Educational (concurrent) sessions will begin on Friday and Saturday at 1 pm EDT. Click on each session to read the descriptions.
Friday May 28, 2021
- Track 1: Building Capacity for Professionals to Address Climate Change, Stephen Muirhead, Mark Bauche and Adam Kroeker
- Track 2: Preparing for Takeoff: A Landscape-Focused Vision for the Downsview Park Commons, David Anselmi and Chris Veres
- Track 1: Indigenous Knowledges and Ecology and Adaptation, Brett Huson
- Track 2: Level Up Access to Nature: Open Space Design in Multi-Residential Developments, Michael Ormston-Holloway
- Track 1: Renewing our Vital Public Realm, David Leinster
- Track 2: From Rubble to Refuge, Walter H. Kehm
Saturday May 29, 2021
- Track 1: Design as Climate Activism, Karen May and Todd Smith
- Track 2: Thru Fresh Eyes: Celebrating New Typologies of Open Space, Yvonne Battista, Brent Raymond and James Roche
- Track 1: Collaborative Practice: Cultivating new collaborations to amplify our impact on Climate Change, Sonja Vangjeli & Thomas Nideroest
- Track 2: Complete Streets: 20 Years On, Brent Raymond
- Track 1: Bluff Point: Connecting Design and Ecology, Virginia Burt, Mary-Ann Young
- Track 2: Codifying Resilience, Fadi Masoud
Friday Session 1
Track 1: Building Capacity for Professionals to Address Climate Change, Stephen Muirhead, Mark Bauche and Adam Kroeker
Prairie Climate Centre and HTFC Planning and Design are collaborating on a project to increase the capacity of professional planners, landscape architects, and other allied professionals who are engaged in integrated regional land use, water management, and design planning across Manitoba to integrate the risks associated with a changing climate into their decision-making and planning. This will increase the adaptive capacity and associated resilience in communities across the province. We are designing and delivering a comprehensive training and capacity enhancement package to help this target sector to understand, assess, and reduce the risks of a changing climate in Manitoba with the view to mainstreaming climate adaptation actions into comprehensive, sectorial, and regional plans. The project is being delivered through the Manitoba BRACE Program, which is a partnership between Natural Resources Canada and Government of Manitoba, aiming to build regional capacity and expertise to adapt to climate change. The presentation will describe the progress on the project including initial research finding on the existing capacity of the audience; capacity building priorities; key topics; and preliminary training materials.
Track 2: Preparing for Takeoff: A Landscape-Focused Vision for the Downsview Park Commons, David Anselmi and Chris Veres
An important legacy of Downsview Park’s aerospace history lies in a cluster of heritage buildings that speak to its origins as a centre of aviation manufacturing and innovation. With the guidance of DTAH, Canada Lands Company has established the Downsview Park Commons Master Plan vision for the area. The Plan calls for a pedestrian-scaled urban campus based around the adaptive re-use of these buildings, alongside the introduction of complimentary new development. Supporting the evolution of the Downsview Lands, it knits together sustainable, cultural and social opportunities that could define this unique place. The Master Plan emphasizes the importance of establishing a distinct landscape identity, placemaking and connectivity at both the site and community scales. While program and context may evolve as community needs and development opportunities arise, this landscape-based approach optimizes potential and creates animated, memorable and safe networks of streets, parks and plazas, ultimately leading to a thriving and enduring place. Incorporating perspectives of both landscape architect and client, this presentation will tell the story of the Master Plan. Through a discussion of both current and future projects at Downsview Park, such as Centennial College, future residential neighbourhoods, the new Urban Farm, and the sophisticated bioswales throughout, the presenters will demonstrate that a landscape-focused vision can result in a successful process, product and enduring performance for both built and natural interventions.
Friday Session 2
Track 1: Indigenous Knowledges and Ecology and Adaptation, Brett Huson
With the Turtle Lodge International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness and the guidance and leadership of their National Knowledge Keepers’ Council, the Prairie Climate Centre is co-developing a two-pronged multifaceted project that will explore the rich and deep knowledges from the Indigenous communities to develop a training resource that will aid the communities in resilience and adaptation. This project is a part of the Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) Program of Natural Resources Canada.
One part of the project aims to connect Indigenous ways of knowing with the tools and information such as the Climate Atlas of Canada. The communities can use these tools to support their knowledges for developing stronger and more sustainable adaptation plans. The other side of the project will re-connect Indigenous youth with Elders and Knowledge Keepers who will share their knowledges of the land with the youth to continue these vital ways of knowing for future generations.
This project will also deliver enhancement tools available to many other Indigenous communities to embark on their own path to sustainable resilience and adaptation plans.
Our presentation will not only showcase our path to co-developing the relationships and content, but it will also highlight some of the key Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing that have guided the project from its inception.
Track 2: Level Up Access to Nature: Open Space Design in Multi-Residential Developments, by Michael Ormston-Holloway
With limits on urban sprawl clashing against an ever growing population, the necessity to grow up and not out is evident. The design of these towering vertical communities has a significant impact on the quality of life of the residents, as well as the environment and infrastructure within and surrounding densifying urban centres. Now, more than ever, it seems clear that the approach to designing multi residential amenities and private outdoor spaces needs to be reconsidered. This talk will discuss the potential for condominium landscapes to provide meaningful green oases for the residents of mid- and high-rise developments, and to introduce valuable ecological functions into the urban fabric. Three case studies – the Distillery District and West Don Lands in Toronto, and the Gaslight District in Galt - will be used to explore common design challenges, opportunities, and solutions to creating more successful green spaces in these urban developments. Through nature-driven design interventions such as bioamplification, performance driven models for planting design, and species diversity, the ecological value and resilience of these developments, and urban centres at large, can be enhanced, to the benefit of all.
Friday Session 3
Track 1: Renewing our Vital Public Realm, David Leinster
The public realm is the fabric that holds our neighbourhoods together. Often viewed as the spaces between places, this vital social infrastructure requires modernization to respond to changing demographics, social pressures and environmental conditions . This talk will address the renewal of streetscapes, and unused spaces in one of the most vital neighbourhoods in our Nation's Capital. In the past year we have seen a renaissance of our outdoor amenities, which became the primary forum for gathering, playing, exercising, and dining. With space for new public amenities a rarity, it is imperative that our existing public realm be preserved and adapted to meet the current and future needs of the population, as well as pressing environmental concerns. Using the ByWark Market Public Realm Revitalization Master Plan as a precedent project, this talk will explore innovative design interventions, technologies, and techniques to reinvigorate the public realm. Adopting a social and ecological lens, strategies for expanding the pedestrian realm, encouraging active transportation, improving accessibility, planning for the succession of the urban forest, and incorporating green infrastructure will be explored. Through thoughtful interventions these renewed spaces have the potential to improve not only the health of residents, but the environment.
Track 2: From Rubble to Refuge, Walter H. Kehm
Over the past 35 years, Walter Kehm has observed the ecological and cultural evolution of Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto otherwise known as the Leslie Street Spit. In his newly published book “Accidental Wilderness: The Origins and Ecology of Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park” he describes how the park has evolved from the preparation of his original master plan in 1986 until today. It is a fascinating story for landscape architects to be aware of as it demonstrates how essential it is to understand the biological sciences for a particular site. The presentation will demonstrate how the site program for birds, mammals, fish, insects and amphibians was developed as a basis for design. In effect, the landscape architect sets the table for nature to determine the menu. From rubble to refuge documents how topsoil is not required. The native substrate materials from the downtown demolition site consist of bricks, concrete blocks, re-bars, floor tiles and other construction rubble. In time the brick weather and return to clay. The concrete blocks disintegrate and leave limestone aggregate behind. The steel bars oxidize and return iron to the mix. The result is a vibrant, diverse, unique ecological community with forests and meadows, beaches and bluffs where people find peace of mind in an urban wilderness.
Saturday Session 1
Track 1: Design as Climate Activism, Karen May and Todd Smith
We are facing the biggest existential threat to humanity and other life forms with which we share this earth – the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are driven by human activity, are inexorably linked, and require urgent action. Design Climate Action (DCA), a group of allied design professionals, believe that as land-based practitioners we are uniquely positioned to be leaders in mitigating these crises, as well as advocating for better policies and land-use decisions. In this presentation, members of DCA will discuss our efforts and experiences to-date in building a critical activist practice. We will share lessons learned from our research activities and engagement with fellow professionals; illustrate how land-based designers are engaging with solutions to these wicked problems; discuss the potential for design to become a platform for advocacy and bridge-building across disciplines and communities; and reveal where there are currently gaps in the profession. We are particularly interested in the question of how to build more inclusive coalitions with project stakeholders, and how we define our clients. Finally, we reflect on how to further our goal of achieving a just, post-carbon world together.
Track 2: Thru Fresh Eyes: Celebrating New Typologies of Open Space, Yvonne Battista, Brent Raymond and James Roche
Finding new space for parks in increasingly dense cities is a challenge. We all are also confronted with the realities of our changing environment. In response to these issues, many municipalities have sought to find ways to optimize the in-between spaces within the city to ensure that each project takes the long view, helps to realize multi-generational ambitions, combats the impacts of more frequent and intense storm events, and contributes to the greater whole. The presentation will discuss the thesis noted above by referencing four DTAH projects as case studies: Toronto’s Lower Don Valley and the Green Line, the Brampton Riverwalk, and Vaughan’s Edgeley Pond and Park. Each project is ambitious and provides a different perspective for working within natural and cultural landscapes that intersect with infrastructure. Three of the projects are within significant watercourses in the middle of their respective cities with each having different objectives, stakeholders and solutions, while the fourth is a unique linear park system within a 5-kilometre-long electric transmission corridor. All four celebrate the power of place, layering community needs with sustainable and resilient design to create exceptional and transformative public spaces.
Saturday Session 2
Track 1: Collaborative Practice: Cultivating new collaborations to amplify our impact on Climate Change, Sonja Vangjeli & Thomas Nideroest
The landscape and planning professions are optimistic by nature, striving to make an impact on the critical issues of our time beyond what is in our scope. However, there is often a gap between our aspirations and the reality of practice. How can we get a seat at the table and have a significant role in a Green Recovery? What new partnerships, new skills, and new modes of practice do we need to forge to have a bigger impact? Collaborative research and practice across disciplines, sectors, and
geographic regions are a powerful tool to solve complex systemic problems. Landscape Architects can play a key role in such collaborations by bridging the gaps between ecology, culture, and design. The International Landscape Collaborative (ILC) is an emerging international network of professionals and academics promoting diverse interdisciplinary collaborations and new models of practice guided by a landscape approach. Two young professionals from the ILC will speak about two of its current initiatives: the Design Climate Survey and the Toronto Symposium. Touching on their experiences in practice, aspirations and barriers, and drawing from survey findings, they will speculate on new forms of collaborations that can amplify the impact of landscape practice.
Track 2: Complete Streets: 20 Years On, Brent Raymond
Complete Streets has taken its time to get started but is now at the forefront of many city building conversations. National, provincial and local policies are finally catching up after decades of heated discourse around road safety and placemaking. Vision Zero efforts are taking off around the country with the intent to eliminate severe crashes and loss of life. All of this is wonderful and welcome, but why are we still confronted with resistance when designing streets and developing guidance for others to follow? As we evaluate the shortcomings of our cities coming out of the pandemic, the inadequacy of our built environment from multiple perspectives is clear but how will we resolve these challenges? This presentation reflects on a landscape architect’s career dedicated to street design working with municipalities big and small. The presentation will touch on a range of items: the basics of Complete Streets, what has worked and what hasn’t, the importance of context, and working with other professions and champions to make it happen. The talk will discuss the future of street design including getting ready for autonomous urbanism, solving post-pandemic shortfalls, and what that means at the city-wide scale. Several case studies will serve to describe and explain the issues, ranging from guidelines and studies to built work.
Saturday Session 3
Track 1: Bluff Point: Connecting Design and Ecology, Virginia Burt, Mary-Ann Young
In Bluff Point: Connecting Design and Ecology Virginia Burt and Mary Anne Young will discuss a project in Ontario’s cottage country where excellence in both design and ecology were key project drivers. Bluff Point is a residential construction project where the clients wanted to create a calming and serene cottage refuge. The site consists of rocky barrens of granite, mosses and grasses, and coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests, creating a dramatic, rugged, yet vulnerable, landscape. Prior to engagement of the landscape architect, unbridled blasting, tree removal and grading has resulted in a new road and the design team had generally taken the site’s fragile beauty for granted. Environmental consequences demanded restitution – a mindful approach to governing construction activity was needed to heal the land and restore nature’s balance. The landscape architect led a diverse team of players: naturalist, arborist, client, architect, engineers, and multiple contractors encouraging protection and restoration of the property to a healthy ecosystem supportive of our lakes and forests. The landscape design drew from an in-depth ecological analysis to create a site-sensitive planting design applied to heal a wounded landscape.
Track 2: Codifying Resilience, Fadi Masoud
Climate change is rendering visible some of the shortcomings of traditional planning tools. Normative zoning, for example, has historically relied on two conditions: the regulation of land and the regulation of use. However, the interrelationship between land and use, the dynamic and temporal conditions and processes that govern their fluctuations, must now be considered. This talk contends with the foundational prominence of ecological resilience in transforming normative planning and design practice. It posits a theoretical framework and a case study for a novel gradient-based zoning approach — a landscape-driven urban code that considers regional geomorphology, socio-economic factors, and environmental uncertainty as the basis for more resilient and adaptable urban forms.