Education Sessions

Below we have listed all of the education sessions planned for the in-person congress taking place at the RBC Centre in Winnipeg. Please read through the session descriptions to get an idea of which sessions you would like to attend at the congress. 

Friday, May 31 @10:30 AM

Room 2E - Donald Hester: A Tale of Two Riverbank Projects - The Essence of Time

Discussion of the planning, design, construction and maintenance for two award-winning riverbank urban design projects in downtown Winnipeg - Promenade Tache and Completion of the Downtown Assiniboine River Walkway/South Legislative Building Grounds Redevelopment, constructed in 1983 and 1995 respectively. Both involved consideration of historic buildings and cultural landscapes, riverbank geotechnical issues, and river access, and both involved multi-disciplinary design teams and community engagement processes led by a landscape architect. How these multi-stakeholder, interdisciplinary projects were conceived, designed and constructed are complex stories.

The presentation compares how well each project has endured/changed over the past 30 to 40 years, noting significant differences related to their changing urban contexts, different maintenance regimes, as well as overall design issues.

Room 2F - Hyaeinn Lee: Joy Cannot Be Cancelled

We are experiencing an epidemic of boringness - human and environmental crises - in our built environments. The dominance of modernist design and money-driven development in architecture, planning, and urban design has shaped urban spaces for more than a century. The result is that we are left with shiny, bland, anonymous cities we call home, buildings we live and work in, and streets we walk in.

Lacking diversity and interestingness, boring urban spaces could adversely impact the well-being of the human species and urban habitats and cause social, cultural, economic, and environmental inequality and calamity. Amid these human and environmental crises, landscape architecture has held keys to unlocking pleasure and interestingness in public spaces while pushing further in providing deeper meaning, by fostering inclusion and creating a greater sense of community identity, belonging, and interpersonal connection.

Through research and case studies, the presentation will investigate the monotonous status quo of urban spaces and their impacts on urban species and habitats and examine how landscape architecture has played salient roles in mitigating and improving them with its unique design tools and processes that have been established in the profession and by adding much-desired complexity, diversity, and three-dimensionality.

Room 2G - Naomi Ratte, Constantina Douvris, and Faith Campos: Guiding a New Path: Design Guidelines at Naawi-Oodena

Naawi-Oodena is positioned to be Canada’s largest urban reserve, carved out of a mature community in Winnipeg. Its importance is demonstrated by the commitment of Treaty One First Nations who envisioned this place over 20 years ago.

After the masterplan was conceived, a team of Indigenous designers were engaged to tackle the questions: What should this place look like? What values should it reflect? Guiding a New Path: Design Guidelines at Naawi-Oodena will explore the collaborative, iterative approach of the design team presented by Naomi Ratte (NVision Insight Group Inc.), Constantina Douvris (HTFC Planning + Design) and Faith Campos from Treaty One Development Corporation

The process and approach to this project IS the project. No rules, no zoning by-laws, only that which serves the common interests of Treaty One and their partnership with Canada Lands Corporation. The design team created an approach that brings Indigenous values to the forefront of the design process to create architectural guidelines for the fabric of the subdivision. Questioning all pre-conceived notions and testing their own learned bias towards pre-determined processes and outcomes, this story details the revolution of the common sub-division into a place with greater meaning and identity.

Room 2H - Thomas Woltz, Matt Sloan, Nathan Roth, Angela Hobson: Evolving Legacies: Revolutionizing, Restoring & Reimagining North America's Urban Green and Blue Networks

Water and the lands that surround them are essential to life. These networks clean our drinking water, host spaces for us to celebrate culture, ceremony, and community, and provide critical habitat that sustain diverse ecosystems not found elsewhere in our cities. They have hosted places to live, gather, travel, and trade since time immemorial.

Yet, as history has shown us, the care of and for riparian landscapes has often been superseded by the needs of urbanization and industrialization. However, there is a historic legacy of landscape architects leading the way to protect and revolutionize these networks.

Through this talk of contemporary practice, we intend to instill a revolutionary spirit amongst our colleagues that this a legacy we can continue to advance. This session will share the lessons learned by diverse professionals who’ve had the privilege to work in two distinct yet related rapidly growing prairie cities: Edmonton and Houston. Both are continuing to build on the historic legacies of F. Todd and A. Comey who delivered the first concepts to protect river valley systems for these cities. Our presentation will graphically showcase innovative multi-scalar design projects.

Friday, May 31 @1 pm

Room 2E - Jean Trottier & Ryan Coates: Little Forks: A Grassroots National Urban Park for Winnipeg

In 2021, the Canadian government decided to expand the national parks system to urban metropolitan areas. In this context, a group of civic leaders and community organizations began advocating for the creation of a national urban park at the confluent of Winnipeg’s Red, Seine, and Assiniboine Rivers. One of Little Forks’ novelty is a conceptual shift away from the conservation of established natural areas in favour of the long-term restoration of environmentally degraded sites – in Winnipeg’s case legacy sites from the city’s late-1800 industrialization.

The proposal thus had to articulate the benefits accrued through environmental restoration efforts expected to last decades. It also needed to demonstrate how it might achieve multiple national urban parks objectives in four contribution areas: protection of nature; access to nature, culture, and history; reconciliation with Indigenous communities; and municipal urban development.

This presentation will briefly describe the Canadian Urban National Park program. It will then review the main features of the Little Forks proposal, introduce the assessment framework developed to articulate its contributions, discuss key methodological considerations, and identify important takeaways for other national urban park initiatives.

Room 2F - Sonja Vangjeli: The Future of Quality of Life in Canadian Cities: Landscape Urbanism Perspectives & Tools

The role of Landscape Architects has always involved designing livable cities and preserving a relationship to nature, even in the densest environments, through access to sun, light, air, plants and animals. In the current context of rapid urban growth, the prevailing debate pits values like sunlight and comfortable microclimate in the public realm against the moral imperative for housing.

The recent Globe & Mail article on Toronto ‘City of Shadows’ is a perfect example of this polarized debate that is inadvertently shaping our city. Landscape Architects have a holistic understanding of urban development as part of its natural environment, and have valuable spatial analysis tools and visual communication skills that can help guide the public debate toward more informed decisions about what we value, without having to choose between housing and a livable city. The session will include a presentation by Sonja Vangjeli, introducing the topic and showing examples from Toronto’s waterfront redevelopment with a focus on Villiers Island. 

Room 2G - Alissa North: Innate Terrain: Canadian Landscape Architecture, Book Talk

As an edited volume, Innate Terrain addresses the varied perceptions of Canada's natural terrain, framing the discussion in the context of landscape designed by Canadian landscape architects. Editor, Alissa North, will share a synopsis of the book, which draws on contemporary works to theorize a distinct approach practiced by Canadian landscape architects from across the country. The book's chapters, authored by Canadian scholars and practitioners, some of whom are Indigenous or have worked closely with Indigenous communities, are united by the argument that Canadian landscape architecture is intrinsically linked to the innate qualities of the surrounding terrain. Sharing the book's beautiful imagery, the presentation will reflect the distinct regional qualities that are rooted in the broader context of the Canadian landscape.

Room 2H - Jane Welsh: Saving Nature: Our role in the fight to sustain biodiversity in an urban environment

Over 50 years after Ian McHarg’s ground breaking work on ‘Design with Nature’, we find ourselves in crisis mode, at a point where we need to aggressively change our approach to city building to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. Changing requires a collaborative approach between many disciplines and starts with shifting our expectations on built form. It requires advocacy, progressive regulations and incentives, and a focus on design that is sustainable and considers natural processes. Key is developing policy and implementing that policy through creative design approaches, including the use of natural systems. It is often at the intersection of our work that we get the most traction to inspire each other to advance action.

For over 14 years, Toronto has introduced a set of innovative tools to address the biodiversity and climate crisis, including requiring sustainable performance measures for all new development in Canada's largest city. This presentation will highlight reformative change at the local level delivered by Jane Welsh, building on a virtual presentation on work the profession is undertaking on international and national efforts delivered by Colleen Mercer Clarke.

Friday, May 31 @2:15 pm

Room 2E - Michael Magnan and Chris Grosset: Peripheral Vision: exploration from the boundaries of landscape architecture

In a dynamic and audience engaging format, join Chris and Michael as they each present a retrospective on their careers on "the boundaries" of landscape architecture, leaving the audience with a deeper understanding of how persistence and a clear person vision for social and environmental transformation can have a profound impact on one's career and our profession at large.

Chris has dedicated his career to advocating for Indigenous voices to lead in land use, planning and design of arctic protected areas and cultural landscapes. Chris' enduring vision has led to a legacy of awards of excellence, rewarding projects, and professional accolades. But operating outside traditional territories of the profession is not an easy task, and Chris will share his challenges and triumphs of working from a values-based approach.

Michael's personal and professional life is dedicated to "maximizing impact" as an agent for social and environmental good. Michael will share how his vision has led him through multiple career episodes spanning renewable energy, architecture, landscape architecture, program management, and now leading a national multi-disciplinary infrastructure portfolio. By continuously redefining his career, Michael has encountered setbacks and successes that he'll share with the audience.

Room 2F - Katherine Sheie: Slabtown Sequence: From Naught to Neighborhood, Post-Industrial Urban Design in Portland, OR

Slabtown Sequence: From Naught to Neighborhood, Post-Industrial Urban Design in Portland, OR. Presented by Katherine Sheie, ASLA. The Slabtown Sequence project presented an unparalleled opportunity to transform twelve city blocks of brownfield sites in Northwest Portland into a vibrant new neighborhood focused on sustainability and the enrichment of public life. This project carefully balances Portland’s ever-present need for housing, retail, and employment with a thoughtfully designed landscape network that reflects the site’s industrial past and sustainable future. What was once a neighborhood for the working class immigrants and marginalized groups who built the City, Slabtown – named for the great planks of wood produced by the lumber mills –– had fallen into industrial disuse and vacant parking lots.

Through years of diligent collaboration with different developers and architects, Lango Hansen Landscape Architecture stitched together a patchwork of projects to create a cohesive tapestry of plazas, pedestrian ways, and open space, all of which are predicated on celebrating the site’s history and furthering the public good. At present, nine blocks of the development have been constructed, with two additional blocks nearing completion; and the final block is in design, further illustrating the ongoing commitment to develop this special neighborhood.

Room 2G - Nancy Pollock-Ellwand: "Landscapers Unite". The Olmsted Influence on the Practise of Landscape Architecture in Canada

The founding members of the CSLA were an amalgam of diverse talents and perspectives, and this is a story of one significant source of influence that came through the Olmsteds, to the profession. Many Canadian landscape architects may be uncomfortable with identifying the American Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., as the ‘father’ of their profession in their nation. Especially when one considers that the portfolio of projects designed by the Firm north of the border was rather slim. 

But the Firm’s true influence in this country was largely transmitted through Olmsted-trained practitioners working in Canada. The three most prominent Olmstedians were Gordon Culham who was a driving force in organizing the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and Town Planners. The other two were based in Montreal. They were Frederick Gage Todd, who did a number of seminal projects across Canada. The other was Rickson Outhet. It was these three practitioners who were primarily influential in importing and adapting the Olmsted principles to the Canadian landscape, the Canadian climate and to Canadian sensibilities. In doing so, they spread and developed the Olmstedian idea of landscape architecture, and the role that landscape architects were to play in Canadian civic design, reform, and planning.

Room 2H - Jennifer McWhirter: Synthesizing Shade Research to Catalyze Evidence-based Practice and Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Shade provides thermal comfort, reduces urban heat islands, prevents heat-related illness and death, and, when provided by tree canopy, extends co-benefits to the environment. Despite its importance, many outdoor public spaces lack adequate or even any shade, and it is inequitably distributed. The scarcity of shade is exacerbated by the design and implementation challenges of its provision. Shade scarcity is a design emergency that requires comprehensive and usable evidence to create solutions.

This presentation highlights an interdisciplinary collaboration that will support evidence-based landscape architecture practice, climate adaptation, and human health and well-being. Key outcomes include a series of extensive scoping literature reviews on shade provision, design, benefits and co-benefits, barriers and facilitators, and equity. The results lay the necessary groundwork for providing robust and synthesized evidence readily packaged for application in practice to improve our cities’ shadescapes. Future outcomes include: a Shade Design Framework for landscape architects based on the scientific evidence syntheses; using generative AI platforms as visual brainstorming tools for evidence-based shade design ideas; and a national shade design competition.

Saturday, June 1st @ 1:30 pm

Room 2E - Monica Giesbrecht and Gerald Dielman: The Leaf - A Plant Focused Multicultural Community Centre Revolution (redefining the modern botanical garden)

This session will explore the role of two landscape architects, one serving on the owners team and one leading a private practice, in leading the transformation of a historic public park in service of the evolving relationships between people, plants, and nature. These two LA's have worked together closely for over a decade, embarking on a collaborative journey, that took the winding path needed to hear and integrate many diverse voices into a one of a kind plant focused community centre that connects people to each other and to the wonders of nature.

This process saw landscape architects gathering the talents of local and international designers, artists, scientists, and makers, to carefully craft and program an array of unique, inspiring, healing, and dynamic, interior and exterior landscapes. Through this process the Leaf has instantly become a beloved new destination for local and global visitors in all seasons. Moving beyond the innovative design and construction of the Leaf, these two LA's continue to grow the installations and experiences at the gardens, so they changes and evolve constantly, continuing to be a relevant, novel, and rich, place that feeds the minds, hearts and souls of all who visit.

Room 2F - Jason Simituk: Evaluating the Environmental Impact: Contrasting Natural and Artificial Turf Systems

This presentation delves into the nuanced disparities between natural and artificial turf systems, exploring their ecological implications and impact on climate and the environment. The debate surrounding the choice between these two surfaces for various applications, such as sports fields and recreational spaces, necessitates a comprehensive analysis of their ecological footprints.

Our examination extends beyond the immediate visual disparities to consider the broader consequences of climate regulation and ecosystem services. We scrutinize water usage, chemical inputs, and energy consumption associated with maintaining each turf type, evaluating the long-term sustainability of these choices. We will highlight the need for informed decision-making when selecting turf systems, emphasizing the significance of aligning landscape choices with ecological responsibility. As we strive for sustainable urban development, this analysis provides a valuable perspective on how turf choices can either harmonize with or challenge the delicate balance of nature. 

Room 2G - Desiree Theriault: Decolonizing Landscape Architecture Through Storytelling and Empathy

In this presentation, Desiree Theriault, a Métis Woman of Indigenous descent, shares her transformative journey and lived experience within landscape architecture, focusing on the profound impact of storytelling, trauma-informed engagement, empathy, and Indigenous wisdom as catalysts for decolonization. With a strong emphasis on memory preservation and psychological healing, Desiree explores the intricate connection between storytelling and memory, drawing from her personal experiences, including her work with Survivors of residential schools, to underscore the importance of acknowledging their stories. She delves into the principles of trauma-informed design as essential for creating equitable and inclusive spaces, highlighting the significance of understanding the impact of trauma. Desiree unravels the psychology of empathy in storytelling and healing, offering insights into how empathy fosters deeper connections and contributes to the decolonization process.

Furthermore, she emphasizes the role of responsibility, reciprocity, and inclusivity in storytelling and trauma-informed engagement, using her work with Survivors as a focal point. The presentation aims to inspire reflections and collective action, as attendees delve into the healing potential of these practices and embark on a journey towards decolonizing their approaches and creating space for empathy in design.

Room 2H - Guy Walter: Landscape Architecture in Thunder Bay - Getting Visible

The presentation tells the story of a Landscape Architect who moves back to his home town of Thunder Bay after practising globally for more than 20 years to work for the municipality in the newly created role of City of Thunder Bay's Landscape Architect. Key areas are; moving back, defining and building a role in the community, engagement in an engagement wasteland, opportunities through capital renewals, and success through building partnerships.

Saturday, June 1st @ 2:15 pm

Room 2E - Katherine Dunster: It’s not an either / or: the biodiversity and climate change crises are feeding each other and landscape architecture can be a partner in positive solution

We no longer have the time, privilege, or luxury of choosing to focus on either climate action or biodiversity action is a first step. We can be the nexus - powerful advocates and leaders by bringing both into our work simultaneously. Adapting our practices to address both crises requires outright land and water protection and conservation before new design, and through mitigation including NbS and ecosystem repair.

If humans are to survive on the planet, we need to address both biodiversity and climate action for human health and well-being, and to reduce disasters affecting all species and ecosystems. To accomplish this is going to take a seachange in our traditional approaches to design and planning, connecting more deeply to local places in partnership with directly affected people.

The presentation will focus on positive steps that connect our work to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Room 2F - Maheshika Ekanayake: Experimenting Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design (BSUD) Approach to Realize Ecological Corridors in Vancouver, Canada

The centuries-long urbanization process, marked by inadequate prioritization of biodiversity areas, has resulted in habitat fragmentation, species extinctions, and an overall loss of biodiversity. The over-construction of cities has led to heat island effects, air pollution, and a decline in ecosystem services.

Although initiatives like the Vancouver Plan (2022) propose a 100-year ecological vision to reintroduce ecological networks and ensure ecological connectivity, their implementation encounters challenge due to the city's high land-use intensity. Thus, this study experimented with Garrard et al.'s (2018) biodiversity-sensitive urban design approach (BSUD) to re-introduce distinct habitat types to the existing developed neighborhoods through range of design interventions.

These design interventions are proposed to facilitate wildlife movement, create novel habitats, and promote positive human–nature interactions. In conclusion, the study determines that the BSUD approach can be employed as an effective process to realize biodiversity interventions in cities, integrating development priorities, specific site requirements, city policies, and stakeholder interests to guide efforts for ecosystem restoration and ensure regional ecological security.

Room 2G - Virginia Burt, Sylvia Behr, Robert Wright & Ethan Aquino-Chien: Pencils to Pixels: The alchemy of Idea to Reality

This presentation explores the contemporary transformation of communication methods in landscape architecture from traditional analog hand sketching to rapidly emerging forms of digital representation. Sketching as the initiation of design exploration and turning ideas into reality is often the first operation of a design exercise.

Given this context, we will draw insights from this evolution from four perspectives: a senior practitioner, a senior educator, and two junior practitioners. Senior practitioners bring a wealth of experience, showcasing the transition from analog to digital in their professional work. Their insights shed light on the changing landscape of creative processes, emphasizing the importance of adapting to technological advancements. Senior educators contribute a pedagogical/research viewpoint, bridging the gap between traditional and digital methods in educational settings.

Highlighting effective strategies for fostering student education in understanding new technologies emerging in relation to traditional professional education. Junior practitioners bring fresh perspectives, illustrating emerging professionals' challenges and opportunities. They share valuable insights into the nuances of navigating the contemporary intersection of “pencils and pixels,” ultimately fostering a more holistic understanding of how they are impacted in the digital transformation.


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