permitted ďŹ&#x201A;oor area Max. 3.7m height 10

Lan cas ter

m 10

St.

m

2m

Max. 9.5m height Max. 30% depth

Max. 20% depth

45

m

5m

45

m

Ru

per

tS

12

t.

m

Min. 45% depth

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Existing legal structures: RS-1 zoning regulations.

Lancaster St. Paved back yard as parking space

Add-on deck and carport

Dense vegetation with tall conifer hedges

Lancaster St.

Paved surface

Lawn

Add-on shelter

Lawn

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Fraserview

Cherries

Onion

Apricots

Broccoli, Cabbage, CauliďŹ&#x201A;ower

Peaches

Carrots

Pears

Lettuce

Apples

Peas

Composting

Eggplants

Weekly goods exchange

Peppers, Tomatoes Spinach

Seasonal market event

Screen Planters

>

Movable planters catalogue.

166

Shade Planter


The Moving Canopy

Supporting Planters

Compost box & Aerator

167


Fraserview

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Compost boxe boxess Grow w ing i vegetables e i n planters Fruii ts and vegetable b s ready for trad t e Planters stay in bac Plan a k yards after m ma rket hour or if owners donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to trade Owners can contribut b e street treess t o enhance the exis ting landscape character La er trees moved Larg d o ut of plantee rss

6 Rupert St.

>

Site plan with rain and sun studies.

168


The Moving Canopy

4

1

2

3

5

169


Fraserview

>

Section 3: Bamboo planters create a protective boundary and sitting space.

170

Re-arrange the bamboo planters to form a relaxing space.

>

>

Bamboo planters form screens while playing basketball.


The Moving Canopy

171


Fraserview

>

Section 4: Local food production supported by fruit trees and vegetables grown in the planters.

172


The Moving Canopy

Winter arrangement: Supporting planters on south edge; shade planters in the middle; parking on shaded north side.

>

>

Summer arrangement: Shade planters on south edge; supporting planters on north edge; parking under shade.

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Fraserview

>

Section 5: Neighbours gather at the back alley to exchange food and socialize at the seasonal community event.

174

Weekly vegetable exchange in the alley.

>

>

Mature fruit trees are transplanted to street trees.


The Moving Canopy

175


Fraserview

>

Neighbours are celebrating the seasonal community event and trading their food products in the alley. Households customize planters, fitting the existing back yard space.

176


The Moving Canopy

177


Fraserview

>

Existing site condition: Back yards are fully exposed to sun.

>

2 Years: Households are transplanting mature trees from planters to lawns.

178

>

1 Year: Multiple households are using movable planters.

5 Years: Full of trees, the site is well shaded; canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t grow vegetables any more; household are selling fruits picked from trees.

>

>

3 Months: One household starts using movable planters.


The Moving Canopy

>

6 Years: Mature trees in planters will be transplanted and become street trees in surrounding blocks or the local community centre.

179


Study Area 5

LANGARA

180


Columbia St W 45th Ave

Alberta St

W 46th Ave

181


182


183


DE  RECONSTRUCTION Rejuvenating yard soil

Approximately 45% of houses in the Langara neighbourhood range in age from 60 to 70 years old. The city of Vancouver’s Green Demolition By-law encourages people to opt for greener alternatives when demolishing old homes.¹ Deconstruction is a more environmentally responsible form of demolition wherein the reuse and recycling requirements are greater than usual. Pre-1950 homes must follow the green building demolition bylaw, and certain deconstruction companies such as the ‘Unbuilders’ in Vancouver are working within those parameters. The age of the houses in the neighbourhood prompted us to rethink the fate of the yard while the house goes through the process of deconstruction. We propose an entrepreneurial approach that takes up the task of protecting, reconstructing and rejuvenating the soil during this time. The process of home deconstruction takes 2-3 months, while the construction of a new home takes 7-12 months on average. We propose that a series of compost pits are dug in the hot and dry parts of the yards of the single-family

184

homes undergoing deconstruction. The deconstructed materials such as wooden planks, which are normally stored on the yard during the deconstruction process, will be used to cover these compost pits and the topsoil. Community members and neighbours are invited to contribute their compostable kitchen and yard waste to these compost pits. In the well-drained soil of the neighbourhood, the compost is ready in 2-3 months, a timing aligned with the completion of deconstruction. The soil in the Langara neighbourhood is of Bose-Heron type.² This soil type is well-drained but has a low cation exchange capacity, meaning that it lacks a nutrient holding capacity. The compost adds nutrients to the soil. To further rejuvenate the soil, we propose planting nitrogen-fixing plants such as clovers, lupines, legumes and peas in the yard in the next phase. The rich healthy soil will be able to support the growth of staple underground food crops such as potatoes, yams and earthnuts. Heavy feeders such as tomatoes, pumpkin, corn and winter squash will ultimately be able to grow in the yard’s rejuvenated soil. With the help of annual species, a plant rotation


Anjani Batra Prashi Malik

strategy will help the soil as much as the community. Tables set up outside the yard enable food harvested from the yard to be distributed and shared with everyone in the community. In this neighbourhood, where the average individual income after taxes is $20,000 to 30,000 per annum, free community grown food would be a welcome resource and potential new way of life.Âł

1.

City of Vancouver. 2018. Administrative Report: Green Demolition By-law Update. Accessed at https://council.vancouver. ca/20180516/documents/pspc2c.pdf

2.

University of British Columbia. N.d. Virtual Soil Science Learning Resources. Interactive Soil Map. Accessed on February 25, 2020. https://vancouversoils.ca/

3.

Census Mapper. N.d. Canada Census 2016. Average Income Explorer (Individual After Tax). Accessed February 25, 2020. https:// censusmapper.ca/maps/1535?ind ex=1#14/49.2308/-123.1139

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Langara

<$40,000

Built before 1955 ~45%

>$40,000

Built after 1955 ~55%

Building age.

>

>

Income per person.

Houses built before 1955 Single-family dwellings

>

Impact: Single-family dwellings built before 1955, showing extent of the impact of soil transformation in the neighbourhood

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De - Reconstruction 2015 2011 2006 1995 1991 1979 1979 1978 1952 1952 1949

1951 1951 1951 1951 1951 1951 1951 1989 1990 2009 2014

>

Aerial view: Houses built before 1955 in the block.

187


Langara

20% DEPTH Lot Size

35% Building Maximum Depth

45% Back Yard Minimum Depth

9.8m

Min.

Max. 1-storey

Min. Distance

7.9m

3.7m Max. Ht. Flat Roof

4.9m

0.6m

Max. 1½ storey

4.6m

Min. 0.9m

Max. Ht. Sloping Roof

Min. 0.6m Max. Area = 0.16 x Lot Area

HEIGHT Max.

9.5 m 2½

LWH

or floors LWH

1 CarPark Min. (Permeable) Min. 1m Landscape Setback

40% Maximum Site Coverage

WIDTH 10% Minimum Side Yard Width

20% Maximum Side Yard Width

>

Axonometric of typical city by-laws.

>

Site images: Typical 1950’s bungalow.

188

Min. 26 sqm

Front Yard Minimum Depth


De - Reconstruction

>

Axonometric of existing physical conditions.

>

Site images: 1950â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s housing typology with new construction beyond.

189


Langara

A cyclic process is created each time a house is deconstructed and the lot is prepared to host a new house, beginning a new phase in the lotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life. The community shares its compostable organic waste with the yard of the house under deconstruction. The soil is replenished with the compost and nitrogen-fixing edible annual plant species. The replenished soil is used to grow food such as potatoes and peas for the community. The community also recycles and reuses the wood from the house for planting beds in their own yards. The timeline shows each part of the process aligned with its preceding process. The vision for the future is that the community supports and participates in the soil rejuvenation process, and the new home owners are assured of the quality of their yard.

>

Project diagram: Flow of food & waste in the community in the process of soil reconstruction

190


De - Reconstruction

1951 1952

Months

DECONSTRUCTION

COMPOSTING

NEW HOUSE CONSTRUCTION

NITROGEN-FIXING PLANTS

HEAVY FEEDERS/UNDERGROUND TUBERS

>

Timeline: Minimum, maximum time (in months) requirements and relative placement of the different processes involved.

191


Langara

Axonometric

>

Site plan.

192


De - Reconstruction

193


Langara

COLD & DRY

(78

)

COLD & DRY

HOT & DRY

(78)

>

267, W 46th AVE: Shadow and rain study.

194

HOT & DRY


De - Reconstruction

HOT & DRY

COLD & WET

(79)

HOT & DRY

COLD & DRY

COLD & WET

HOT & DRY

>

260, W 45th AVE: Shadow and rain study.

195


Langara

>

Conceptual collage.

House built before 1955.

Step 1: Putting up the hoarding.

Step 2: Digging pits in the yard for composting.

Step 3: Covering compost pits with construction wood planks.

196


De - Reconstruction

>

Prototype.

Step 4: Planting nitrogen-fixing edible species.

Step 5: Planting edible heavy feeders in nutrient rich soil.

Step 6: Planting annual nitrogen fixing edible species again.

Step 7: Sharing harvested food with the community.

197


Langara

>

Visualising soil reconstruction in yards of multiple lots.

198


De - Reconstruction

199


Langara

>

House under deconstruction: Compost pits and spot trenches covered with wood planks while the house is deconstructed.

200

Composting: Soil with increased worm activity.

>

>

Waste sharing: Neighbours give to deconstructing lot.


De - Reconstruction

Future yard: Healthy soil supports a healthy ecosystem.

>

>

Nitrogen fixation: Yard soil supplemented with nutrients.

>

Food yielding yard: A front yard where soil has been restored by a landscape architecture firm and food bearing plants grow.

201


Langara

WINTER January

February

SPRING March

April

May

Edible Annuals Nitrogen-Fixing

Edible Underground stems / roots

Edible Annuals Heavy Feeders

00

-0.35 m

-1.20 m

Compost: 60% Carbon, 40% Nitrogen Layering in spot trench, 2-3 months

>

Seasonal planting scheme: Section details of phasing through seasons.

202

Nitrogen Fixing Plants, Staple underground tubers in nutrient-rich compost

June


De - Reconstruction

SUMMER July

August

FALL September

October

November

December

00

-0.35 m

-1.20 m

Heavy feeders flourish in regenerated soil

Distribution to community Sharing is caring!

203


CRISIS COMMONS A permaculture-based landscape resource sharing scheme

As global climate change disrupts Vancouver’s social-ecological systems, our project envisions a collective response to the anthropogenic climate crisis. Radical in its approach, Crisis Commons outlines a block-level resource sharing scheme in the Langara neighbourhood to be implemented by residents in collaboration with municipal experts. The project draws on David Holmgren’s twelve permaculture design principles in delegating tasks to individual lots which go on to share their outputs and function collectively as a holistic regenerative system. By adhering to permaculture principles, the proposal establishes a complex adaptive system that engages with food production, waste management, microclimatic regulation, hydrology, and soil formation. In our initial stages of design development, we focused on increasing urban tree canopy within privately-owned yards to promote a comfortable microclimate to mitigate urban heat island effect. Central to this proposal was the establishment of successional planting guidelines to manage urban tree canopy, alongside the sharing of soil-building materials — such as mulch derived from aged trees slotted

204

for removal — across lots to facilitate tree health. As we expanded our project to consider opportunities for collective urban food and waste management within the residential block, our focus on succession and soil-building was broadened to include permaculture as a holistic design approach. The final design proposal covers four areas: the food forest, animal inputs, forage and medicinal plants, and stormwater management. The food forest consists of crops and edible plants which are actively cultivated for harvest. These are located in back yards for ease of access and to facilitate the relatively messy soil-building treatments such as sheet mulching. The guidelines determining placement and selection of food plants account for plant succession across a 20-year period, i.e., crops are planted considering the shifting shade conditions as trees are eventually lost and replaced. Animal inputs consist of cricket farms and chicken coops. Crickets are farmed in solar-heated containers within back


Jennifer Reid Noora Yunus

yard sheds, consuming plant waste and ultimately serving as chicken feed. Meanwhile chickens are raised in back yard coops, laying eggs and providing fertilizer. Forage and medicinal plants are located in the front yard. These plants require relatively little maintenance and conform to the aesthetic conventions expected of a front yard, while serving as an emergency food and medicine supply. Finally, the many retaining walls and shallow sloped topography of the block are leveraged to facilitate stormwater filtration and storage in the front yard. Deep soils of varied composition planted with deep-rooting species are used to filter stormwater, which is stored in a cistern below the road. This component relies on collaboration between municipal engineers and the lot owners, and presents an opportunity for municipal incentives. As an exploratory document, this proposal attempts to establish a conceptual foundation for design guidelines and a collaborative framework to inform pragmatic design proposals going forward.

205


Langara

>

Permaculture systems diagram: The holistic network within which this permaculture design proposal operates.

206


Crisis Commons

>

Soil informational diagram: A comparison of Podzol soil horizons common on undisturbed sites in Vancouver (left) and urban soil (right).

207


Langara

>

Succession: Life phases of a tree from seedling to mature.

>

Food forest: An ideal back yard food forest. Lush canopy combined with food production can increase food security in neighbourhoods while adapting to climate change.

208


Crisis Commons

Animal yield & waste Plant yield & waste Plant co-management Sequential soil filtration

>

Context plan: We are focused on the block of 45th and 46th Avenue between Alberta & Columbia Street. Colours indicate proposed changes at a neighbourhood scale.

209


Langara

>

Existing condition: Many under used spaces in the laneway.

+

>

45th & 46th Avenue: Existing conditions looking west.

210


Crisis Commons

>

Proposed: Laneway planting in contested spaces.

211


Langara

>

Existing condition: On site, two old western red cedars.

212

Years 1-5: Remove dying western red cedar and replant new tree.


Crisis Commons

Successional planting strategy over 10+ years: This series of plans illustrates changing canopy structure over time as trees are replaced to adapt to climate change.

Tree removed

New tree

Years 5-10: Remove and replant.

Years 10+: New canopy and shade.

213


Langara

>

Existing Condition

>

Year 1

>

Year 2

214


Crisis Commons

>

Year 6

>

Year 7+

Project phasing: How the projects unfolds in one yard over time.

>

>

Year 5

215


Langara

>

Particle sizes for mineral soils.

Target Soil Volume for a Large Tree ~150 m² canopy | 3 large trees per 1000 m² = 40 % canopy cover

216

Ideal soil volume for large tree on whole lot, typical soil volume for large tree in an average garden planting.

>

>

Soil informational diagrams: Average lot area, average garden planting area.


Crisis Commons

>

4-Lot axonometric: Axonometric illustrations of existing and proposed conditions on four southern lots.

217


Langara

>

Initial sharing scheme: Sharing of soil-building materials and the growth of a successional tree canopy on two target lots.

218


Crisis Commons

219


Langara

>

Permaculture sharing scheme: Plan of permaculture resource-sharing among six target lots.

220


Crisis Commons

221


Langara

222


Crisis Commons

>

The permaculture sharing scheme: Implemented throughout the block.

223


Study Area 6

QUILCHENA

224


Highbury St W 21st Ave

Wallace St

W 22nd Ave

225


226


227


HYPERNATURE High performance grids

In the 21st century, biodiversity loss, food insecurity and loneliness present challenges for sustaining cities. Each of these issues can be addressed through modifications to the natural environment. In response to these three issues, we raise the question: can we create an artificial nature that can catalyze the restoration of lost habitat, the production of local food, and the creation of community? We believe that we can simplify, accelerate and optimize natural processes to address these challenges. Our intervention seeks to achieve this by maximizing the potential of the yard in the Quilchena neighbourhood in Vancouver. In Quilchena, we found that space and sunlight are being wasted on single-function yards planted with monocultures, but both can be better harnessed to maximize growth. We also found that there is relatively little canopy cover in the yards compared to the neighbouring Pacific Spirit Park. We propose placing a grid of scaffolding across entire lots to maximize the use of vertical and horizontal space on properties. To address biodiversity loss, we propose planting climbing plants in

228

the scaffolds to accelerate the process of habitat creation for birds living nearby in Pacific Spirit Park. To address food insecurity and further maximize the use of space in the lot, we propose growing squash and cucumber monocultures along with algae bioreactors in the grid. Crop yields can be optimized with bee boxes for pollinators, while â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;bird toiletsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; capture bird droppings to be harvested for nutrients to fertilize the plants and the algae. Finally, introducing solar panels that power 24hour grow-lights in the grid can maximize plant growth by capitalizing on solar energy. The lighting will also address loneliness by fostering an inclusive community atmosphere where neighbours can experience nature together in the evening after the work day. Collectively, these design interventions culminate in a grid across the urban fabric to create a superblock of hypernature. With the rise in average temperatures due to climate change, the scaffolding system will also help to make temperatures in the yard more tolerable through shading and evapotranspiration from the climbing vegetation.


Emma Gosselin Jingzhou Sun

In Hypernature, we redefine the concept of waste as the lost opportunity of not using a resource to its full capacity. Populating empty space and capturing unused sunlight can help foster growth of community to reduce loneliness, growth of plants to create food, and habitat for organisms that support our food systems. Exploiting supporting ecosystem services such as fertilizer from bird droppings and pollination from bees â&#x20AC;&#x201D; indirect benefits â&#x20AC;&#x201D; can help to promote provisioning services such as crop production for human consumption â&#x20AC;&#x201D; direct benefits. Ultimately, we redefine nature as a system that functions to benefit humans.

229


Quilchena

>

Hypernature: An instant forest manufactured by humans.

230


Hypernature

>

Study site: Typical scaffoldings for construction on singlefamily homes in the Quilchena neighbourhood.

231


Quilchena

Wallace Street

>

Context: Quilchena, adjacent to Pacific Spirit Park.

>

Study block: Existing conditions.

232


Highbury Street

Hypernature

233


Quilchena

3848 W 21st Ave

>

Study Block: Existing conditions on two adjacent properties. Canopy Coverage: 5.7%.

234


Hypernature

>

Pacific Spirit Regional Park: Typical canopy coverage, 98.7%.

3847 W 22nd Ave

235


Quilchena

West 21st Avenue

>

Section A.

West 22nd Avenue

>

Section B, study site: Existing conditions and details of the yard, cutting through the block North-South.

236


Hypernature

West 22nd Avenue

West 21st Avenue

237


Quilchena

Scaffolding is installed in the yard, capitalizing on the unused vertical space on and above the lawn. The scaffold provides structure for climbing vines (virginia creeper) to accelerate the process of habitat creation on the site for warblers, woodpeckers, nuthatches and various songbirds. Nesting can occur in the scaffolding and the vines. Virginia creeper produces berries for birds in fall and thrives in both sun and shade.

>

Birds nesting in scaffolding and vines: Responding to biodiversity loss.

238


Hypernature

Vertical algae farms in the scaffolding provides a food source for humans with efficient use of space. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Bird toiletsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; at the base of the scaffolding collects droppings from the birds living above. The droppings are harvested for nutrients to fertilize the algae and plants in the scaffolds. Bird droppings containing seeds also contribute to new plant growth on site.

>

Algae and bird toilets: Responding to food insecurity.

239


Quilchena

Bee boxes in the scaffolds provide habitat for mason bees to promote pollination of cucumbers. Cucumbers are planted in the yard and grow vertically in the scaffolds. Bars of 24-hour grow lights in the lower scaffolds promote growth of crops and algae.

>

Cucumbers: Neighbour sharing harvested food.

>

Bee boxes, cucumbers and lights: Responding to biodiversity loss and food insecurity.

240


Hypernature

Solar panels installed at the top of the scaffolds capture solar energy and power grow lights. The grow lights provide light during the night in the alley and the yard. The lights help to maximize daily growing time and crop yield. They also illuminate the alley to make it a more welcoming and safer space for people to socialize with their neighbours in the evening after work.

>

Lights: Socializing at night in a illuminated public space.

>

Solar panels and lights: Responding to loneliness and food insecurity.

241


Quilchena

full sun light shade full shade rain

>

Deployed scaffolding: Layering of sun and rain study, existing site, and design interventions on the plan across four lots. Design interventions occur throughout the grid.

242


Hypernature

solar panel and grow lights

solar panel and grow lights

virginia creeper vine

virginia creeper vine

songbird

bird toilet

bee hotel

mason bees

songbird

bird toilet

cucumber and squash

algae

residents

residents

Function solar energy habitat fertilization direct human use pollination

solar panel and grow lights

residents

>

Network: Exchanges of solar energy, nutrients, and pollen, and the relationships between species and structures.

243


Quilchena

Private Space (Instant Forest)

>

Deployed scaffolding: Layering of bird habitat, food production zone, and social space across one lot.

244


Upper Canopy (Bird Habitat)

Emergent Layer (Bird Habitat)

Hypernature

Private Space

solar panel

Understory (Production Zone)

Lower Canopy (Bird Habitat)

Public Space (Alley)

virginia creeper

algae panel cucumber monoculture 24 hr grow light

245


Quilchena

>

Scaffolding: Design deployed across multiple blocks.

>

Scaffolding: Over time, different residents start adding scaffolding across their lots. Squash and cucumbers start to cross boundaries into neighbouring lots.

246


Hypernature

247


Quilchena

>

Existing condition: Pre design intervention.

>

6 AM

>

24 hour time series: Throughout the day and night, there is a continuous supply of light for plant growth and people.

248

12 PM


Hypernature

6 PM

12 AM

249


Quilchena

Day 2

Year 50: Day 1

Day 2

Phasing of crop production: Change from years 1, to 50 and 100 showing growth and harvest. Over time the weather and people change. Each year new crops are produced.

Day 2

>

>

>

Year 100: Day 1

250


Hypernature

Day 48

Day 50

Day 48

Day 50

Day 48

Day 50

251


ALICEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S RETURN Challenging the lawn

The lawn is the most common ground cover for private residential yards in Vancouver. 70% of the households have a lawn in British Columbia. While the lawn connotes prosperity and recreation, it is a mono-functional space with a complete lack of biodiversity. Vancouver has set out various initiatives to help people contribute to increasing biodiversity in the city, and our proposal extends these recommendations to the space of the private yard. In our time of critical habitat loss and widespread species extinction, we believe that it is unacceptable for the lawn to continue as the normal strategy for covering private space. We challenge the pervasiveness to nonproductive space by proposing that every lawn is replaced by a multi-functional natural system that contributes in one of 4 ways: 1.

252

The Aesthetic Yard: a beautiful and colourful alpine garden.

2.

The Urban Livestock Yard: with chickens for meat and egg production.

3.

Low Maintenance Food Forest: planted with native berries that attract pollinators and produce food.

4.

The Waste Control Yard: relying on soil regeneration and compost re-use through underground mushroom networks.

These approaches can be used individually or combined, and can be adapted to any site because they respond to a variety of environmental site conditions. Additionally, the community can be brought together through the management and trade of resources using a neighbourhood sharing platform. Although we are removing the lawn, we are returning a wonderland that is healthy, diverse, abundant and vibrant.


Suzy Zhan Zhijie Ma

253


Quilchena

? >

Site photo: Typical lawn condition.

254


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

>

Block plan: Area of experiment.

255


Quilchena

>

Site analysis: Understanding the existing conditions.

256


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

>

Design components: Chickens, berries, and mushrooms.

3

1

2

1. Chickens + eggs + sharing + education

2. Berries + food + low maintenance + beauty

3. Mushrooms + waste control + recycling + biodiversity

zone 2: Sunny & Wet

RAIN STUDY

NATIVE ALPINE zone 3: Shady & Wet

MUSHROOM

zone 1: Sunny & Dry

ALPINE BERRY

zone 3: Shady & Wet

MUSHROOM

>

Design zones: Study of unique environmental conditions.

257


Quilchena

>

Design response: Front yard, option 1.

258


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

259


Quilchena

>

Design response: Back yard, option 1.

260


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

261


Quilchena

>

Design response: Front yard, option 2.

262


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

263


Quilchena

>

Design response: Back yard, option 2.

264


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

265


Quilchena

266


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

>

A new wonderland: replacing lawns with a dynamic landscape.

267


Quilchena

>

Building community: A prototype for an online sharing platform.

268


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

269


Quilchena

Time to Harvest Your Berries

>

Timeline: Community members come online as they transform their yards and remove their lawns.

270

Chicken Adoption

New Plant Growth Expected


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

Recipe Sharing

Online Course

Q-messages

New Plant Growth Expected

New Plant Growth Expected

Post-it!

271


Quilchena

272


Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Return

>

Study model.

>

Planting palette: Without the constant green lawn, the landscape now changes colour with the seasons.

273


Study Area 7

POINT GREY

274


Sasamat St W 5th Ave

Tolmie St

W 6th Ave

275


276


277


DECOMPOSITION AND RENEWAL Point Grey green burial

Vancouver is currently in uncharted territory in terms of the climate change crisis, habitat loss, and a lack of adequate urban waste and food cycle systems. This is exacerbated by a cognitive dissonance surrounding the natural cycle of life and death. This design intervention seeks to reconfigure the notion of death in an urban context and realize our contribution to the urban eco-system before and after our passing through decomposition and renewal. Waste and Food: Green Burial Vancouver has many action plans and green initiatives, but one element of civic life that remains overlooked is the waste cycle associated with death. Cremation emits approximately 540 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air per year. Traditional burial, which comprises embalming and burial in a steel and wood casket, requires approximately 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde per year, while a 10-acre cemetery contains 1,000 tons of steel and enough wood to build over 40 houses. A green burial seeks to minimize impacts on the local and global environment and

278

provides an alternative to people who are mindful of the cyclical nature of life. Every human body contributes 6 pounds of nitrogen, 2 pounds of phosphorous and 1 pound of potassium, all of which are key elements to the production of healthy soil. Our proposal offers a new perspective on decomposition and renewal by encouraging residents to opt for green burial within their own properties. Along with our green burial strategy, we have designed a complimentary growth and food cycle that memorializes the interred and celebrates their life-giving potential. In order to encourage the cycle of decomposition and renewal, quails become another essential part of the system. Quails are non-destructive, a natural fertilizer, quiet, provide fresh eggs and meat and can bring joy to a topic that can be quite heavy. We also propose that small burial mounds are built with mulch as they provide a sense of memorialization and encourage further decomposition of the body. Eventually these mounds will return to a flattened state. Once the mound is built, we encourage property owners to plant Calendula officinalis (pot marigold) as


Kevin Parsons Yaying Zhou

they are heat, shade and drought tolerant while also having medicinal properties. Not only does it provide an affective memorialization, but it also has high feed potential for quails. Stormwater Management: Moss Stormwater management has been integrated into this study to tackle the combined challenges of the blocks 9% slope and below average stormwater pipe size. With major storm surges expected due to climate change, we propose that selected species of moss replace grass to increase water retention capacity. Moss is also a powerful symbol of renewal and decomposition, as it produces its own food source through photosynthesis but also helps to break down organic matter into nutrients.

dead or dying tree. Point Grey is near both Jericho Park and Pacific Spirit Park. We propose that snags are cut to 6 feet to not cause any damage to humans and properties. By integrating snags in Point Grey, it will provide critical habitat to more than 100 bird species and is an excellent opportunity for citizens to witness the life-giving potential that comes from decomposition. It is our hope that through this design we can create a multifaceted urban landscape that integrates socio-ecological values. In turn, providing citizens with opportunity to discover intimate links between decomposition and renewal.

Habitat Creation: Snags The design also proposes the reconfiguration of dead, damaged or dying trees. We encourage policy makers to change regulations that allow for property owners to utilize what is known as a snag. Snags refer to a standing,

279


Point Grey

>

Decomposition and renewal: A representation of the various elements of decomposition, renewal, and their relation.

280


Decomposition and Renewal

>

Death and rebirth: A collage of the main project components.

281


Point Grey

Moss species Shorter hours of shade Racomitrium lanuginosum Dicranum scoparium Polystrichum commune Hydocomium splendens Longer hours of shade

Impervious surface

Opportunity zone Green burial Quail coop Tree snag

282


Decomposition and Renewal

>

Existing conditions: Including slope, hydrological flows, shade and impermeable surfaces. Also identified are potential opportunity zones for intervention.

283


Point Grey

>

Propositional collage: Life regenerated from death.

284

Snag

>

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Four Principles of Decomposition and Renewal: Moss


Decomposition and Renewal

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Green Burial

Propositional collage: Life and death spent underground.

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Quail

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Point Grey

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Decomposition and Renewal

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Lot study: Provides an intimate look of two separate sites of intervention on the North and the South of the block.

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Point Grey

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Decomposition and Renewal

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Block study: A view of the entire block which offers an opportunity to witness the interaction of different components of the design.

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Point Grey

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Scene one.

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Scene three.

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Decomposition and Renewal

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Scene two.

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Decomposition and renewal throughout time: Four detailed views throughout the course of an average lifespan.

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Point Grey

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Stage 1: Pre-design intervention with specific attention to the dying conifer tree.

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Stage 2: Establishment of a snag, quails and vegetation, and the state of the green burial one year post-intervention

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Decomposition and Renewal

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Stage 3: Three years post-design with increased habitat, quails and vegetation

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Stage 4: Eight years post-intervention; the property has reached noticeable productivity.

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CAPRA TILAPIA

Capra Tilapia is an integrated goat and fish farming system that is shared â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in land, commitment and the resulting product â&#x20AC;&#x201D; amongst a minimum of four neighbouring properties in West Point Grey.

highly productive fish and goat farm while maintaining a sense of ownership of their property.

Capra Tilapia is a circular exchange of land, production and people. A transformation of topography is evenly exchanged between homes; fill from the creation of two ponds on the south properties is used to create two hills on the north properties. The farming system itself is a continuous cycle: fish, goats, plants and compost all interact and depend upon one another to function. These two central features of the design require a third component: continuous collaboration amongst neighbours.

The tilapia portion of Capra Tilapia consists of one large tilapia pond and one run-off pond. It is a closed-loop aquaponics structure in which no waste is created. Up to 1,500 Blue Tilapia are raised in the fish pond. The wastewater is channeled through a series of filters and a berm, consisting of a gravel layer and a topsoil layer, is installed. The gravel acts as a biofilter, providing a surface for ammoniaeliminating bacteria. Worms provide further filtration and suppress plant disease. Nitrogen-loving lettuce is planted on the berm, uptaking the nutrients in the water. The clean water then travels to the overflow pond, ready to be returned uphill to the tilapia pond. This pond structure is designed to be a biodiverse wetland ecosystem, providing habitat for other wildlife as well as producing food. The southern properties could produce 680 to 1,300 kilograms of tilapia and 5,000 kilograms of lettuce per year.

This project responds to the social dynamics of West Point Grey. The selected area of study is a block where people greatly value their privacy; 100% of the residents use security cameras. We are challenging this concern for privacy by encouraging people to strengthen their community by collectivizing resources for a shared food-growing system. Participants become an active part of a

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South Properties: Blue Tilapia and Lettuce


Marije Stryker Sara Tavakoli

North Properties: Nigerian Dwarf Goats Pastures consisting of a variety of native grasses and wildflowers are proposed for the two north properties. A pair of Nigerian Dwarf goats is rotated from one property to another every four days. The fill from the creation of the ponds is used to construct hills and the goats are able to access the garage roofs, now planted with pasture vegetation. The hills allow for the pastures to remain dry, a critical aspect of goat raising in Vancouver. The goats provide many benefits to these two yards: they control invasive species such as ivy and blackberry, and the manure keeps the pastures fertile. The goats can produce around 340 kilograms of milk per year, which can be used to make a variety of products.

on the social and economic structure of the West Point Grey neighbourhood, as well as other neighbourhoods that choose to become a part of this type of shared, cyclical farming system. Capra Tilapia addresses the issue of the large amount of predominantly unused lawn space and transitions these areas into high-production, biodiverse and attractive green and blue spaces.

These two separate farming components are integrated to optimize resource management. The goat manure is used to grow phytoplankton, a food source for Blue Tilapia. The lettuce raised on the southern properties becomes a supplemental food source for the goats. The produce and resulting revenue is shared amongst the participants; this could have a large impact

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Point Grey

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The expanded system: A representation of how Capra Tilapia could be situated within a larger cyclical farming network with a variety of integrated production.

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Capra Tilapia

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Capra tilapia concept diagram. A closed-system goat and fish farm; all aspects are interconnected. Also illustrated are the resulting products.

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Point Grey

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Site plan.

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Capra Tilapia

Detail Design

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Point Grey

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Year 0, existing condition: Homeowners value the appearance of their front yards, but the back yards are predominantly impermeable surfaces or unused lawn space.

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Capra Tilapia

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Year 1, installation: Ponds are dug, hills are created, green roofs are installed.

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Point Grey

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Year 2, high production: Goats are introduced to the system; fish, vegetables and dairy products are being produced. The yards are now attractive and biodiverse green spaces.

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Capra Tilapia

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Year 3, establishment of a market: A variety of products are sold in the Capra Tilapia Market.

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Point Grey

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Tilapia wetlands, section cut. A detail study of how the installation of a tilapia pond will dramatically alter the yard; transforming the area into a wetland ecosystem.

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Capra Tilapia

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Point Grey

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Private garden: A pond and berm are situated to allow for maximum sun exposure and capture the flow of stormwater through the site.

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Capra Tilapia

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The yard is now productive, attractive, and biodiverse.

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Point Grey

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Custom topography: The transformation of the neighbourhood through the creation of the fish ponds and goat hills.

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Capra Tilapia

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Heightened production: An overall view of the alley demonstrating the circulation of people and their interaction with Capra Tilapia.

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Point Grey

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The goat farmers: The neighbours benefit from the shared farming system while maintaining their sense of private ownership.

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Capra Tilapia

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The tilapia farmers: Sharing food builds community, without sacrificing security and privacy.

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Fionn Byrne

Stephanie Braconnier

Fionn Byrne is an assistant professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. His research focuses on the relationships between nature, aesthetics, and ethics, using speculative design to challenge dominant environmental narratives.

Stephanie Braconnier is an adjunct professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia. She is a designer who works in landscape architecture and urban design, collaborating with firms in Canada, the USA and Europe to visualize resilient urban landscapes and vibrant public spaces.

Prior to joining the faculty at UBC, Byrne served as the Daniel Urban Kiley Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Byrne has also taught at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto and at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.

In 2016 Stephanie founded FUTURE LANDSCAPES Design + Visualization with the ambition to pursue a more versatile and integrative approach to design that encompasses the spectrum of scales within graphic representation, from typography and digital media to landscape planning at an urban scale. FUTURE LANDSCAPES focuses on projects that have a significant and meaningful impact on enhancing biodiversity, developing natural infrastructure, and fostering human connection in the public realm.


Studio Instructors Fionn Byrne Stephanie Braconnier

Studio Report Designer, Cover Image, Neighbourhood Maps, and Site Photos by Fionn Byrne Studio Report Editors Fionn Byrne Stephanie Braconnier School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture The University of British Columbia 402 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 6333 Memorial Road Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z2 Tel 604 827 7252 2019/20 Winter Session Term 2 Studio Report LARC 502 Design Studio II Change in common: Climate change and the future of the yard

2020 Copyright of all drawings, texts and photographs held by the authors and contributors.


2019/20 Winter Session Term 2 Studio Report

Students Anjani Batra Vicky Cen Ben Eisenberg Josh Fender Emma Gosselin Kelly Kang Berend Kessler Ivana Lexa-French Zhijie Ma Prashi Malik Christen Oakes Kevin Parsons Jennifer Reid Chris Rothery Kendra Scanlon Max Slater Marije Stryker Jingzhou Sun Jenny Tang Sara Tavakoli Kimberly Wong Beau Wuthrich Jordan Yule Noora Yunus Suzy Zhan Yaying Zhou

Profile for fionn-byrne

Change in Common: Climate Change and the Future of the Yard  

The yard provides an opportunity to explore the responsibility of individual residents to the collective challenges facing our society. For...

Change in Common: Climate Change and the Future of the Yard  

The yard provides an opportunity to explore the responsibility of individual residents to the collective challenges facing our society. For...

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