Ground 20 – Winter 2012/2013 – Chill

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Landscape Architect Quarterly 12/

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Round Table The Big Chill Features Design in a Cold Climate Chilling Out with Nature

Publication # 40026106

Winter 2012-2013 Issue 20


Contents

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Up Front Information on the Ground Chill:

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Northern Inspiration Cornelia Hahn Oberlander in conversation with Nancy Chater, OALA Round Table The Big Chill Helle Søholt and Gil Peñalosa in conversation MODERATED BY ADRIENNE HALL

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A Fun Run on Chilly Hills The Ultimate Tobogganing Design Design in a Cold Climate Werner Schwar, OALA, on designing in the North Chilling Out with Nature William Sullivan in conversation with Todd Smith Plant Corner Plants for Winter Interest TEXT BY TODD SMITH

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Technical Corner Environmentally Friendly Alternatives to Road Salts TEXT BY KATE NELISCHER, WITH RESEARCH BY FUNG LEE, OALA

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Notes A miscellany of news and events Artifact Grow Op: Exploring Landscape + Place TEXT BY LORRAINE JOHNSON

Winter 2012-2013 Issue 20

President’s Message

Editorial Board Message

President’s Message

Editorial Board Message

As I write this, we are heading into the holidays and many of us are looking forward to taking a little time to “chill.” With the holidays comes winter weather; the deep freeze allows us to change our type of recreation as well as enjoy beautiful, sparkling, winterswept landscapes. As an Ottawa resident, I look forward to the opening of the “largest skating rink in the province,” the Rideau Canal. This UNESCO site hosts hundreds of skaters daily throughout the season.

The winter landscape has a unique hold on northeners’ minds. We love it or hate it in the instance, but beyond our conscious experience of it, perhaps our subconscious is also busy interpreting the many cultural archetypes and symbologies that resonate in this chilly season.

In a province affected by weather extremes, landscape architects who work in the field of design must consider seasonal aspects of the spaces they create, and address winter dormant views as well as those at the height of bloom in late spring and summer and the transitional views of fall. As an Association, we are currently undertaking work that will consider all aspects of practice our members undertake throughout careers and across many expressions of the profession. It is absolutely fascinating to ponder how the creativity of our members has affected the many types of professional landscape architectural practice. On the first Saturday of December, I was privileged to attend a seminar on the legislative process regarding practice legislation. As I looked around the room at the many familiar faces, I was struck by the value that we, as landscape architects, bring to a community and how very important it is that we position ourselves on par with our allied professionals so that we may, without debate, be the ones who provide professional services regarding landscape architectural matters…from the very beginning of the process. During the seminar, it was reassuring to hear that of the steps to ready ourselves to advance a practice legislation case, most have already been taken. To name a few: a representative Council, an Executive, adequate staff, specific educational and entrance requirements, governing bylaws, a means of reporting and disciplining those in contravention of bylaws and policies, and members capable of supporting a budget that addresses professional practice. So, we are very close to being in a position to advance our case for defining a scope of practice of landscape architecture and to have that scope protected with a provincial statute. That would be chill! JOANNE MORAN, OALA PRESIDENT@OALA.CA

Adam Gopnik’s book Winter and his “five windows on the season”—romantic, radical, recreational, recuperative, and remembering—remind us of how our experience of winter has been tempered or conditioned by our cultural histories and mores, and that the landscape of winter, and our designs upon it, is a reflection of these stories. Of course, winter just carries on with no regard for us—we choose to ignore it or celebrate its existence. As the climate changes and winter freezes and thaws increase (or decrease) in frequency, does the winter cultural landscape become a “new” space within which to consider public space, circulation, and flora? What are the changes you are experiencing in your Ontario winter? Perhaps people wish to be outside more in the winter— definitely an opportunity for landscape architects. Ground has joined the Twitter revolution with a delightful bang. If you have never used Twitter, you will be amazed at some very interesting and helpful industry information within the network. Please follow us: @Groundmag and send us a tweet! The Editorial Board would like to give wholehearted and grateful thanks to Nancy Chater, OALA, and Rob Walkowiak for their time and dedication to Ground. Rob has moved on to other pursuits, while Nancy remains a member of the Editorial Board. She was Co-Chair for nearly four years (attending virtually every one of our monthly meetings in those four years!) and her leadership and organization were inspirations. Thank you! We welcome with enthusiasm our new interim Chair, Denise Pinto, whose initial efforts on the Editorial Board include launching Ground into the Twittersphere and facilitating an improved, searchable platform for Ground on the OALA website. (You can now, for example, send pdfs of specific Ground articles to friends and colleagues.) Wherever you are this winter, we hope you enjoy perusing this issue dedicated to all things chill. TODD SMITH EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER


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Editor Lorraine Johnson

2013 OALA Governing Council

OALA Editorial Board Nancy Chater Eric Gordon Adrienne Hall Jocelyn Hirtes Fung Lee Leslie Morton Kate Nelischer Denise Pinto (interim chair) Maili Sedore Todd Smith Netami Stuart Victoria Taylor

President Joanne Moran

Art Direction/Design www.typotherapy.com Advertising Inquiries advertising@oala.ca 416.231.4181 Cover OALA member Eric Gordon’s design of an ideal tobogganing run. See page 18. Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly is published four times a year by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects. Ontario Association of Landscape Architects 3 Church Street, Suite 407 Toronto, Ontario M5E 1M2 416.231.4181 www.oala.ca oala@oala.ca Copyright © 2013 by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects All rights reserved ISSN: 0847-3080 Canada Post Sales Product Agreement No. 40026106

Vice President Morteza Behrooz Treasurer Sarah Culp Secretary Doris Chee Past President Glenn O’Connor Councillors Alana Evers Jonathan Loschmann Associate Councillor—Senior Jonathan Woodside Associate Councillor—Junior Inna Olchovski Lay Councillor Linda Thorne Appointed Educator University of Toronto Elise Shelley

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About

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Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly is published by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects and provides an open forum for the exchange of ideas and information related to the profession of landscape architecture. Letters to the editor, article proposals, and feedback are encouraged. For submission guidelines, contact Ground at magazine@oala.ca. Ground reserves the right to edit all submissions. The views expressed in the magazine are those of the writers and not necessarily the views of the OALA and its Governing Council.

The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects works to promote and advance the profession of landscape architecture and maintain standards of professional practice consistent with the public interest. The OALA promotes public understanding of the profession and the advancement of the practice of landscape architecture. In support of the improvement and/or conservation of the natural, cultural, social and built environments, the OALA undertakes activities including promotion to governments, professionals and developers of the standards and benefits of landscape architecture.

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Andrew B. Anderson, BLA, MSc. World Heritage Management Landscape & Heritage Expert, Oman Botanic Garden Victoria Lister Carley, OALA, Victoria Lister Carley Landscape Architect, Toronto John Danahy, OALA, Associate Professor, University of Toronto George Dark, OALA, FCSLA, ASLA, Principal, Urban Strategies Inc., Toronto Katherine Dugmore, MCIP, RPP, Waterfront Project Manager, City of Thunder Bay Real Eguchi, OALA, Eguchi Associates Landscape Architects, Toronto Donna Hinde, OALA, Partner, The Planning Partnership, Toronto Ryan James, OALA, Landscape Architect, Peterborough Alissa North, OALA, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Principal of North Design Office, Toronto Peter North, OALA, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Principal of North Design Office, Toronto Cecelia Paine, OALA, FCSLA, FASLA, Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, University of Guelph Nathan Perkins, MLA, PhD, ASLA, Associate Professor, University of Guelph Jim Vafiades, OALA, Senior Landscape Architect, Stantec, London



Up Front

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“Community partners,” says Piskorowski. When the Junction Business Improvement Area (BIA), in Toronto’s west end, offered their on-going support to maintain the site, LEAF settled on an unlikely little area on the edge of a No Frills parking lot on Pacific Avenue, south of Dundas Street. Here, between the sidewalk and rows of parked cars, a stand of four mature honey locusts had been wriggling their roots beneath tootight pavers for years.

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depaving tree pockets “Planting is very sexy, but stewardship is what makes planting succeed,” says Jessica Piskorowski, the Education and Stewardship Coordinator for LEAF, a not-for-profit organization in Toronto that advocates for the urban forest. I’m speaking with Piskorowski about one of LEAF’s more ambitious pilot projects—a venture sure to win the hearts of anyone bothered by the sight of tree roots buckling the sidewalk for want of space, air, and light: The DePave Paradise project. An initiative that began in Portland, Orgeon, DePave encourages people to select areas where pavement is adversely affecting trees, and endorses—after much thoughtful research to locate utilities and prep a site— unabashedly ripping up asphalt to install more resilient groundcover and support the creation of public space.

Up Front: Information on the Ground

The narrow site is not one that immediately inspires possibility. In other DePave projects, expansive lots have meant room for perennial food forests and community gathering spaces, but at the Junction site sat an unremarkable concrete median. Amazingly, the project garnered the support and partnership of not only the Junction BIA, but also Councillor Sarah Doucette of Ward 13, the adjacent No Frills supermarket, as well as a sustainable gardening and landscaping company called Green Gardeners. They had all gathered to lift up this little slice of the city and demonstrate something powerful: that a neighbourhood asset can come in a small package, that every tree is

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Around North America, the DePave Paradise project has included the overhaul of massive underused and derelict parking lots, as well as areas where low permeability causes undue stress on the sewer system. In Toronto, Piskorowski tells me, LEAF was approached by Green Communities Canada (GCC) to become the Toronto ambassadors for the movement—and with the impressive LEAF network in tow (more than 800 volunteers), it seems GCC picked wisely. The not-for-profit reviewed candidate sites in the city and short-listed some very deserving spaces, but had to arrive at one location for the pilot. With so many worthy, neglected streetscapes, how did LEAF pick?

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With volunteers from LEAF and the Junction BIA, a small pocket of green growth is restored.

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The local BIA is responsible for keeping the new plantings well watered, with the help of residents.

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Courtesy LEAF

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Signage encourages the local community to get involved with stewardship of the urban forest.

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Courtesy LEAF


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important, that planted areas can increase infiltration, and that even ignored spaces are a legitimate part of the urban forest. “Having community partners step in to take care of the health of the trees was absolutely necessary to ensure success,” Piskorowski notes. The partnerships enabled LEAF to secure planning approvals and set up for the long-term health of the site. As she puts it, “We needed them to thrive, not just survive.” In late September, on National Tree Day, with a team of about a dozen volunteers, LEAF and its partners went to work helping the four boulevard trees regain their access to moisture and nutrients. The team gingerly removed paving stones (to be recycled by Green Gardeners) and lay down a generous layer of new soil and fresh mulch. One tree was left clinging to a single paving stone which it had begun to grow over—a lasting testament to the adaptability of the urban forest.

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Through a project they call Return the Landscape, the two men have started working with key partners—developers, city planners, the county, a local college—to initiate a process whereby plants on development sites in Sarnia-Lambton are salvaged prior to construction and made available for naturalization projects. To date, they have worked with approximately five developers on “handshake agreements.” “We’ve been rescuing plants for two years now from Lambton County,” explains Cornelis, noting that their efforts have so far resulted in roughly 12,000 native plants being saved at various sites and planted in local parks and schools.

Knowing that this would be a high-traffic area, LEAF and its partners envisioned a design that would be robust and tolerate potential trampling. For groundcover, they selected wild strawberry, a hardy perennial, to fill out the newly depaved areas. “The wild strawberries spread like wildfire, act as a natural insulator for soil, keep water from evaporating quickly and thus provide the tree with water. They also help break through tough soil, getting fauna back into it, encouraging a nutrient cycle,” notes Piskorowski. 05

Over the next two years, the Junction BIA will be in charge of regular watering, championing the site, and, it is hoped, involving the residents, too. In Piskorowski’s opinion, this is one of the most important things LEAF advocates: “Getting people to think about adopting their street tree, park tree, or backyard tree.” As for the volunteers on the Junction DePave project, many want a reprise. Though LEAF has no plans for a second round, Piskorowski is sure the skills will disperse into the community and she’ll see other champions emerge and other sites depaved. TEXT BY DENISE PINTO, INTERIM CHAIR OF THE GROUND EDITORIAL BOARD.

PLANT RESCUES

saving the pieces In their work designing and building native plant gardens for community projects in Sarnia-Lambton, Larry Cornelis and Shawn McKnight have often encountered a frustrating problem: “On the one hand, it is often difficult to source native plant material,” explains McKnight, “but driving around the city, we see development sites with those same plants about to be bulldozed.” As long-time proponents of naturalization, Cornelis and McKnight have wondered how these plants could be saved and utilized rather than wasted.

As Cornelis and McKnight list some of the plants they’ve recently salvaged from an oak savanna—rough blazing star, New Jersey tea, plains puccoon—our talk turns inevitably to the thorny issue of the urgent need for preservation/conservation versus the practical imperatives of urban/regional development. Clearly, they’re keenly aware that their plant-rescue work could be seen as a justification for rampant destruction of natural areas, and they both stress that their work in no way replaces or displaces the important advocacy that needs to be done to save natural areas. Indeed, both men are active in various conservation organizations and have long been involved in education efforts, giving talks and slideshows about


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native plants and natural heritage. Cornelis sums up the inherent duality in their work with down-to-earth clarity: “It’s a bummer that natural areas are still being destroyed, but it’s great that plants are being saved.” As he elaborates, “Rescues are not an alternative to protection, but development is happening.” Rather than demonizing developers, Cornelis and McKnight are reaching out to them to be allies and involving them in a process of protection. Their collaborative approach is leading to some positive connections for future additions to the program, one of which involves a property beside Pinery Provincial Park. As McKnight enthuses, “The developer is talking with us about keeping to a minimum footprint with bulldozing, digging up the plants, setting them aside, drawing up a design, and then putting the plants back after construction.” In such a scenario, there is as little disruption to the natural area as is possible, given that the housing development is going to happen regardless. And of course, the people who buy the houses end up with a landscape full of mature plants closely connected—in spirit and by design—with the nearby natural area. Cornelis and McKnight hope that by demonstrating the benefits of this approach, more developers will come to see the value of retaining as much of the natural landscape as possible.

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Currently in discussion with the city of Sarnia about options for making plant rescues an official component of development approvals, Cornelis and McKnight’s idea and recent accomplishments are generating interest and support within various city departments. According to Sarnia’s Planning Manager, Kevin Edwards, it is a good time to be exploring these options because the city is currently in the process of drafting a new Official Plan. Edwards is particularly positive about the documentation work that Cornelis and McKnight are doing (such as keeping track of what happens on the properties, how successful various propagation techniques are, etc.) and he has high hopes for the report that will come out of this work: “At the end of the process, we can look at ways to put everything we’ve learned into a model,” says Edwards.

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Cornelis and McKnight, too, hope that their Return the Landscape project will become a model, a template that is transferable to other municipalities. “On our own, we can’t save all the plants in Lambton County,” says Cornelis. But there’s no doubt that they’ve come up with a collaborative way to save a lot. TEXT BY BY LORRAINE JOHNSON, EDITOR OF GROUND AND THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS ON NATIVE PLANT GARDENING.

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Through a partnership with Lambton College, Return the Landscape is growing plants in the college’s greenhouse.

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Return the Landscape

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Experimenting with propagation techniques and documenting the results is an important component of the project.

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Return the Landscape

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Interest in natural heritage protection is particularly strong in Sarnia-Lambton, with many volunteers for plant rescues.

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Return the Landscape

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A seed-cleaning session.

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Plant rescue.

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Return the Landscape

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Northern Inspiration

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Northern Inspiration

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Renowned landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander shares her thoughts on design in the era of climate change with Nancy Chater, OALA 01/

Entrance to the school in Inuvik.

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Ihor Pona

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander is an internationally acclaimed landscape architect who has, over the past sixty years, collaborated in a wide range of projects with such noted architects as Renzo Piano on the New York Times Building, Moshe Safdie on the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Public Library, and the late Arthur Erickson on Robson Square and the Museum of Anthropology, in Vancouver. In the words of the Governor General in presenting the Order of Canada to Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: “Canada’s premier landscape architect, she is known for integrating her designs in the overall architectural project with the natural environment, yet always adding a unique new vision and dimension. Her expert technical knowledge is coupled with her concern for expressing cultural, social, and environmental concepts in her work and is reflected in her many projects for the young, the old, and for the public at large.” Cornelia Hahn Oberlander is a leader in researching green solutions. In 2011 IFLA, The International Federation of Landscape

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At the time there were no nurseries in Yellowknife, nor propagation facilities, so I had to come up there with a seed collector and collect all the seeds from the plants that are suitable to remedy the scars of construction. 02

Architects, bestowed on her the highest honour, the Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award, for her endeavours in building a greener future over the many years of her professional practice. In 2012 the American Society of Landscape Architects bestowed on Cornelia Hahn Oberlander the ASLA Medal, the highest honour of the ASLA “in recognition of her unfaltering leadership and awardwinning work in postwar landscape architecture in Canada and the United States. She is the embodiment of the multidisciplinary landscape architect who perpetually pursues aesthetic, ecological, and technical possibilities to achieve worldwide community well-being.” Nancy Chater (NC): I would like to ask you about some of the projects you’ve done in northern climates and some of the ways you think about the design of northern-inspired projects. You designed the landscape for the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly; what were the challenges? Cornelia Hahn Oberlander (CHO): Yellowknife is situated at 62 degrees latitude north, below the Arctic Circle. The building had to respond to the unique challenges of designing on a rocky site among trees that are probably a hundred or more years old. In 1992, when we started, they were no taller than about 20 feet. The building is very carefully sited among the trees, so we didn’t have to remove any trees.

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View alongside the school in Inuvik.

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Ihor Pona

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The Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly Building.

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Courtesy Cornelia Hahn Oberlander


Northern Inspiration

It’s a scrub landscape which has a harmonious relationship to rock outcroppings, a peat bog in the foreground, and a lakeside location. The architects were Gino Pin, Yellowknife, and Matsuzaki Wright Architects in Vancouver. I want to note at the start that I only work in collaboration with architects and teams of professionals who can solve problems together; that is very important. The concept of this building and its relationship to its surrounding was based on the approach of “least intervention” and “limiting footprints,” which today in all our work is most important. The need to maintain vital ecological processes, conserve biological diversity, and utilize ecosystems of plants and animals at sustainable levels are all part of this approach. This meant that I had to rethink how to heal the scars of the building operation and the construction of a road. At the time there were no nurseries in Yellowknife, nor propagation facilities, so I had to come up there with a seed collector and collect all the seeds from the plants that are suitable to remedy the scars of construction. I flew up there with Bruce McTavish, a seed collector. He collected the seeds from a distance of about five kilometres from the building— rose hips, blueberries, and other plants. The seeds and cuttings were then flown back to B.C., and taken to a Vancouver propagation facility. Two years later they were returned as plants to Yellowknife. They were not replanted in beds. We just nestled the plants into the rock areas so it looks as if they had always been there. And that is called “invisible mending.” NC: That’s the term for your northern invention? CHO: Yes. A sensitive attitude toward the land is well described by Barry Lopez in his book Arctic Dreams: “‘What does one do when visiting a new place,’ asked the man? His reply was simple. ‘I listen that’s all. I listen to do what the land is saying. I walk around it and strain my senses in appreciation of all for a long time before I myself ever speak a word. Entered in this manner, the land will open up.’” I read that, and it helped me to develop the system of “invisible mending.”

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NC: How is that landscape doing now? CHO: It’s so gorgeous you just won’t believe it. I have photographs from this summer, everything perfect. No dieback, nothing.

as the landscape architect, I had to address these changes. Wind studies and snow drifting investigations were essential to the site planning of the school and its surroundings. Innovative ways were developed to bring native plants and trees to the school.

NC: Did you have to add soil? CHO: We had a little bit of soil from the peat bog and from the excavation of the building, and we mixed this with sand from the airport. We didn’t have much, we just took what we needed, and everything is growing nicely. NC: That’s a very light touch on the landscape you are describing. Was there any geometry or form that you imposed in that particular project? CHO: No, you don’t do that with invisible mending. You just go around and see where the plants are needed and you do not have any flower beds. The building meets the rocks and native plants. NC: So it’s as though that building has been there for a long time and looks very established. CHO: The entrance to the building, thanks to the architect, is a floating concrete path. It does not touch the ground so the critters can go from right to left, left to right, underneath. NC: It’s a kind of bridge? CHO: Yes, but only elevated by about six inches from the ground. NC: Tell us about your more recent design and implementation in the North, the Inuvik School. CHO: Inuvik is 2 degrees north of the Arctic Circle at the McKenzie River Delta. Here again the architect Gino Pin and landscape architect collaborated in building a community school from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Inuvik has a special microclimate within the boreal forest. The area is deeply affected by climate change, with degraded permafrost, decreased snow extent, changes in wind patterns, and increased river discharge, with resulting ecosystems impact. Therefore,

Are you familiar with the studies of the “Polar Year of 2012”? It was a conference in Montreal that told us that the climate is changing drastically in the arctic. It told us that people have to rely more and more on native plants for food, and I had realized that already in 2006 when I started work on the school. However, I did not know until later on in the project that we had the wind and the snow drifting to address. Therefore, a shelter belt at the school was planted with native trees, available from the site around the town and root-pruned a year prior to transplanting. No nurseries of course are available in Inuvik and therefore I again relied on my professional seed collectors. The seeds were brought back to Vancouver, to a state-of-the-art propagation facility, which we now have. The school project was exactly twenty years after the Legislative Assembly Building. During that time, very good propagation facilities for northern plants were developed. In a propagation facility called Nat’s Nursery the plants were raised from seed into pots, and some 5,000 plants were crated up to be planted this past July in Inuvik. It looks absolutely fantastic. After two years these plants, which are genetically true to the North, were returned to the site in containers and planted as groundcover and shrubs amongst the trees. The school opened in September 2012 and the children are enjoying the new surroundings as well as learning about the native ecology— especially edible plants such as blueberry, cranberries, and cloudberries. NC: Was this project another example of invisible mending? CHO: No, because the school site was flat and had been stripped of everything, I had to start from scratch. NC: To rebuild a native landscape? CHO: Yes, the site that was chosen was already flattened because the site that was


Northern Inspiration

originally given to us was so swampy because of the melting permafrost. It used to be that we had pilings for buildings in Inuvik that were 10 feet deep. Now, because of changes to permafrost, the pilings for the school are between 30 and 60 feet deep. NC: That’s a very clear indicator of change. CHO: Today, I’m working in many climate zones including the Arctic. I’m more aware of the evidence of climate change, which includes increased temperatures. For instance, in the week of July 14 when we arrived in Inuvik, it was 27 degrees centigrade! We don’t have such heat in Vancouver. Increased temperatures and diminished sea ice on the Northwest Passage are now evident. If you go to the Northwest Passage, you might see a few ice floes if you’re lucky, but they’re not big. They’re not big enough for a man to fish from. They are not big enough for the polar bear to use. They are flat and thin. We have diminished sea ice, degraded permafrost. There was a large ice melt in Greenland: on July 15th, a glacier tumbled into the sea, the Arctic Ocean. This means our sea levels will rise by two to three inches this year. And by 2030, probably three feet. So coastal cities have to rethink how they’re going to build. The profession of landscape architecture has come a long way. I think the whole profession is now ready to undertake work not only towards the standards of LEED or SITES, but beyond. We must design and build according to the “Living Building Challenge.” We have to think differently about the land; we need to limit our footprints, how we are restoring each site. Buckminster Fuller challenged us with the following words: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” These words have guided me on many projects. NC: That’s great; you have to create something that people can gravitate towards in order to motivate a change.

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CHO: You don’t design flower beds in the Arctic! Somebody flew to Yellowknife and the first question she asked was, “where are the flower beds?” I have no flower beds. I nestled all the plants around the site. I just visited this summer. It was fantastic! There was a bog where blueberries were colonized. All I had put there were around fifty plants, but now it’s a huge collection. So the native people can come and eat the fruit. NC: It’s multi-functional. You’re doing invisible mending and creating productive landscapes with edible plants. CHO: Because a bag of oranges with six oranges is twenty dollars in the store. The three aboriginal Nations in Inuvik are not nourishing themselves well at that price. But if they go out and crop their berries and learn again about that ancient practice, then they will get the vitamins they need. NC: I wanted to ask you about your project with Moshe Safdie for the National Gallery. The Northern Taiga Garden at the gallery is interesting because it’s another example of the influence or the expression of the North in your work. We talked about actual built projects. This is a built project but it’s very much inspired by art depicting the North. CHO: I collaborated with Moshe Safdie on the landscape for the National Gallery of Canada. He wanted something about the North but it was very vague. And thus I formulated the idea that the pictures of the Group of Seven, which showed us the Canadian North, would be the inspiration. I designed the Taiga Garden, a northern woodland landscape, as an example of what landscape and art could be. NC: Now that you’ve worked in the North, in the Arctic, do you find that there’s any difference between the representation of the North in the painting and your experience of the actual place? CHO: Well, the site is different. In Yellowknife I had big rocks. At the Taiga Garden in Ottawa I had ledges of rocks but not voluptuous big rocks sticking out.

So I worked with the rocks from the site in Ottawa and the rocks from the site in the Northwest Territories. Do you see how each site inspires me to do something? NC: You’ve said that modern architecture of the North has been a big inspiration for you for many years. CHO: I went in 1955 with my husband, Peter, to study the new towns around Stockholm, where we saw highrises situated in the forest. This inspired me for many years. The influence of that trip is recorded on my website in an article in Community Planning Review. Milestones CHO: In order to prepare for my chosen profession, I went to Smith College. I was studying in an interdepartmental major called Landscape Architecture and Architecture. A few years later, I was admitted to the Harvard Graduate School of Design where I learned five important, everlasting tools: (1) Basic design, which awakened a language of vision, exploration of spatial relationships of solids and voids in all phases of design, whether buildings or landscapes; (2) Conceptual thinking; (3) Collaboration and teamwork; (4) Beauty as a requirement for a civilized life as taught by Professor Gropius; and (5) Understanding modern design as laid out in the manifesto written in 1938 by Garrett Eckbo, James Rose, and Dan Kiley. And then of course I worked for Lou Kahn, Oscar Stonorov, and Dan Kiley. Then I married my classmate Peter Oberlander and we went to Vancouver. The great milestones in my life are Arthur Erickson asking me to do the Courthouse Complex in Robson Square, Vancouver. A further milestone was the publication of the Brundtland Report: Our Common Future, in 1987. It recognized that environmental problems were global in nature and urged the United Nations General Assembly to establish policies for sustainable urban development. My late husband, Peter, pressed this book into my hand and said, “This will change your


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landscapes.” And so it has, as shown in all my projects over the last 25 years.

CHO: No, we draw the details all by hand. We get a specialist for CAD when needed.

NC: You’ve been a real pioneer in many ways. Could you feel the ground you were breaking?

NC: And your plans?

CHO: No, I never thought of that. I just marched on happily by myself. I never thought that my drawings, for instance, were valuable until Ms. Lambert at the Canadian Centre for Architecture wanted them. So, all my work is archived at the CCA. NC: You mentioned also that you’d go to all these meetings and you’d be the only woman. I wanted to touch on that because I have that same experience as a landscape architect now, and I’m a couple of generations after you. It’s still the case, in terms of collaborating with architects, engineers, and other professionals as well as construction trades. CHO: Sitting at the table, I’m still very often one of two women. However, I have great hope that the new generation now in their early thirties, recent graduates, will join the table with other consultants. NC: I believe we have always had talented women graduates. Those graduates will need to assert themselves and a place at the table will have to be made for them. There is still a systemic gender hierarchy that extends beyond individual intent, which tends to be progressive in our field, into structures and institutions that are changing—but too slowly! What has that experience been like for you being the only woman at these big meetings through the years? CHO: I say what I like to say [laughter]. I contribute when I feel the need, when I think that my words or my thoughts are worthy and only then. NC: Your practice involves a lot of thorough research. And I know you’ve got your three Rs—risk, research, and responsibility. CHO: Yes. The other very good thing is VIM. It’s not the cleaning powder—it’s vision, imagination, and motivation. NC: I was going to come back to being the only woman at these big tables. It seems that in order to have credibility and to be taken seriously as both a landscape architect and a woman in the context I spoke of, you really have to be solid on what you know or what you’re proposing. CHO: That’s why I always come prepared for meetings, having done some background information or some research so that I can contribute, to give worthy contributions. I’m very choosey. I don’t take many projects. I don’t work for developers, for instance. I work when the architect has a project and calls me. NC: You have chosen to keep your practice very small. In fact, just yourself with one assistant. Does your assistant do AutoCAD?

CHO: Yes. I’m restoring a garden I originally designed in 1953, andI found my beautiful drawings for the fence and everything, the original 1953 drawings I had done. NC: I find it fascinating that you’ve worked in housing, playgrounds, and then these very large civic spaces. CHO: In 2001 I designed a park near the University of British Columbia for people living in apartments, row houses, student housing, and married student housing. It’s called Jim Everett Park. All of the buildings were there except for a new apartment house. The ground was flat and wet and what I made of it has become the best little neighbourhood park that you can imagine. NC: Are you still practising? CHO: Yes, and I’m very busy. Right now, I’m working with Moshe Safdie to convert the library roof, the Vancouver Public Library roof, from an inaccessible roof to an accessible roof. I am involved with a large apartment building with an edible roof garden. I am deep into urban agriculture right now: food security, whether it’s the Arctic or here, is of the utmost importance. NC: Where did your sense of social responsibility come from? CHO: Oh my dear. That’s in my genes. My mother was a horticulturist. Outward Bound was founded by my father’s oldest brother, Kurt Hahn. Throughout past generations my family was very socially responsible and conscious. My great grandfather founded a steel mill in Germany and he was the first one to have a pension scheme and a health scheme for his workers, which was then adopted all over Germany. That was in 1870. My grandmother on my mother’s side founded a housing association in Berlin and my grandfather, her husband, was a city councilor and oversaw the building of the subway in Berlin and also founded a technical high school and so forth. He was a historian and professor at the university of Berlin. So social responsibility and social consciousness is built into my genes. NC: You’re an inspiration. CHO: I’m glad to hear that. WITH THANKS TO PAULA WADDICK, OALA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURAL INTERN, FOR TRANSCRIBING THIS DISCUSSION. BIO/ NANCY CHATER, OALA, IS AN ASSOCIATE WITH THE PLANNING PARTNERSHIP AND A MEMBER OF THE GROUND EDITORIAL BOARD.


Round Table

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Round Table

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Helle Søholt and Gil Peñalosa take the chill out of public space in winter, in a Round Table discussion moderated by Adrienne Hall 02

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ADRIENNE HALL IS A MEMBER OF THE GROUND EDITORIAL BOARD AND A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURAL INTERN AT NAK DESIGN STRATEGIES. GIL PEÑALOSA WAS COMMISSIONER OF PARKS IN BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA. FOR THE PAST SIX YEARS HE HAS BEEN THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF 8-80 CITIES, A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION BASED IN TORONTO THAT FOCUSES ON MAKING OUR PUBLIC SPACES WORK FOR EVERYONE, FROM EIGHT-YEAR-OLDS TO EIGHTYYEAR-OLDS. HELLE SØHOLT IS A FOUNDING PARTNER AND THE CEO OF GEHL ARCHITECTS, AN URBAN DESIGN COMPANY BASED IN COPENHAGEN, WHICH SHE STARTED WITH PROFESSOR JAN GEHL. SØHOLT IS WORKING ON THREE PROJECTS IN TORONTO THROUGH A STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH 8-80 CITIES.

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A square in Copenhagen becomes an attractive skating rink.

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CC Lars Ploughmann/Flickr.com

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Shared-space streets remain animated in winter.

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Alison Withers

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Copenhagen in winter.

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Gehl Architects

Adrienne Hall (AH): In a recent issue of Ground, the theme of which was “Health,” we explored the connection between healthy public spaces, healthy lifestyles, and healthy communities. There is more and more recognition of the link between quality urban spaces and better mental and physical health. We are starting to encourage walkability, active transportation, and a sociable public realm. But all of this seems to be forgotten when winter takes its hold in northern cities. We become rushed and reclusive, and many of the public spaces we cherish in warmer months become desolate in winter. Why is it important to have active and animated public spaces in winter? Helle Søholt (HS): Public space is a fundamental piece of infrastructure for any society. Public space is where we can express ourselves and be innovative. That fundamental role of public space does not

go away just because it’s cold. What we need to address is, how can we design the streets and squares and parks and promenades of our cities in order to support a healthy lifestyle? And how can we extentd that into winter, as well? In Copenhagen, for example, we have built a bicycle infrastructure that is very comprehensive, connecting every place, from where people live to where they need to go to work, or take their children to school, and so forth. Seventy percent of people cycling in summer continue to cycle in winter, even though we have snow and pretty harsh, cold weather. We see the same for walking


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and outdoor activities. What that’s telling us is that we need to develop cultures, and not only space. AH: As Canadians, a big part of our cultural identity involves winter. We talk a lot about how winter is an attitude and how enduring it is part of our character. It could even be said that extreme weather events bring people together. Yet for some reason, our attitudes and daily activities do change in winter. For example, most of the people who walk and cycle to work in the summer don’t do it in the winter. What techniques have cities such as Copenhagen used to encourage public space activities in winter? HS: I think you need to extend the systems far beyond what currently exists here. In Toronto, there are a lot of people walking despite the fact that the walkability of the city is not great. A small percentage of people are cycling despite the fact that there is no coherent network. A lot of people use public transport, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that the public transport system is sufficient for the city. This all leads to the fact that we need to build out those connected systems and look at the streets as a complete environment for people, so that we can continue doing various activities throughout the year and not necessarily change our behaviour because the weather is cold. As we say in Denmark, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Gil Peñalosa (GP): I don’t think we should build public spaces for winter or for summer. I think we’ve got to build great public spaces for the whole year. I think that in Toronto, more than anything, we have a mental winter, not real winter. In Toronto, in the last twenty years, the average snowfall has been 121 centimetres. And that’s over five months! We get very, very little snow. More than anything, it’s a mental snow. At the same time, when we do have bad weather, it just means that we have to have better facilities. The other thing we’ve got to remember is that every trip begins and ends by walking. We walk to our cars, we walk to public transit, we walk to our bicycles, we walk to places. So when we say that people don’t walk in the winter, no—they do walk in the

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winter. But if we want people to walk more in the winter, then we’ve got to do much better maintenance. We’ve got to plough the sidewalks. Some municipalities don’t plough the sidewalks and make it the responsibility of each household. I say, why? They say because it saves money. Well, you could save even more money if you asked householders to plough the streets, but we don’t do that. We recognize that municipalities need to plough streets. Why not sidewalks, too, as a basic part of maintaining public infrastructure? We want people to walk to public transit, we want their children to walk to school, but if the sidewalks are not taken care of, the kids are not going to walk to school and people

are not going to walk to public transit. We need to make walking, cycling, and transit a better option. AH: Interestingly, a lot of Canadian cities take their design precedents from cities in warmer climates—more southern and Mediterranean regions of Europe, southern cities in the United States with warmer climates.... So some of our most notable large public spaces, like Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, are horrible places in the winter. They’re not designed for our climate. From an urban design perspective, what kinds of spaces are better for a colder climate? GP: Design and construction are important, but just as important to successful public


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spaces is the management. And by management I don’t mean just cutting the grass and picking up the garbage—that’s only twenty percent of the management. The management is how to embrace the space—how to develop uses and activities. How to develop linkages to the schools in the area, with the hospitals, with the seniors groups, with the community groups and religious groups in the area. How do we encourage use of the spaces on weekdays and weekends, in the daytime and nighttime? Very often it seems easier for cities to find the millions of dollars to build parks and squares and sidewalks and plazas than to find the thousands of dollars to make them work. And even when they find the thousands, they spend the money only in July and August, as if public spaces were only for July and August. I would recommend that municipalities don’t spend one cent in July in August. Spend the money when it’s more difficult. People need a little bit more of an incentive to come out to the neighbourhood park or square in winter. So why don’t you have an ice-skating rink? The iceskating rink is nice, but if you have nice benches in a warm place it’s even better. And if you have some hot chocolate, even better. And a little music. Then you have all of these things that click together to make it into a great place. We need to invest in the uses and activities of our parks and other public spaces especially when the weather is not good, because we want to get people out. It’s critical for physical health, and also for mental health. We know that people are more depressed and have greater anxiety when the weather is bad and especially when the days are very short and there’s darkness. How to get people out of their houses, connecting with other people, relating with other people—this has to be a priority. It’s not just that it’s nice for recreation. It’s important for mental, emotional, and physical health. HS: I agree with Gil about the maintenance issue; maintenance shows us how the city prioritizes mobility and the public use of streets and squares. In Copenhagen, the sidewalks and bicycle lanes are cleared of snow before car lanes. That shows us a

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high priority for the active mobility in the city, which is the way you need to go if you want to promote these types of activities throughout winter. AH: Some of Canada’s biggest tourist attractions are outdoor winter festivals— Winterlude in Ottawa, Carnival in Québec, skating on the Rideau Canal. There’s a sense of festivity and innovation in the ways people use these public spaces. Cities develop unique systems of wayfinding for

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Mobile soup vendors on Strøget, Copenhagen.

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CC Jay Bergsen/Flickr.com

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Copenhagen’s cyclists carry on through winter conditions.

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Gehl Architects

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Skating on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa.

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CC Michelle Tribe/Flickr.com


Round Table

the festivals, implement temporary gathering places... Are there ways we can bring that sense of festival and celebration into everyday spaces? How can we program smaller squares and smaller parks in Ontario cities so that they have that kind of use? HS: I think the smaller squares are even more important in winter because we don’t seem to think enough about the microclimate in those spaces. If the squares become too large and too open and too wide, the wind sweeps through that space much more. And in the summer, they can be really hot because of the big concrete surface. In terms of wind, smaller squares are more protected. In terms of sun and shade, smaller squares should be able to benefit in the summer months from the qualities of shade and in the winter months utilize the sunny spots of the square. In Ontario, I think there is huge potential in the overlooked, small spaces of cities. If there’s not a large tower next to it creating downwash, small squares can offer a really pleasant climate. As well, there are so many spaces left over between car lanes— people are waiting for the bus in the middle of nowhere—and all those little pieces could easily be connected to a façade adding protection to that space, enabling activities from the building to spill out into the squares. We seem to look at public space as something that is floating, something that is disconnected from the façades and activities around it. But I think most public spaces in cities—streets, most squares, and parks, for that matter—could be connected to the urban form at the buildings (and thereby the activities in the buildings) much better. Most squares in Ontario cities are in the middle of the traffic, with streets all around them, disconnected from the users of ground floors of buildings next to them. We could have those spaces better connected to people’s everyday life and the activities that are taking place in the buildings. We need to work on the connectivity between those spaces for recreational use and the places where people live.

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GP: I agree that small spaces are very important. That is where we build community, that is where we meet our neighbours, that is where we meet the parents of our children’s friends. That space is also really good for safety and solidarity. Where do neighbours meet? At the small neighbourhood park. But you need the small, the medium, and the large. You need the medium-sized park where people can go skiing and play hockey; you need the large-sized park where people can go cross-country skiing. AH: Going back to the issue of connectivity between spaces: many Canadian cities have developed underground passages—semi-private, semi-public walkways like the PATH system in Toronto or the +15 Skywalk system in Calgary. Do you think there’s any danger in developing these interior connections, rather than making the street more comfortable? HS: There’s a huge danger in that. The first time I was in Toronto was in winter. In the financial district, there was very little life, until I saw that everybody was having lunch a couple of storeys below ground. In fact, the only activities left in at-grade public spaces of the city were commercial events. I think this is a huge danger to the ambience and identity of city life. As Gil was saying, the underground passages have much to do with the mental understanding of winter in the city. But to me, it’s also part of a modernist, 1960s approach, optimizing different systems for different user groups. I think it’s dangerous when we look at the city as individual systems; for example, that pedestrians should have their own walking system below ground or in elevated walkways, cyclists should have their own systems and cannot cycle in the normal streets because it’s dangerous.… The public realm is where all of those systems come together. We need to balance the use of the city so that we can make sure that people can get around. GP: The underground paths in Toronto and the skywalks in Calgary are the most horrible things that have happened to those cities. Both work like a giant vacuum that sucks the life out of the city. It is totally lifeless underground and it is totally lifeless above ground. But as soon as these

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underground passages finish, life blooms. You have flower shops, you have fruits and vegetables, you have restaurants, you have people. These underground passages segregate the community in many ways: you don’t see the homeless, you don’t see the youth, you don’t see the seniors out for a stroll. These places are 100 percent commercial. They’re gigantic shopping centres that some people may happen to walk through. They have nothing to do with providing life. That is something typical of the winter mentality. In Toronto, we have ten, twenty horrible days of the year, maybe forty bad days. When we build those underground places, it’s focusing on the fifteen or twenty horrible days of the year, and we mess up the other three hundred and forty, instead of doing it the other way around. So I would say, when you think of the public space, focus on the two hundred nice days of the year, and the hundred and twenty that are okay are going to be better, and the forty that are bad are going to be not as bad. AH: Going back to encouraging people to invest in the street as a public space, how can we advocate for more special attention to winter treatment? What are ways we can get different businesses involved to make streets more active and lively places in winter? For example, compared to many of the patios we see closed in Ontario cities in winter, many of the cafés in Copenhagen are open. They have blankets for people to use and people are soaking up the sun as much as they can despite the cold weather. HS: In Copenhagen, when we started doing pedestrian spaces in the 1970s, there was a purely commercial intent. The city wanted to improve business downtown and looked at the pedestrian streets as places where you could go and shop—like an outdoor mall. But through the 80s and 90s, what we found was that people came downtown not just to go shopping. They actually came downtown to have a nice time, to go to cafés, to be a part of cultural events. Today, two thirds of activity in downtown Copenhagen is when the shops are open, but one third is when the shops are closed. This shows that people are coming for recreational, free events, and also to go to cafés and restaurants and enjoy themselves


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Social engagement with public space is as vital in winter as in summer.

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CC Jay Bergsen/Flickr.com

in different ways. We have seen a massive development of new events throughout the year. People are now siting out in cafés from April, May to October and then they open up again for Halloween, and again for Christmas. Copenhagen has done a lot of work to remove barriers for businesses and people, so they can take initiatives to run events and have activities outdoors. We used to have a lot of regulations saying you cannot do this, or you cannot do that; to do something temporary, you have to abide by the same rules as if you’re making it permanent, and so on. Those rules and regulations make it very hard for local business people to do something which is over the course of a weekend. By lowering those barriers, we have really intensified the number of events in the city so that they now take place during the whole year.

GP: I find it curious that many of the same people who don’t value public space work for fifty weeks of the year to go on vacation for two weeks. Where do they go? To walkable places. I haven’t seen anybody come back from Paris talking about how wonderful their highways are. They go to Paris and they walk. We need to find ways to create incentives. For example, if in the summer the city charges businesses for having tables outside, do it for free in the wintertime. Yes, they’re going to have to put heaters, take more risks, and get blankets and things. So let’s generate some initiative, some incentives. Same thing for events in parks. In summer, you pay a fee, but in winter, for a bonfire or pizza oven, maybe not. Let me give you an example. In Melbourne they have some beautiful street furniture. It’s very well used. The street furniture improves the use of the public spaces. I asked the chief planner, Rob Adams, how much money they charge in rent to the people who sell flowers on the street. He said, it’s not about

the money; it’s about the details of the contract: the person with the flower shop has to maintain and keep the area clean. But even more importantly, on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday they have to open at seven in the morning and close at eight at night. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, they have to be open twenty-four hours. Why twenty-four hours? Not because they’re going to sell flowers at three o’clock in the morning, but because people in the public spaces will see all of these vendors along the streets and feel safe. They know there is a person with a telephone, with an alarm, with lights, providing advice and help. That is a lot cheaper than having police. How do you get people out? By helping them feel safe and feel good. We need to go beyond saying that people don’t want to go out because it’s winter. People are the same all over the world: people like to be with people. WITH THANKS TO MODERATOR ADRIENNE HALL FOR ALSO TRANSCRIBING THIS DISCUSSION.


A Fun Run on Chilly Hills

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For this issue of Ground, we sent out a request to OALA members to let their imaginations run wild and design the ideal fantasy tobogganing hill. Hold on tight, and enjoy the ride!

01 Designed by Eric Gordon, OALA


A Fun Run on Chilly Hills W.A.C.K.

winter activity centre for kids at heart!

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Legend A. Community access/views into W.A.C.K. B. Lower staging area with skating rink, fire pit, casual seating (hay bales/stones/logs), access to all hills and to accessible lift. C. Upper staging area with access to all hills, sliding chutes, and lift. D. Accessible lift with toboggan storage racks. E. Carved snow steps (makes climbing the hill easier and more fun!). F. Sliding chutes for quick access to lower sliding hills. G. “Blizzard” (most challenging sliding hill). H. “Snow day” (challenging sliding hill). I. “White out” (sliding tunnel). J. “Snow ball” (less challenging sliding hill). K. “Snowflake” (least challenging sliding hill). L. Naturalized areas to define sliding hills. Notes — “Kids” of all ages and abilities welcome. — Edges of all sliding zones to be lined with LED lighting on both sides, just below snow surface to illuminate toboggan areas. — Weather sensor detects snowfall and automatically adjusts LED lights up and down accordingly. — Sliding run out zones designed for sufficient deceleration.

03 Designed by Sarah Marsh, OALA, Heather Martin, OALA, and Stuart Paterson, Landscape Architectural Intern—the big kids at F. D. Fountain Landscape Architecture in Ottawa

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02 Designed by Sander Freedman, OALA, and Andrey Chernykh (artwork by Andrey Chernykh)


Design in a Cold Climate

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Werner Schwar, OALA, who lives in Thunder Bay and works throughout Northern Ontario, shares his thoughts on the challenges of practising landscape architecture in a cold climate 01/

Paddle to the Sea Park, Nipigon.

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Werner Schwar

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Essar Centre, Sault Ste. Marie.

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Thunder Bay City Hall.

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Ernie Kreps

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Lakehead courtyard.

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Paddle to the Sea Park, Nipigon.

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Sault Area Hospital

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Ernie Kreps

Ground: What are some of the northern communities in which you’ve worked as a landscape architect? Werner Schwar: Mostly Northwestern Ontario, including: Kenora, Dryden, Atikokan, Thunder Bay, Fort Hope, Lac Des Mille Lac First Nation, Aroland First Nation, Nipigon, Marathon, Schreiber, Terrace Bay, and Sault Ste. Marie.

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Design in a Cold Climate

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as encourage travelers along the Trans Canada Highway to stop and spend time in the community. Northwoods Adventure Country Management Plan: Creation of a Master Plan for the area between Atikokan and

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Quetico Provincial Park to encourage outdoor adventure tourism to develop around a common image. Thunder Bay City Hall: Creation of an urban civic square fronting a redeveloped City Hall.

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Ground: What are some of the northern projects on which you’ve worked?

Marathon Penn Lake Park: Redevelopment of the town of Marathon’s main recreation area involving campground, beach area, playground, and hiking trails.

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maintenance have to be considered as part of every design. A longer winter does shorten the construction season on larger projects. Perhaps the biggest effect is on cold hardiness of plant material. Working in Zone 2 or 3 limits the plant palette available, both residentially and in the public sector. As well, a longer winter gives some members of the general public the idea that landscape design is not too important “as it will be covered in snow for six months,” or that it gets in the way of big snow clearing equipment, making snow clearing more difficult and expensive. Ground: Are there any techniques or technologies you’ve used to extend the growing season or mitigate the impacts of the northern climate on your projects? Werner Schwar: Creating favourable microclimates is an important part of every project

Ground: What is it like to work in the North? Werner Schwar: Nipigon Downtown Revitalization and Paddle to the Sea Park: Creation of a downtown park and walking trail connection to the waterfront that celebrates the children’s book Paddle to the Sea, as the start of the voyage in the book was Nipigon. As one travels through the park and to the marina one is encouraged to explore each chapter in the book through experiential play. Terrace Bay Downtown Revitalization: Creation of a Master Plan for the downtown Simcoe Plaza area and Highway 17 corridor to weave the theme of outdoor adventure and Lake Superior through the area, as well

Werner Schwar: In some ways very rewarding and in some ways frustrating. It is rewarding to work in smaller centres in which one project really can make a difference in the community. But it can be frustrating trying to be creative and innovative in smaller communities. There is a feeling of professional isolation up here, in that I am closer to larger centres such as Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, than I am to what is going on in Toronto—arguably the centre of landscape architecture in Ontario. Collaboration on projects with Ernie Kreps, my closest landscape architect in Ontario, has helped. Ground: What is the impact of a long winter on these projects? Werner Schwar: Winter does not seem to affect the planning side of things too much, other than the fact that winter activity and 03

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design. Protected south-facing areas can push the hardiness zones by as much as one or two zones, which makes a huge difference when you start in Zone 2 or 3. Tree planting, the use of structure, and good site layout help create warmer microclimates. Other more mundane things like insulating raised planters help protect root zones. Snow accumulation is actually a good thing in the North as it helps insulate against the cold.


Chilling Out with Nature

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Windsor skyline.

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En:Adoch, Creative Commons

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Chilling Out with Nature

William Sullivan in conversation with Todd Smith

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We all enjoy a walk in the park or a view across a meadow. This good feeling is a qualitative evaluation of how greenspace impacts our sense of well-being. William Sullivan, Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, is conducting research into how these impacts can also be quantified. This is important data for landscape architects as it informs policy and strengthens the argument for public greenspace. Landscape designer and Ground Editorial Board member Todd Smith recently spoke with Sullivan about his latest research and thoughts on the subject.


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Todd Smith (TS): Why is the work of landscape architects important to this research? William Sullivan (WS): We have had, for centuries, artists and poets and great writers who have all engaged in the creative process in which they talk about the healing benefits of being exposed to nature. And, within the past few decades, we have developed a compelling body of empirical evidence to support those ideas. It is now very clear that the work of landscape architects can be productive towards the health of ecosystems, and in turn very important for the health of families and communities. TS: How do we know a healthy ecosystem when we see it? WS: We can take measurements of nonhuman systems by assessing healthy landscape indicators such as biodiversity levels, water balance, soil content, and biotic potential. With respect to people, of course, qualitative surveys are helpful, but these indicators are harder to measure. One recent study, though, indicates a strong correlation. The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that showed the health impacts of greening vacant lots in Philadelphia. The impacts are impressive. There was a marked reduction in gun violence and reported assaults; the

residents reported less stress and more exercise; and there was a significant decrease in vandalism. If we think of this increased presence of natural systems as a remedy, then nature can have a huge financial and social impact on the health of communities. What is amazing is that we have landscape architecture as the profession that is dedicated and highly qualified to deliver this remedy in the landscape towards better community and ecosystem health. TS: Is this evidence only recent and fairly new to the collective consciousness, or have we just forgotten how important natural systems are to healthy communities? WS: That is a good question, because millions of North Americans are disconnected from natural places, even urban greenspaces, either by design or culture. I don’t think it is an either/or issue; I think what we need now are comprehensive interventions that are based on science and based on experience and education, and that are directed at young people and old people, and at scales both near home and regional. We need a more multifaceted approach to this issue. TS: Please explain your theory on landscape benefit-delivery mechanisms.

WS: The evidence suggests that landscapes deliver health benefits through at least three mechanisms, each of which has significant implications for public health policy. The first mechanism is simply to have exposure or a view to a greenspace. Having this vantage seems to reliably reduce the physiological experience of stress. When I say physiological stress, I am talking about cortisol and adrenaline levels, and heart rate and blood pressure; muscle tension seems to be reduced when we have exposure to a greenspace. This can have profound and positive long-term health implications. The second mechanism is that this exposure also reliably increases people’s capacity to pay attention, which is a phenomenal thing! When you think about our lives in the modern world, almost everything we care about—our relationships, problem solving, planning, and creativity—all relies on our capacity to pay attention. Greenspaces seem to give the brain a break and allow for this capacity to renew itself. The third way in which greenspaces impact health is that they bring neighbours together. In communities that have more greenspace, folks rely on each other, they know each other better, and from decades of social research, we know that people who have stronger social networks have more favourable health outcomes. When you consider these results, public policy should demand “nature” at every doorstep! This would deliver measurable impacts.


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Psychological Health Attention Restoration

Contact With Urban Nature

Physical Health

TS: If we assume that the average rural view has more greenspace, what are some urban precedents of a good greenspace ratio?

Individual Benefits Stress Reduction Physical Activity

Social Interactions Reduction in Incivilities

Underlying Mechanisms

Community Benefits

Human Benefits TS: I want to go back to your comments about violence and guns and vandalism, and their inverse correlation to greenspace. How does CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) relate to your work? WS: There is a lot of overlap but it’s not the same thing. I think the CPTED programs could be clearer about their effects. What I know from my research is that greenspaces pull people outside; neighbours come out of their condos and their row houses. When that happens—when neighbours occupy the same space at some time—a whole bunch of wonderful things are more likely to happen. People become much more comfortable with who their neighbour is, this recognition breeds familiarity, and they are more likely to intervene on behalf of one another, or on behalf of the neighbourhood. So CPTED is all about sending signals to would-be perpetrators that “you will be observed and seen here...there are sightlines in place to notice you.” What greenspaces do essentially is they put people on the street. They also create a social network and a stronger set of social ties within which neighbours are likely to intervene on behalf of each other. TS: Your report Urban Nature: human psychological and community health, published last year in the Routledge Handbook of

Urban Ecology, is a comprehensive account of so much research dedicated to the relationship between landscape and health. Thinking back to Olmstead and his claims that parks provide sanitary benefits to users, what do you make of his interpretation of health and landscape, and how has this idea translated to the 21st century? WS: I think that people such as Dick Jackson, a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health, and Howie Frumkin, author of the recent Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, WellBeing, and Sustainability, along with Andy Dannenberg and Dick Jackson, for example, are really picking up the charge left by Olmstead. Olmstead was very charismatic and put forth arguments that made people listen. Today, we need to go beyond that: we need hard evidence that supports the health of public spaces. I don’t think that the passionate arguments of the past are going to be enough to secure the investments needed to create public spaces. But the evidence is there, and the people I’ve mentioned, and also Rachel Kaplan, have been very good at putting the arguments and evidence together. I think that is a distinction between Olmstead’s day and the present day. Today, we need a small army of scholars, writers, and designers, all of whom are doing their best to keep this issue alive and capture the attention of the media.

WS: There are several cities that stand out. Chicago is increasing its forest canopy; Washington, D.C., is also working hard to increase canopy cover from past decades. We need places like Central Park and Millennium Park, but we also need, perhaps more so, animation of the city fabric with greenspace, almost like a bloodstream. We need green infrastructure that delivers greenspace and functions as a water utility at the same time. TS: Any final thoughts about urban ecology and health? WS: As we get more serious about understanding and taking care of water in the urban landscape, we will learn a new set of opportunities to engage in green infrastructure. We still have this habit of referring to the stuff that comes out of the sky and falls to the ground as “storm water.” And since we don’t like storm water, we want to get rid of it. If we call it “rainwater,” well, that’s a resource! We then think about ways to use it as a resource, then we need landscape architects to design infrastructure that allows water to stay close to where it falls, or to be stored, or harvested for later use. This source-control design will encourage a new green infrastructure that provides more greenspace views and better health. More information about William Sullivan’s work is available at www.willsull.net/William_Sullivan/ Welcome.html. BIO/ TODD SMITH, MLA, ISA, IS A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURAL INTERN AND CERTIFIED ARBORIST AT IBI GROUP IN TORONTO.

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Hamilton skyline.

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Nhl4Hamilton, Creative Commons

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Landscape benefit delivery mechanisms.

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Dr. William C. Sullivan, ASLA


Plant Corner

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TEXT BY TODD SMITH

The winter landscape experience is not the same for all Ontarians. But wherever you are in the province, the following plants have proven valuable additions to residential landscapes, parks, and other public places. With their striking bark, foliage, fruit, and even flowers in some cases, these plants brighten up chilly days.

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BARK NAME: Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris) SIZE: Clinging vine to 25m in length and width ZONES: 4 to 8 DESCRIPTION: Climbing hydrangea is lovely with spring buds and glorious summer bloom, and its beauty extends into winter: peeling cinnamon-coloured bark provides a living architecture in smaller landscapes and country hedgerows alike. Trained well, it will form a structural presence around fences, up a wall, or clambering across a pergola. It tolerates sun or shade and a wide variety of soils.

BARK NAME: Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) SIZE: Medium-sized tree, up to 25m high, 60cm in diameter, and 200 years old ZONES: 4 to 9 DESCRIPTION: Shagbark hickory is an underused canopy tree for southern landscapes. It grows on rich, moist soils, on hillsides and in valleys, often mixed with other broadleaf trees, and is very adaptable. Its range is from Southern Ontario along the St. Lawrence River into Quebec. As it matures, the exfoliating bark provides a shaggy look and is distinctive in the winter landscape.

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Climbing hydrangea.

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Todd Smith

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Shagbark hickory.

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Keith Kanoti, Creative Commons

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American beech.

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Todd Smith

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Eastern hemlock.

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James Lee, Creative Commons

FOLIAGE NAME: American beech (Fagus grandifolia) SIZE: Medium-sized tree, up to 25m high, often equal spread ZONES: 4 to 9 DESCRIPTION: American beech is a grand sight in spring when pointed tips announce new leaves; equally lovely in winter as leaves persist on the branch and the smooth and muscular grey of the bark stands out. It prefers well-drained, acid, moist soils but is very tolerant of soil variety. It grows in sun or shade from Windsor to Sudbury.

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FOLIAGE NAME: Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) SIZE: Medium-sized tree, up to 30m high, 100cm in diameter ZONES: 3 to 7 DESCRIPTION: Eastern hemlock is an elegant evergreen suitable for a wide range of locatioins—from residential to woodlot. Very shade tolerant, it can be grown under canopy trees for subtle screening or in the open for a magnificent hedge. It requires a cool moist site, but is adaptable to non-polluted urban landscapes. It ranges from just north of Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie to just south of London.


Plant Corner

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Switch grass.

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USFWS, Creative Commons

FOLIAGE NAME: Switch grass (Panicum virgatum) SIZE: Warm-season grass, sod forming, slow spreader, foliage to 150cm, florescence to 220cm ZONES: 3 to 9 DESCRIPTION: The delicate swaying panicles of a mass planting of switch grass in winter is a sight to behold. In all genres of planting, it provides a level of interest that catches the eye on a windy winter day. Switch grass is a perfect winter cover and food source for wildlife, and is well documented for erosion control. It is native to prairies and open ground, open woods, brackish marshes from near Hudson Bay to Point Pelee.

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Winterberry.

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SB Johnny, Creative Commons

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Staghorn sumac.

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Todd Smith

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Firethorn.

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Biso, Creative Commons

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Witchhazel.

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H. Zell, Creative Commons

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FRUIT NAME: Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) SIZE: Large shrub or small tree, up to 7m high ZONES: 3 to 8 DESCRIPTION: Staghorn sumac graces roadside berms and clearings from the north shores of Lake Superior to Lake Erie. Typically found in large colonies, it is a great choice for winter colour and branch pattern as a mass planting or as an accent for streetscape and naturalized areas.

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FRUIT

FRUIT

NAME: Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) SIZE: Medium-sized deciduous shrub, up to 2m high and wide ZONES: 3 to 9 DESCRIPTION: Winterberry is a full-sun denizen and occurs on moist, acid, well-drained soils. Its range extends from Newfoundland west to the entire province of Ontario. The small, rounded, bright red fruit ripen in October and often persist into February in Ontario landscapes, as its name suggests.

NAME: Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea) SIZE: Medium-sized, semi-evergreen shrub or vine, up to 5m high ZONES: 5-8 DESCRIPTION: Firethorn has few competitors for winter fruit display. A non-native, hailing from the Caucasus to Italy, it plays well and does not invade, and makes a brilliant show in fall and winter. Firethorn prefers full sun, is very adaptable, and is a good choice for dry soils.

FLOWER NAME: Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) SIZE: Large shrub or small tree, up to 6m high ZONES: 3 to 8 DESCRIPTION: Witchhazel is an underrated native shrub that deserves more use in commercial and civic plantings. Performing very well in dry shade (a common situation), it produces the oddest papery yellow flowers just as the rest of the landscape is slowing down for winter. The blooms often last into late December. BIO/ TODD SMITH IS AN AVID PLANTSMAN AND A MEMBER OF THE GROUND EDITORIAL BOARD.


Technical Corner

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01 TEXT BY KATE NELISCHER, WITH RESEARCH ASSISTANCE BY FUNG LEE, OALA

When we romanticize winter, we often forget the realities of maintenance requirements such as snow removal and deicing, both of which are necessary to keep our roads and sidewalks safe. Without efficient and effective upkeep, winter would bring Canadian cities to a halt. Conventional road salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl), is the most used, readily available, and cost-effective measure of ensuring the continued operation of roads and sidewalks during winter. Most municipalities in Ontario use road salt in abundance to deice, melt snow, and prevent ice buildup, and homeowners regularly apply road salt to their driveways, walkways, and front steps. Although this is an efficient method to prevent injury and accidents, it also presents serious threats to our natural environment.


Technical Corner

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Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment recognizes road salt as a contaminant, and Environment Canada acknowledges that road salt is an environmentally toxic substance. In particular, road salt has wellknown detrimental effects on plants, wildlife, and water quality. Chloride ions contained in conventional road salt can severely dehydrate plants, and once it filters into the water system can increase water acidity and kill aquatic organisms. Studies have also found that salt applied to roads can attract deer and moose, thus increasing the risks of collisions. Conversely, some amphibians refuse to cross salted roads and are thus separated from habitats and resources. An even greater concern in our northern climate is that the lower the temperature, the greater the concentration of road salt needed to be effective.

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Bridge in Edmonton.

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Hutschi, Creative Commons

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Berms on shipping channel.

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Geo Swan, Creative Commons

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Ontario highway in winter.

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P199, Creative Commons

Despite these risks, neither the use of road salt nor the concentration of road salt is governed by any provincial or federal regulations. The Ministry of the Environment provides Procedure B-4-1: Guidelines for Snow Disposal and Deicing Operations in Ontario, which sets out criteria for the storage and


Technical Corner

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Snow-clearing machines.

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Jeroen Kransen, Creative Commons

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Sidewalk plough.

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SimonP, Creative Commons

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Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment recognizes road salt as a contaminant, and Environment Canada acknowledges that road salt is an environmentally toxic substance.


Technical Corner

application of road salt, but the ministry does not enforce these criteria due to budgetary restrictions. The reduction of the use of road salt is a worthy initiative for landscape architects and municipalities. Although conventional road salt is the least expensive form of deicing, there are many other viable alternatives. Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) is effective at mitigating road ice and snow. Relatively harmless to plants and wildlife, CMA is also noncorrosive to metals and does not threaten the integrity of concrete. CMA has been found to be 20 to 40 percent more effective as an anti-icer than road salt when applied before a snowfall. CMA is currently used by Washington State in antiicing operations to protect salmon spawning streams from contaminants in stormwater runoff. The California Department of Transportation has also used CMA to effectively prevent the formation of snowpack, but found it was not as reliable as road salt in lower temperatures as it only works down to -3°C to -5°C. It is routinely reported that more CMA is needed than conventional road salt to deice roads, with a ratio of approximately 1.5:1. Furthermore, the dusty, small CMA particles spread easily when applied to roads and can clog the spreading equipment when combined with moisture. CMA is also significantly more expensive than road salt; the average cost of road salt is $30/ton, while the average cost of CMA is between $500 and $700/ton. Although not always as consistently effective as road salt, and at a higher cost, the environmental benefits of CMA are worth consideration.

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Another alternative is Potassium Acetate, or KA. Less corrosive and more environmentally friendly than road salt, KA is often used as a base for commercial liquid deicer formulations because it has a much lower freezing rate than CMA—it works down to -30°C to -60°C. Similar to CMA, KA is a relatively low-impact road-salt alternative; it contains only biodegradable acids and does not permeate groundwater aquifers or impact water chemistry. Because of these characteristics, KA is regularly used in Yosemite National Park in California. However, the cost of KA can be prohibitive at $700 to $800/ton. Calcium Chloride (CaCl) is another alternative. It costs three times more than road salt, but requires a lower rate of application and does not contain toxic cyanide. It is effective down to -31°C. Magnesium Chloride (McCl) is even more expensive (five times more than road salt), but like CaCl it does not contain cyanide. However, its freezing temperature is higher, at -15°C, and it has been shown to cause significant damage to concrete. Sand is often used in deicing efforts and is less expensive than road salt and the above-mentioned alternatives. It improves traction in slippery conditions and absorbs sunlight to help warm and melt ice and snow, but can easily accumulate on roadsides, requiring regular clean-up and thus greater maintenance investments from municipalities. If choosing sand, brick sand is the best option. Coarser than regular sand, brick sand is proven to be more effective. There are a wide number of alternatives for small-scale or home use. Touted as being environmentally safe, Organic Melt is a Canadian-made road salt alternative produced from sugar beets. It has a low freezing point, at -30°C, which makes it a viable option for Ontario winters. Organic Melt costs $15 for a 5kg bag.

Less expensive than Organic Melt, at $15 for a 10kg bag, EcoTraction is also a Canadian product and is manufactured from granular volcanic material. It has proven to offer better traction than sand. Alaskan Ice Melter is another Canadian product and is made from a combination of calcium chloride, CaCl2, and urea. The granules contained in Alaskan Ice Melter are colour coded to allow the user to determine the proper amount for application, and is effective down to -31°C. This product lasts twice as long as conventional road salt and is much less harmful to plants, wildlife, and concrete. Get a Grip Natural Ice Melter melts ice down to -18°C, contains granules that are colour coded similar to Alaskan Ice Melter, and is also gentle on plants, wildlife, and paving materials. Ashes and kitty litter are also good alternatives for home use. Ashes gathered from wood-burning fireplaces help to melt ice quickly by absorbing sunlight, and provide greater traction. However, ashes should not be used in proximity to food gardens due to the risks associated with the heavy metals present in the ashes. Kitty litter is more expensive, but provides great traction. Increasing permeable surfaces will help to reduce the need for any of these deicing methods at both large and small scales. Less ice buildup occurs on permeable surfaces as water can permeate into the ground during sunny periods, while hard surfaces force water to freeze in place and thus produce more slippery, dangerous conditions. BIO/ KATE NELISCHER WORKS IN DESIGN COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE PLANNING PARTNERSHIP. FUNG LEE, OALA, IS A PARTNER IN PMA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS.


Notes

Notes: A Miscellany of News and Events

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01

awards Two recent landscape architecture graduates from the University of Toronto, Peggy Pei-Chi Chi and Erika Richmond, have been highly commended in a landscape architecture ideas competition in London, England. The competition, “A High Line for London Green Infrastructure Competition,” was launched this past summer by the Landscape Institute with support from the Mayor of London and the Garden Museum. Judges included Dr. Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain, and Mark Brearley, Head of Design for the Greater London Authority. Chi and Richmond’s submission, Barge Walk, imagines the creation of a wetland for cleaning Thames River water, a farm for growing urban fruits and vegetables, and a park for much-needed leisure—all floating on the Thames alongside the densely urban landscape of Canary Wharf. Barge Walk is designed as a modular structure allowing individual barges to break off and travel to other sites along the Thames. Out of 170 international entries, Barge Walk was selected as one of the top five.

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Barge Walk section perspective of planting beds.

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Peggy Pei-Chi Chi and Erika Richmond

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Barge Walk planning view.

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Peggy Pei-Chi Chi and Erika Richmond

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Barge Walk site map.

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Peggy Pei-Chi Chi and Erika Richmond

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Circulation and hydrological diagram for Barge Walk.

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Peggy Pei-Chi Chi and Erika Richmond

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Concept diagram for Barge Walk.

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Peggy Pei-Chi Chi and Erika Richmond

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Notes

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exhibitions From April 25 to 28, 2013, the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto is hosting an exhibition of site-specific works by dozens of artists, designers, and practitioners in various fields of practice that address issues related to landscape. Organized jointly by the Gladstone Hotel and OALA member Victoria Taylor, Grow Op: Exploring Landscape + Place includes work in a number of sites throughout the hotel, gathering together a broad range of interventions from the playful to the provocative. In conjunction with Grow Op, the Ground Editorial Board is organizing a Round Table discussion on art and landscape, to be held during the exhibition. Visit www.oala.ca for details (and see the Artifact in this issue, page 42).

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green roofs Green Roofs for Healthy Cities recently launched a publication that celebrates the biggest and brightest stars in “living architecture.” The Rise of Living Architecture coffee-table book features graphic profiles of more than fifty visionaries who have fueled the growth of green roofs and walls across North America over the past decade. It includes photos by award-winning photographer Brad Temkin and a foreword on biophilic design by celebrated academic Stephen Kellhert of Yale University. For more information or to purchase a copy, visit www.greenroofs.org.

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The Grow Op exhibition is on view in Toronto in April, 2013.

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The Grow Op exhibition is on view in Toronto in April, 2013.

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Courtesy of Grow Op

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Green roof by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander from the book The Rise of Living Architecture.

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Courtesy Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

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Courtesy of Grow Op


Notes

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books

workshops

In her work teaching design studio and visual communications at the University of Toronto, Nadia Amoroso saw the need for a book exploring the ways that visualizing an idea has an impact on how that idea is seen and understood. Amoroso’s edited collection Representing Landscapes: A Visual Collection of Landscape Architectural Drawings, recently published by Routledge, brings together various drawing styles and techniques and provides critical and descriptive commentaries on each, provided by professors from more than twenty respected institutions. The book is recommended for landscape architecture and urban design students from first year to thesis, and showcases student work from the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto, among others.

Geographic Information System (GIS) software integrates important data into a site plan, making it easier to interpret, visualize, and update data in one place. Yet many design firms are not taking advantage of this powerful tool. On February 22, 2013, a full-day workshop in Toronto will cover the fundamental principles of GIS and cartography, an introduction to spatial analysis, and practical map layout and publishing. The cost is $350 plus HST, and space is limited. For a detailed agenda or to register, visit www.geographicdesign.ca/training.html.

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Nadia Amoroso’s recent publication.

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Courtesy Routledge

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Random heat map.

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Caitlin Blundell

events Park People, a Toronto alliance for better parks, is holding its annual Park Summit in Toronto, on March 2, 2013, at the Regent Park Art Centre. The theme is Good Parks for All Neighbourhoods, with discussion focused on how to ensure that every neighbourhood in Toronto gets a great park to meet the community’s needs. The keynote speaker for the summit is Mickey Fearn, Deputy Director of the U.S. National Park Service, who has led a number of initiatives for the National Park Service, Seattle, and Oakland. For more information, visit www.parkpeople.ca.

new members The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects is proud to recognize and welcome the following new full members to the Association: Jeffrey Beaton Robert Corry * Adam Eizinas* Jeffrey Fahs Jeffery Goettling Kerrie Harvey Monika Kokoszka Diane Leal* Robin Mosseri* Marion Watt Rabeau Stephen Robinson* Jason Rokosh Cindi Rowan Margaret Shipley Gene Webber Mitchell Wiskel Hongbum Yun Asterisk (*) denotes Full Members not having custody and use of the Association Seal. As at November 15, 2012, the following persons are no longer landscape architects nor members of the OALA due to their non-payment of dues: Bruce Carr Alexander Koch Li Wang Eddie Wu









Artifact

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Exploring Landscape + Place

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02 TEXT BY LORRAINE JOHNSON

Ryan Taylor’s work often blurs boundaries between art and design, playfully tweaking expectations about form, function, and materials. His miniature tableau, for example, showing a quotidian scene of lawn mowing, is nestled under the glass top of a coffee table that graces Taylor’s home. A sly, if ambiguous, commentary on landscape—are we meant to feel the repetitious drudgery of the lawn mowing act, the smallness and futility of the gesture, or is there something heroic about the tiny model cutting a swath through this massive space?—is thus brought from the outside in, to Taylor’s domestic landscape, setting up an intimate and yet somehow universal narrative about the ways we design and manage the places we call home. Taylor has proposed another playful construction for Grow Op: Exploring Landscape + Place, an exhibition that will be on view at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, in April. More than a dozen artists, designers, and practitioners in various fields are taking part in Grow Op, a cross-disciplinary exploration of landscape, garden design, and place-making. Curated jointly by the Gladstone Hotel and Toronto-based landscape architect Victoria Taylor, OALA, Grow Op takes over the Gladstone, with various spaces throughout the hotel—rooms, sidewalk, even the roof—filled with provocative, challenging, and just plain fun interventions. Grow Op promises many meditations on the possibilities of form, function, and materials in landscape and design—inside and out.

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Grow Op is on view at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto, from April 25 to 28, 2013. Visit the OALA website, www.oala.ca, for more information about the Round Table discussion on art and landscape that the Ground Editorial Board is organizing, to be held in conjunction with Grow Op. BIO/ LORRAINE JOHNSON IS THE EDITOR OF GROUND AND A MEMBER OF THE GROW OP JURY.

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Ryan Taylor designed this quirky coffee table that provides a sly and ambiguous commentary on domestic interior and outdoor spaces.

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Ryan Taylor, pushstudio.com


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