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The Elephant in the City : Environmental Gentrification and the Paradox of Urban Sustainability Tu, Emily 2021-05

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THE ELEPHANT IN THE CITY:E N V I R O N M E N TA L  G E N T R I F I C AT I O N  A N D  T H E  P A R A D O X O F  U R B A N  S U S TA I N A B I L I T YEMILY TUSPRING 2021iLandscape ArchitectureSchool of Architecture and Landscape ArchitectureUniversity of British ColumbiaEmily TuThe Elephant in the City: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradox of Urban SustainabilityIn presenting this report in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia, I agree that UBC may make this work freely available for reference or study. I giver permission for copying the report for educational purposes in accordance with copyright laws.Emily Tu           05/04/21Name              Signture         DateR E L E A S E  F O R MiiiiiEnvironmental gentrification is a growing concern due to its potential for displacement of vulnerable and low-income residents. Green spaces in low-in-come neighbourhoods are often lacking or are in poor condition, so greening initiatives are undertaken to address these disparities. However, this can often inadvertently contribute to the process of gentrification. This thesis focuses on the concept of environmental gentrification and the social aftermaths of urban greening. Drawing on research conducted in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, this project explores urban green space distributions and assesses the relationship between greening and gentrification. I critique current landscape architecture practice and argue that landscape architecture’s collective consciousness has failed to consider the complex social, political, and economic dynamics of its practice. I propose strategies that landscape architects can use to help resist envi-ronmental gentrification and better serve the whole community.A B S T R A C TivAbstractTable of ContentsList of FiguresAcknowledgementsPrefaceIntroductionLiterature Review Defining, Identifying, and Explaining Gentrification Environmental Gentrification & Sustainable Development The Urban Greening ParadoxPrecedent Study High Line, New York Cheonggyecheon Stream, SeoulThe Downtown Eastside: Site Description Introduction Site History Cuurrent Challenges Public Green Space Policies & Plans Case Study: Pioneer Placeiiiiv viviiixi010507121519232729323540454951TA B L E  O F  C O N T E N T SvRole of Landscape Archtiecture Rethinking the PracticeDesign Proposal The Urban Living Room Principles for Environmental Justice How Did This Come to Be? Design Function Block 01 Context  The Long Table  Seating Steps Block 02 Context  The Gallery  Reading Room Block 03 Context  The Lounge  Market PlaceConclusionBibliography616367 7073747579828485889091949697101viFig. 1 - Gentrification Protest Sign (DM Gillis, 2013)Fig. 2 - Greening the city collage (Author, 2020)Fig. 3 - The urban greening paradox (Author, 2021)Fig. 4 - High Line, New York (Timothy Scheneck, n.d.)Fig. 5 - The Cheonggyecheon Stream (Kimmo Räisänen, n.d.)Fig. 6 - Sweep under the rug (Author, 2021)Fig. 7 - Downtown Eastside sub-areas (Author, 2020)Fig. 8 - Greater Vancouvuer Area (Author, 2020)Fig. 9 - Vancouver’s living room (Author, 2021)Fig. 10 - Downtown Eastside Hastings Street (Dan Toulgoet, 2019)Fig. 11 - Site analysis: Parks (Author, 2021)Fig. 12 - Site analysis: 5 minute walk within a park (Author, 2021)Fig. 13 - Site analsysis: Canopy Cover (Author, 2021)Fig. 14 - Site analysis: Bike lanes (Author, 2021)Fig. 15 - Tent City at Oppenheimer Park (Jimmy Jeong, 2019)Fig. 16 - Location of Pioneer Place (Author, 2020)Fig. 17 - Loiterers feeding pigeons at Pioneer Place (Walter Frost, 1960)0911172125313334394243434444485253L I S T  O F  F I G U R E SviiFig. 18 - Pigeon Park construction materials (Maggie MacPherson, 2021)Fig. 19 - Exploded axo diagram of Pioneer Place (Author, 2021)Fig. 20 - The Elephant in the City (Author, 2021)Fig. 21 - The living room (Author, 2021)Fig. 22 - Downtown Eastside Site Location (Author, 2021)Fig. 23 - Site services and resources (Author, 2021)Fig. 24 - Site analysis: Pedestrian Collisions (Author, 2021)Fig. 25 - Site elevation and program (Author, 2021)Fig. 26 - Block 01 Axo (Author, 2021)Fig. 27 - Long table perspective (Author, 2021)Fig. 28 - Seating steps perspective (Author, 2021)Fig. 29 - Block 02 Axo (Author, 2021)Fig. 30 - Gallery perspective (Author, 2021)Fig. 31 - Reading room perspective (Author, 2021)Fig. 32 - Block 03 Axo (Author, 2021)Fig. 33 - Lounge perspective (Author, 2021)Fig. 34 - Market place perspective (Author, 2021)5759666971727677808183868789929395viiiI want to begin by thanking my supervisor, Cynthia Girling, for your enthusi-asm and support throughout this journey. I am grateful for how you continuous-ly encouraged and guided me through the year, more specifically how you were always supportive of all my efforts and struggles. Thank you to the University of British Columbia, none of this would have been possible without the amazing support of my professors and colleagues. I specif-ically want to mention Amy Villablanca. You believed in me as a student and as a potential landscape architect; without your encouragement, I wouldn’t have applied for the program.I would like to thank my friends for your kind words of encouragement and your blind overconfidence. You’ve all made the difficult times this year so much easier to handle, to accept, and to get through. Alexis and Sabah, my sisters from other misters, thank you for helping me survive yet another year but most of all, for the unconditional love and support. Thank you for making fun of me when I deserved it, which was more often than not. Thank you for staying constant in a world full of change; through all the stages, difficulties, and joys I knew that the both of you would always be there. Turning my focus to my family - thank you for keeping me out of the family drama for the past three years, so I could focus my time and energy on more A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T Siximportant things like design school.  My mom, for the sacrifices that you have made, I now understand that it wasn’t easy and that you did everything out of love. I’ve achieved everything I have becuase of the foundation that you’ve laid, the example that you’ve led. My dad, for being my number one cheerleader and for reminding me to take it easy (maybe a little too easy). More personally, I would like to thank Wesley for continually reminding me that everything was going to be okay. Whether or not I was going to prove successful in this program was often a mystery to me. Your confidence pushed me through, and you helped me remember my strengths. You often received the blunt end of my uncertainty and did so with love and patience. I am forever grateful for all that you’ve done for me.Last but not least, I would like to thank me dear Con, for supporting me de-spite it all. Thank you for putting up with me when I wallowed in self-pity, gave into my anxious thoughts, and had my bouts of sadness. This past year has been extremely difficult, but you continually showed up for me when I needed it the most. Without each and every one of you, I definitely would have dropped out, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all.  xxiIn the late summer of 2016, I decided to move out of Downtown Vancouver and into Chinatown. I chose this neighbourhood because I was drawn to the modern eateries, boutiques, and bars, it was close enough to Downtown, and school was easily accessible by public transit or cycling. The condo was also newly built and LEED-certified, rent was affordable, and it was next to the seawall.  I was an active agent of gentrification; there I was fifteen floors up in my cozy apartment, while there were homeless individuals down below who pushed their shopping carts that housed all of their belongings. As a newcomer, I knew nothing about this community’s history or culture—a history of oppres-sion and disinvestment. During those years, I witnessed and learned a lot about the Downtown Eastside community and its members, and I developed a fierce conviction that these places and people mattered.Four years later, as I write this, I can’t help but feel like an imposter; can I be part of the problem and also combat this challenge? I can’t put myself in the shoes of the disenfranchised because I am still an active agent of gentrification. I struggle to understand how I can practice landscape architecture without mor-al compromise. So, I begin this way in order to frame my research as a way of understanding the relationship between urban greening initiatives and gentri-fication. In this thesis, I assess what role the discipline has played and can play for society. As designers of the public realm, landscape architects must recognize that their designs have the potential to alter social structures, therefore, must be more critical of the wholistic outcome of their designs.P R E FA C E0101I N T R O D U C T I O N3We are currently living in an urban era where more than half of the world’s population (approximately 4 billion people) lives in cities, and by 2050, this figure will increase to 6 billion people (United Nations, 2018). Cities are known to offer greater opportunities and are often the heart of economic growth and technological development, while at the same time these cities are facing pressing problems like poverty, environmental degradation, and inequality. With rapid urbanization, cities are forced to confront these challenges by developing policies and strategies that combat urban ills and improve the lives of urbanites.Many cities have turned towards strategies focused on urban sustainability, more specifically, on creating or improving green amenities—this is what we refer to urban greening. Urban greening initiatives have become emblematic, as they accurately reflect the demands for a better quality of life, both socially, environ-mentally, and even economically (Birch & Wachter, 2008; Jennings et al., 2016; Larco, 2016; Lang & Rothenberg, 2016). New greenways, revamped parks, ver-tical gardens, extensive cycling networks, green businesses, and even sustainable buildings, each promising to connect its inhabitants to nature while attempting to repair the damage that humans have caused on this planet. Although these amenities are theoretically responsive to the needs of communities—improved walkability, safe spaces to play and gather, access to healthy food—they are also often linked to processes that fuel gentrification (Anguelovski et al., 2018a, 2019; Bryson, 2013; Dale & Newman, 2009; Jacobs, 1961). Studies reveal that the benefits of urban greening initiatives can be unevenly dis-tributed; it doesn’t improve all citizens’ quality of life (Anguelovski et al., 2018a; I N T R O D U C T I O N4Checker, 2011; Gould & Lewis, 2012). Greening projects often arise in low-in-come neighbourhoods and communities of colour (Anguelovski et al., 2018b; Curran & Hamilton, 2018; Mallach, 2018), which often attracts investment and creates conditions for displacement and social exclusion of some of the most vul-nerable citizens. While new green amenities can provide a wide range of benefits, especially health, these amenities may also lead to an increase in housing costs and property values, displacement of working-class residents, and loss of social diversity (Atkinson & Bridge, 2004; Curran & Hamilton, 2018). The process by which green amenities increase property values and displace low-income resi-dents is called environmental gentrification (Checker, 2011).A central goal of this thesis is to examine the contradictions of urban greening initiatives and gentrification. The first section of this thesis is a literature review on environmental gentrification. Beginning with a brief background on gentrifi-cation, I then explore the relationship between gentrification and sustainable de-velopment, and conclude on the urban greening paradox. In the second section, I conduct two precedent studies of urban greening interventions that further demonstrate how environmental amenities can increasingly create new dynam-ics of exclusion and polarization within neighbourhoods. In the third section, I narrow my investigation and conduct a site analysis of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. I then provide a case study that highlights evidence of green gentrifica-tion around public parks in the Downtown Eastside. The fourth section critiques current landscape architecture practice and proposes ways that landscape archi-tects can design for social equity and justice. I explore how landscape architec-ture can work with policy and community members to be leaders in preserving the history, culture, and community of gentrifying neighbourhoods.0202L I T E R AT U R E  R E V I E W7Gentrification is a complex phenomenon that reshapes the lives of urban resi-dents—upper, lower, and middle class–-in cities worldwide. In its journey from academic jargon to popular use, the definition of gentrification has been wid-ened. Culturally, gentrification is the process by which low-income residents are displaced by middle and upper-class individuals who are seeking a specific lifestyle (Ley, 1996; Moskowitz, 2017). In economic regards, gentrification is when affluent or middle-class buyers reinvest in previously disinvested neigh-bourhoods to capitalize on the rent gap–-the disparity between how much a property is worth in its current state and how much it would be worth gentrified (Smith, 1979, 1987). The rent gap theory demonstrates how profit and econom-ic growth takes precedence over social needs like shelter. Though the definition may alter depending on who is being asked and in what context, all gentrifica-tion trends possess the same challenges. It is fundamentally a process that in-volves reinvestment in undesirable neighbourhoods by middle and upper-class buyers and investors. The result is significant social, demographic, and political change, as well as physical transformation of the neighbourhoods’ urban land-scape (Lees et al., 2008). There have been long-standing disagreements over the implications of gentrifi-cation. The term gentrification, was first coined in 1964 by British sociologist Ruth Glass to describe the transformation of working-class neighbourhoods in London. Glass observed a new process of urban change, whereby working-class residences were being displaced by middle and upper classes, changing the phys-ical and social dynamics of neighbourhoods (Atkinson & Bridge, 2004; Curran & Hamilton, 2018; Glass, 1964; Lees et al., 2008) Since the time of Glass’ arti-cle, the impact of gentrification has been hugely disputed; supporters argue that D E F I N I N G ,  I D E N T I F Y I N G ,  &  E X P L A I N I N G G E N T R I F I C AT I O N8the process is inevitable and that gentrification is a ramification of urban devel-opment (Dorsey, 2003). Some of the positive impacts include increased property values, reduced suburban sprawl, rehabilitation of previously derelict neighbour-hoods, improved safety, and reduced vacancy rates (Atkinson & Bridge, 2004). On the contrary, critics of gentrification say that the negative impacts outweigh the benefits; increase in housing costs, displacement of low-income residents, loss of social diversity and culture, and community conflict and resentment (At-kinson & Bridge, 2004).Over the years, gentrification has intensified as a process and as a topic of research. The early literature on gentrification focused on identifying the un-derlying causes of this phenomenon, but still, there are long-standing disagree-ments among scholars about these forces. On the one hand, some scholars view gentrification as a consumption-driven process: gentrifiers migrate to the city to seek economic opportunities and to fulfill their desire for a certain lifestyle, and therefore these spaces are created to conform to their needs (Lees et al., 2008; Ley, 1996). In contrast, others view gentrification as a production-driven process: developers invest in disinvested neighbourhoods when they see profit potential, luring in the young and affluent, and displacing those who are not profitable (Harvey, 1973; Moskowitz, 2018; Smith, 1979). Smith believed that the more disinvested a space was, the more profitable it was to gentrify, therefore capital would go where the profit margins were greatest. The result is what Smith (1982) referred to as a “locational seesaw” of investments and disinvestment of space over time. 910Fig 1. Redacted for digital publication due to copyright11Fig 2. Greening the City Source: Author (2020)12For decades, environmental and natural dimensions were not considered in gentrification research, instead the research focused on the social, economic, po-litical, geographic, and cultural characteristics. However, as urbanization inten-sified and as more cities faced pressing problems like poverty and environmental degradation, more scholars began to consider the role of urban green spaces in the process of gentrification. This new body of research demonstrates how urban greening initiatives serve as a catalyst for gentrification and how gentrification is justified and concealed through sustainability frameworks (Anguelovski et al., 2018b; Bryson, 2013). This global phenomenon referred to as environmental gentrification has various terms: ecological gentrification (Dooling, 2009), green gentrification (Gould & Lewis, 2012), and eco-gentrification (Patrick, 2011). Sarah Dooling (2009) defined ecological gentrification “as the implementation of an environmental planning agenda related to public green spaces that leads to the displacement or exclusion of the most economically vulnerable human population while espousing an environmental ethic” (p. 621). Environmental ethics is particularly important because urban greening is sold as a public good, with the promise that it will improve the quality of life for all citizens; however, these benefits are not equally distributed, and these promises neglect the social struggles behind the creation and transformation of urban green spaces (Bryson, 2013; Curran & Hamilton, 2018; Dooling, 2009; Lees et al., 2018; Moskowitz, 2018). Environmental gentrification is deemed acceptable through the discourse of sustainability, often referred to as the 3E’s: environmental protection, econom-ic growth, and equity (Campbell, 1996). These three pillars present a win-win outcome where environmental conditions are improved, economic revenue is E N V I R O N M E N TA L  G E N T R I F I C AT I O N  &  S U S TA I N A B L E  D E V E L O P M E N T13increased, and residents are provided a better quality of life. In actuality, this environmental agenda leads to displacement of the economically vulnerable and the creation of wealth for the urban elite (Checker, 2011; Curran & Hamilton, 2018; Dooling, 2009). Sustainable development encourages environmental ame-nities that favour more affluent classes without appropriately addressing inequal-ity or the consequences for marginalized groups:While a critical realignment of urban design with nature will be essen-tial to our planetary survival, the overshadowing of social considerations by ecological sensibilities in contemporary landscape urbanism also has many adverse effects on urban communities by greasing the wheels of market-led property development so as to benefit an urban elite. Design-ers creating public open spaces within this new paradigm risk celebrating ecological improvements that exacerbate social and income disparities and increase private property values in their surrounds, thus undermining affordability and expelling long-standing residents with limited financial means (Davis & Gray, 2020, p. 75).Many greening initiatives are built on the foundation of sustainable devel-opment’s social pillar, yet it’s the dimension that is often overlooked (Dale & Newman, 2009). It’s crucial that scholars, policymakers, designers, and planners become more critical of gentrification’s underpinnings.“ Why is it that we think of the built environment of cities as somehow or other not being part of the environment?”- David Harvey15Cities recognize that equitable access to urban green space is essential for ad-equate living conditions and a healthy environment. They develop parks, gre-enways, street trees, green roofs, and community gardens to simultaneously improve the lives of city dwellers, while attempting to reverse the detrimental ef-fects that humans have caused on earth (Du & Zhang, 2020). However, research has revealed that sufficient green spaces are unevenly distributed within cities. The importance of urban green spaces are recognized for both humans and non-humans alike, from widely known benefits like improving physical and mental health, moderating urban heat, and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions (Dobbs et al., 2017; Miller et al., 2013; Zhong et al., 2020). Green spaces provide mutu-ally beneficial relationships between urbanites and the environment.That being said, the value of urban green spaces have long been contested. On one end of the spectrum, researchers argue that urban green spaces play an integral role in maintaining the vitality of urban life. These spaces provide a wealth of benefits, including ecosystem services, aesthetic value, and recreational opportunities (Anguelovski et al., 2018b; Wolch et al., 2014). More specifically, green spaces contribute to improved physical health by encouraging active life-styles through offering an attractive environment (Van den Bosch; 2017). Green spaces also provide mental health benefits, such as reducing stress, improving concentration, and lowering anxiety and depression (Bratman et al., 2019; Triguero-Mas et al., 2015; Van den Bosch; 2017). These spaces can offer solitude and are places to seek refuge. Urban green spaces are places where people come together, social interactions occur, relationships or partnerships are formed, and a space that can lead to a greater sense of community. They are essential to peo-ple, especially through symbolizing personal, community, and cultural meanings (Miller et al., 2015; Wolf, 2017).T H E  U R B A N  G R E E N I N G  PA R A D O X16Meanwhile, the opposition argues that urban greening is more costly than bene-ficial, as social inequalities are produced (Dale & Newman, 2009). Environmen-tal gentrification research includes extensive literature on environmental justice and inequitable access to green spaces. Studies show that access is often stratified based on socioeconomic status, racial-ethnic characteristics, gender, age, and disability (Breau et al., 2018; Curran & Hamilton, 2018; Du & Zhang, 2020; Jennings & Gaither, 2015; Jaffe, 2014; Jennings et al., 2016; Wen et al., 2013; Wolch et al., 2014). More often than not, urban green spaces disproportionately benefit white and more affluent communities (Anguelovski et al., 2018a, 2018b; Estabrooks et al., 2003; Jaffe, 2014; Mallach, 2018; Maantay & Maroko, 2018; Moskowitz, 2018). In contrast, Stephen Gray, an associate professor of urban de-sign at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, says that low-income and marginalized individuals and people of colour, often live in areas where the green space is small in size, low quality, and poorly maintained (as cited in Shafaieh, 2020). In an attempt to address these inequities, cities have developed and implement-ed strategies that increase and restore urban green spaces (Curran & Hamilton, 2012). However, the development of greening infrastructure in low-income neighbourhoods reveals an urban greening paradox: greening in marginalized communities can make neighbourhoods healthier and more aesthetically attrac-tive, but it can also increase desirability, thus evoke gentrification and displace the residents the parks were designed for (Anguelovski et al., 2018b; Curran & Hamilton, 2012; Dale & Newman, 2009; Dooling, 2009). We recognize that urban green spaces provide residents with a range of benefits, but the develop-ment of these green spaces can result in unintended adverse impacts related to 17Fig 3. The urban greening paradox Source: Author (2021)18the rise in property value (Maantay & Maroko, 2018). This phenomenon is what Melissa Checker (2011) refers to as a “pernicious paradox–must they reject environmental amenities in their neighbourhoods in order resist the gentrifica-tion that tends to follow such amenities?” (p. 211).Although the literature is mostly centered around the success stories, environ-mental cleanup, especially brownfield sites, has also proven to generate envi-ronmental gentrification. Cities can be seen transforming toxic industrial sites, abandoned railways, and disused waterfronts into attractive and ecologically inspired spaces as a way to promote the city’s brand as green and sustainable–a mechanism for fostering urban liveability and well-being. In the 2000s, Vancou-ver’s Southeast False Creek restoration led to the redevelopment of a residential community informed by notions of environmental sustainability and sustainable urban design (Millennium Development, n.d.). The outcome was a neighbour-hood with medium-rise housing that featured public amenities like restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, and a community centre, along with green amenities including parks, a seawall, and an urban sanctuary. The redevelopment attracted middle and upper-class buyers and investors, displacing the poor and work-ing-class residents of East Vancouver (Hutton, 2004). The green space paradox has our backs against the wall with an ever-growing need to develop solutions that address these environmental inequalities.0303P R E C E D E N T  S T U D I E S21Fig 4. Redacted for digital publication due to copyright“A lot of the reason city governments want to do this is because it’s going to increase value. But what we want the cities to understand is the other issues – not just the economic impacts but the social impacts as well ... the issues sur-rouunding these projects used to be about fundraising and design, and people are realising that the most critical point in these projects is social equity around their neighbourhoods”- Robert Hammond, Friends of the High Line23The New York City High Line project developed in 2009, converted a historic, mile and a half long elevated railway in the Chelsea neighbourhood, previously considered low-income, into a public green space. This project was designed by James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and architect Piet Oudolf, in collaboration with Friends of the High Line. This iconic green space is often praised for its sustainable design, post-industrial aesthetic, and ability to attract millions of tourists annually. However, the project has also received heavy criticism for its role in gentrifying Chelsea. In the 1990s, Chelsea was considered a low-income neighbourhood of “meat-packers, leather clubs, NYC counterculture, and publicly subsidized low-income New York City Housing Authority housing projects” (Davis & Gray, 2020, p. 77). In the centre of it all stood the High Line, which had been disused for decades; many people wanted it demolished because they saw it as an eyesore. However, Robert Hammond and Joshua David, the co-founders of Friends of the High Line—a non-profit conservancy and the sole group responsible for maintaining the High Line—saw beauty in the abandoned landscape. Ham-mond and David advocated for its preservation and restoration as an inclusive public green space that would benefit its citizens (Davis & Gray, 2020). The project was also built on a foundation of cultural advocacy and inclusive design. In 2003, Friends of the High Line hosted a design competition to gather ideas, spread awareness, and gain excitement over the project. The organization spent a decade collaborating with Chelsea residents to develop ideas, so when the first section of the park was finally open to the public, residents were under-whelmed by the final design. The local community didn’t like the programming and felt like it wasn’t built for them (Friends of the High Line, n.d.). To make T H E  H I G H  L I N E ,  N E W  Y O R K24matters worse, it attracted white-collar businesses and wealthy investors, who eventually moved in and took over the neighbourhood. Since its creation, the value of nearby real estate has skyrocketed—property values have increased by 103% (Green, 2015). Low-income residents suffered from the rising rents and many were displaced, while developers reaped the benefits of higher property value. Not only has it exacerbated social and economic disparities, but it has been a catalyst for Chelsea’s physical and cultural transformation.To many observers, the project is seen as a success, however, such critiques fail to recognize its contribution to gentrification and displacement. The High Line is an example of how urban green space strategies can be paradoxical: this green space was designed to benefit all residents, including the economically vulnera-ble, yet creating this space has set off gentrification and has led to the displace-ment and exclusion of these vulnerable residents.  2526Fig 5. Redacted for digital publication due to copyright27The Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul is an example of an environmental restoration project that has played a role in the displacement of commercial and industrial firms. In 2003, an elevated highway that ran through the heart of Seoul was deconstructed to restore the Cheonggyecheon Stream. This six-ki-lometer stream had been heavily degraded as a result of industrialization and development. The project was complete two years later, and the final product was a six-kilometer-long linear park (Lim et al., 2013). This restoration project successfully met all of the objectives, encompassing sustainability: environmental protection, economic growth, and social equity.In some ways, the Cheonggyecheon project was a success; the urban temperature was significantly reduced, biodiversity in the area increased by 600%, and the residents’ health and well-being improved (Bryne, 2017). However, the resto-ration project also increased property values by 50% (Bryne, 2017), and office rents increased by 20% (Lim et al., 2013). Commercial and industrial businesses were displaced because they could no longer afford the rent. Many neighbour-hoods surrounding the Cheonggyecheon became places of land speculation and intensive urban development (Križnik, 2011). The physical transformation of surrounding communities was evident after the restoration; outdated buildings and small businesses were replaced by new high-rise residential and office build-ings, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and retail stores (Lim et al., 2013). There is insufficient data that proves the displacement of economically vulnera-ble residents from nearby neighbourhoods. However, residents claimed that they felt alienated since the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon Stream. Many resi-dents admitted that they had never or seldom visited the stream because they felt C H E O N G G Y E C H E O N  S T R E A M ,  S E O U L28as though it was not their place, so they preferred to spend time in their neigh-bourhood (Križnik, 2011). Residents felt that the Cheonggyecheon was imposed upon them and lacked historical context. At the same time, the stream is often overrun by tourists, for whom the restoration was actually intended, in order to generate capital. The displacement of commercial and industrial firms are less discussed in gentri-fication literature, but it doesn’t make the process less heinous. Small businesses foster local economies, keeping money close to home and supporting nearby neighbourhoods and communities. However, these businesses often have less power and capital, so they don’t stand a chance when large corporations come into the picture. The Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project is an example of how environmental cleanup can lead to gentrification of local commercial and industrial firms.0404 S I T E  D E S C R I T P I O N :T H E  D O W N T O W N  E A S T S I D E31Fig 6. Sweep under the rugSource: Author (2021)32Snowcapped mountains, old-growth forests, oceanfront views, and the world’s longest uninterrupted seaside greenway — these are some of the notable quali-ties that help rank Vancouver one of the world’s most livable cities (The Econo-mist, 2019). However, this reputation as a livable city demands complete denial of the social inequality and socio-spatial polarization that is on full display in the Downtown Eastside (Kenny, 2016). Luxurious glass condos are quickly creep-ing from Vancouver’s city centre towards the impoverished Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. It is where inadequate affordable housing coupled with serious difficulties surrounding drug and alcohol addiction, mental health, unemploy-ment, and racism beset a community. Unlike the rest of Vancouver, the Down-town Eastside neighbourhood has been treated as a place independent and alien from its broader urban context.I N T R O D U C T I O N33Fig 7. Downtown Eatside location within the Greater Vancouver Area and Downtown Eastside sub-areasSource: Author (2020)D O W N T O W N  E A S T S I D E34Fig 8. The Downtown Eatside is located at the eastern edge of Vancouver’s downtown peninsula Source: Author (2020)35Vancouver’s history of gentrification and displacement begins with the coloniza-tion of the Indigenous peoples and their land. The Downtown Eastside is located on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish People, including the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Before the mass migration of the European and East Asian settlers in the early 1890s, First Nations lived off the lands–hunting, fishing, and gathering (Lees et al., 2008; Newnham, 2005).Vancouver’s origins are based in the Downtown Eastside; the first City Hall and main library were built in 1903. Hotels, theatres, bars, banks, and department stores quickly set up shop thereafter. Hastings Street was a major transportation hub—a streetcar network that connected people to other parts of Vancouver (Burk, 2010). The Eastside’s commercial and industrial zone–logging, mining, and fishing—drew thousands of people into the city (Anderson, 1993; Newn-ham, 2005; Sommers, 1998). As the population continued to grow rapidly, development began to shift westward towards Granville Street. The development was gradual, but it prompted the departure of the middle class, leaving the Downtown Eastside to retain its status as a working-class neighbourhood (Lees, et al., 2008). The community managed to maintain its lively character as it remained the city’s shopping and entertainment district. However, this all changed following the Great Depression. Workers across Van-couver were struggling without jobs and the means to sustain themselves. Fur-thermore, Vancouver’s location as a port city attracted unemployed men from other parts of the country in hopes of employment (Belshaw, 2014; Sommers, 2001). The city didn’t have an adequate relief system or resources to provide aid, so thousands of people were left jobless, with no place to go. The lack of afford-S I T E  H I S T O RY 36able housing in other parts of Vancouver drove even more people to the Down-town Eastside. Vancouver’s homeless community grew substantially, and single room occupancy (SROs) hotels that once accommodated tourists and travellers, became permanent residences for seasonal workers and the transient unem-ployed. It became a neighbourhood dominated by males, both demographically and culturally, as bars, brothels, gambling establishments, and other services catered to men (Blomley, 2004; Sommers, 1998).Things progressively got worse in the decades preceding the Second World War. Some of the unemployed were able to get back on their feet, while others never fully recovered. As Downtown Eastside continued to deteriorate and the community marginalized, the city had officially developed a new urban centre at Granville and West Georgia Street. Department stores, head offices, and the main library were all relocated out of the Eastside. Simultaneously, the streetcar service was suspended in the Eastside. As a result of these affairs, fewer people ventured to Downtown Eastside, and businesses in the area suffered (Kumagai & McGuire, 2012; Newnham, 2005). The neighbourhood was seen as a blight, so the city responded with an urban renewal scheme that proposed a freeway that would slice through the heart of Gastown. The community was appalled by this proposal, so residents, merchants, and community groups lobbied against it and successfully resisted the freeway (Kenny, 2016; Punter, 2003; Sommers, 1998; Tolfo, 2019). This was a victorious moment for the Downtown Eastside com-munity; however, gentrification was inevitable and really took hold of Vancouver following the 1970s.The province discharged thousands of psychiatric patients as a response to the 37deinstitutionalization movement in the 1970s. The province of British Columbia faced unexpected difficulties—a lack of funding and political support and lim-ited availability of resources and services for discharged patients. These individ-uals were rejected by several communities and found refuge in the Downtown Eastside community (Blomley, 2004; Ronquillo, 2009). In an attempt to sup-port these ex-patients, the city created shelters in hopes of stabilizing their lives. However, by the 1980s, alcohol and drug use was prevalent in the area. Cocaine became widely available, resulting in a downward spiral of social consequences (Burk, 2010; Newnham, 2005). At this time, the middle-class observers started referring to the Downtown Eastside as skid row–an impoverished area frequent-ed by alcoholics, drug addicts, and others who are considered disreputable (Lees et al., 2008; Newnham, 2005). In the early 1980s, Vancouver was preparing for its most monumental event, Expo ’86. In anticipation of all the incoming tourists, hundreds of long term Downtown Eastside residents—many of which were mentally ill, elderly, or had poor health—were evicted and displaced. It was estimated that two thousand low-income housing units were lost as a result of this event (Blomley, 2004; Kenny, 2016; Lees et al., 2008).The Downtown Eastside has never recovered from the series of traumatic events; to this day, it remains one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods. The community continues to face increasing pressure from external forces, like urbanization and urban development, as society and the process of gentrification move in on the fringes of the neighbourhood. As cities and urban elitists continue to invest and disinvest in the Downtown Eastside simultaneously, the social polarization be-comes more evident as these two demographics continue to converge upon the community (Smith, 2003).“Processes of control are manifested in the exclusion of those who are judged to be deviant, imperfect or marginal – who is felt to belong and not belong contributes in an important way to the shaping of social space”- David Sibley, Geographies of Exclusion39Fig 9. Vancouver’s living room - Granville Street bridge chandelierSource: Author (2020)40The Downtown Eastside community continues to struggle with complex chal-lenges, including poverty, unemployment, homelessness, sex work, drug and alcohol addictions, crime, and mental health and well-being. These issues con-fronting this community are systemic problems that continue to grow. The following is a brief introduction to some of the challenges. Homelessness and Housing. In the 1980s, the decline of low-income housing and the rise of homelessness in Vancouver triggered regulatory responses geared towards the confinement of the city’s most vulnerable residents (Dobson, 2004). The Downtown Eastside is home to the largest number of homeless people in the city (City of Vancouver, 2020b). The 2020 Homeless Count identified 2095 people as experiencing homelessness in Vancouver, a 5% decrease from the pre-vious year (City of Vancouver, 2020b). Of those counted as homeless across the city, 547 are unsheltered, with the majority found in the Downtown Eastside. In conjunction with poverty, the lack of affordable housing is the leading con-tributor to the production of homelessness (Dooling, 2009). According to the Downtown Eastside Plan (2020a), average rents have increased by 16% in the last five years. Shelters accommodate 75% of the city’s homeless, however, shel-ters are only open overnight, forcing these individuals to spend their days on the streets. The scope of the housing crisis goes well beyond the individuals who are homeless, it’s a complex web of increased market demand, globalization, process-es of gentrification, urbanization, and government policies. Alcohol and Drug Use. Drug and alcohol use has been prevalent in the Down-town Eastside since the late twentieth century. Based on its proximity to the C U R R E N T  C H A L L E N G E S41port, the Eastside acts as a gateway for the Canadian drug market, making hero-in and cocaine readily available at low costs (Dobson, 2004; Newnham, 2005). In 2016, a public health emergency was declared in British Columbia (BC), following a significant increase in opioid-related overdose deaths (City of Van-couver, 2020b). Since then, over 5,500 people have lost their lives to overdoes in BC, with nearly 1,400 of these deaths within Vancouver (BC Corners Service, 2020). Mental Health. Members of the Downtown Eastside have experienced wide-spread trauma and ongoing systemic discrimination, racism, sexism, cultural genocide, gentrification and displacement (City of Vancouver, 2020a). This community has faced societal abuse for decades, which has had a catastrophic effect on its residents’ mental health. Recent research indicates that two-thirds of the homeless population and half of the single room occupancy tenant popula-tion live with mental health and addiction issues. Furthermore, only one-third of these individuals receive treatment for their illness or addiction, leaving 3,500 people to be underserved (Honer et al., 2013; Honer & Patterson, 2013). Many of these individuals who struggle with mental illness have previously experienced homelessness; 45% of homeless people reported mental health issues and 60% reported addiction issues (City of Vancouver, 2020a).42Fig 10. Redacted for digital publication due to copyright43p a r k s5  M I n U T E  w a L k  T o  a  p a r k44c a n o p Y  c o v E rb I k E  L a n E sFigs 11-14. Downtown Eastside green space/amenities site analysisSource: Author (2021)45Many studies have examined the distribution and access of green spaces within cities in the past two decades. Studies reveal that urban green spaces are often inequitably distributed, especially in low-income neighbourhoods (Anguelovs-ki et al., 2018b; Curran & Hamilton, 2018). In 2011, the City of Vancouver launched the Greenest City Action Plan 2020, which had set out a clear direc-tion for greening the city. One of the ten goals was to increase access to nature, they would achieve this by planting 150,000 new trees by 2020, and by ensuring that all Vancouver residents lived within a five-minute walk of a park, greenway, or other green space by 2020 (City of Vancouver, 2011). Despite these targets, the Downtown Eastside is still one of the city’s hottest areas due to the lack of canopy cover and the high percentage of impermeable surfaces (City of Van-couver, 2020). The neighbourhood still lacks green amenities, especially when considering its dense occupation; approximately 25% of residents are not within a five-minute walk of a park or green space. More importantly, the green spaces that currently exist are small, poorly maintained, and don’t meet the communi-ty’s needs.The quality of green spaces is just as important as the quantity. Urban green amenities in deprived areas like the Downtown Eastside are often perceived as unsafe and of lower quality. These spaces may not provide maximum potential health benefits, as it lacks the amenities that suit the communities needs. Parks in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood should provide sanctuary to its di-verse community. These spaces need to take in social considerations: Who is this space for? How will the residents use the space? How will it impact the commu-nity? What are some of the challenges residents’ are faced with? How can the park address these challenges? What are some of the potential social consequenc-P U B L I C  G R E E N  S PA C E46es? These are all questions that need to be considered when creating urban green spaces, especially in vulnerable communities. The distribution of green space in Downtown Eastside is sufficient, however, at present, these spaces are small and are of low quality. Historically, social issues like homelessness and the opioid crisis have signifi-cantly impacted the use, sanitization, and safety of urban parks. In the past few decades, the City has tried everything from introducing bylaws to using soft control design elements to deter homeless individuals from living in urban green spaces, however, nothing has proven successful. Homeless individuals in the Downtown Eastside frequently find rest and respite in public green spaces. While camping in public parks is prohibited, the parks department and po-lice officials often allowed them to reside there until the complaints flooded in (Dooling, 2009). When campers were swept from these sites, they usually just moved to another park nearby. For instance, campers had been occupying Oppenheimer Park for nearly the past two years. During that time, the City at-tempted to sweep the camp out at least once but failed to do so. Then the global pandemic in 2020 changed the course of this homeless encampment. In late April 2020, campers were given two options: accept accommodation provided by the City, or vacate the space within two weeks, or face possible arrest (How-ell, 2020). Those who denied the accommodation were forced to relocate, and they did so in CRAB Park (Little & Armstrong, 2020). However, the Vancouver police enforced an injunction, so tent city has since relocated to East Vancouver’s Strathcona Park. It is fitting to revisit Sarah Dooling’s Ecological Gentrification: A Research Agenda Exploring Justice in the City (2009), where she clarifies why homeless individuals will choose to live in parks rather than seek refuge in shel-47ters or single room occupancies:Homeless individuals … experience shelters as spaces of violence and crime, requiring a constant vigilance, where programs and meals are often linked to a religious agenda that they experience as insulting or alienating. Single-room occupancy hotels are described as places of surveillance with monthly cleaning inspections and places where an active drug culture persists. All of these environmental factors threaten the sense of freedom, autonomy and dignity and an alignment with a cosmological orientation that are central to how these individuals want to live. In response to these environmental factors, some homeless individuals opt to camp in public urban green spaces precisely because, in these spaces, they can achieve aspects of being at home, having a home and sharing a home. Their de-cision to camp outside is not an absolute preference; rather, it is a choice made relative to the viability of all other options. (p. 627)48Fig 15. Redacted for digital publication due to copyright49In 1998, the City of Vancouver developed and launched the Downtown Eastside Community Revitalization Program. The City claimed that the program was crafted with the Downtown Eastside residents’ interests and needs in mind, but it was evident that the City had an ulterior motive, and that was to implement a crime prevention program (Spencer, 1998). Although this damaged the City’s reputation, they were eager to gain back citizens’ trust and were committed to improving the Downtown Eastside.In March 2000, the City merged with the Provincial and Federal government and formed the Vancouver Agreement. The three governments came together to improve the quality of life for Downtown Eastside residents. The vision was to create “healthy, safe, and sustainable communities … [where] all organiza-tion from informal groups to governments work effectively together to improve the quality of everyone” (City of Vancouver, 2000, p. 1). Intergovernmental committees were established, and their first focus was to implement a strategy for Downtown Eastside. This strategy proposed three components: community health and safety, economic and social development, and community capacity building (City of Vancouver, 2000). The Vancouver Agreement came to an end in 2010. Several initiatives came of it, such as the Vancouver Agreement Eco-nomic Revitalization Plan, designed to increase demand for local products and services (Vancouver Agreement, 2004).Alongside these efforts, the city introduced the Four Pillars Drug Strategy because the Downtown Eastside drug and alcohol situation had become increas-ingly troublesome. The program originated in Europe in the 1990s, was suc-cessful in cities like Frankfurt, Geneva, Zurich, and Sydney (City of Vancouver, P O L I C I E S  A N D  P L A N S502019). The four principles: harm reduction, prevention, treatment, and enforce-ment, are strategies and interventions that help prevent harmful use of drug and alcohol (City of Vancouver, 2019)The City of Vancouver introduced the Downtown Eastside Housing Plan in 2005, a document that presented a vision for the future of housing in the Downtown Eastside (City of Vancouver, 2005). The intent of this plan was to maintain low-income housing within the community while integrating afford-able market housing. Also, the Housing Plan highlighted the importance of monitoring change to avoid gentrification and displacement (City of Vancouver, 2005). More recently, the City of Vancouver is implementing the Downtown Eastside Plan, formed by the City and the Local Area Planning Process Committee, consisting of low and middle-income residents and representatives from different community groups (City of Vancouver, 2014). This plan provides policies and strategies that focus on improving the lives of low-income Downtown Eastside residences. The document addresses various topics, including health and well-be-ing, housing, transportation, social amenities, cultural infrastructure, parks and public spaces, community facilities, and urban design (City of Vancouver, 2014).51The small triangular plot located on the northwest corner of Hastings Street and Carrall Street holds historical importance–it’s where Vancouver held its first City Council Meeting. Pioneer Place is presently regarded as a living room for some of Vancouver’s most vulnerable citizens. To an outsider, this space would be seen as a cement-covered island that is frequented by homeless people, inhabited by a small patch of grass and a few trees, some tattered benches, and discarded cig-arettes. However, it’s so much more than meets the eye; Pioneer Place has served Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as a public space throughout the twentieth century. Over time and time again, the community’s history was ignored, and its users were denied their rights to access this public space.Pioneer Place can be traced back to 1932 when the Dunsmuir Tunnel was constructed to connect the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) rail yards on False Creek and Burrard Inlet (Matthews, 1932). It was a solution that mitigated the hazards and traffic congestions that the CPR spur line generated. The discontin-uation of the spur line freed up a small plot of land (0.03 acres), in which the City proposed a green space. In 1938, the CPR deeded the land to the City of Vancouver. The City recognized that it was rare to obtain an area like that in the old townsite—the real beginning of Vancouver—so they agreed that the site be retained as a space for the public (City of Vancouver, 1937). A park was built to commemorate Vancouver’s pioneers, giving it its first official title of Pioneer Place.Although the City highly emphasized the need for a park in this neighbourhood, the final product was underwhelming, as though it was designed without a clear intention. A metal fence, chest high, surrounding a patch of grass, no way for C A S E  S T U D Y:  P I G E O N  PA R K52Fig 16. Location of Pioneer Place in the Downtown EastsideSource: Author (2020)53Fig 17. Redacted for digital publication due to copyright54anybody to get in or out. The absence of seating facilities forced loungers to lean up on along the fence and watch birds feed. Locals began referring to the park as Pigeon Park, as it attracted the day drinkers, elderly pensioners, and immigrant labourers who fed the pigeons (Fotheringham, 1972). Over the years, Pioneer Park became degraded; the pigeons destroyed the grass, the fence was mangled, and the park was covered with litter. The gardeners gave up on restoring the lawn, and the merchants became impatient with the loiterers who frequently abused the shoppers. The condition of Pioneer Place became a growing concern, so as a quick fix, the City Council proposed to pave over the property, but much to their surprise there was public backlash (Council Meet-ing Minutes, 1960). A journalist wrote in outrage, “perhaps pigeons do tread the grass to death, as the park superintendent complains. But surely humans are brighter than pigeons. Surely men can find an alternative at reasonable cost to a $2,500 paving job” (The Vancouver Sun, 1960). In 1961, after much debate, a solution was agreed upon; the fence was torn down, the grass was removed, and an oasis was created with the addition of benches, planters, shade trees, and a drinking fountain. A commemorative plaque was also installed at Pioneer Place on Vancouver’s 75th Anniversary. Eleven years pass and several areas surrounding Pioneer Place are developed. Many vulnerable individuals of Downtown Eastside are evicted and pushed towards East Hastings Street (Kenny, 2016). Again, Pioneer Place finds itself at-tracting a new group of social outcasts. Only now, the renovated park contained seating facilities, which made it even more attractive for loungers. Yet again, several merchants along Hastings Street started to complain about the park’s 55deteriorating state. They claimed that intoxicated individuals were driving away customers (City of Vancouver, 1972b). The merchants issued the City an ulti-matum: the city had to remove the benches and revitalize Pioneer Place in order for them to partake in the Hastings Beautification Project. From the merchant’s perspective, the beautification program was a waste of money if Pioneer Place was going to be left in its same deteriorating state (City of Vancouver, 1972a).At first, the City Council was unfavourable to the merchants’ conditions. They couldn’t justify investing a large sum of money on a temporary fix (City of Vancouver, 1972a). For the shop owners, removing benches seemed like the perfect solution for their affairs, but in reality, there was (and still is) a greater issue at large, social inequality, which isn’t as easily solved with the removal of park benches. The City Council believed that their money was better spent on rehabilitation programs rather than renovating Pioneer Place (City of Vancouver, 1972a). However, after facing an immense amount of pressure, the City Council gave in to the request of the merchants, in which they agreed upon the follow-ing:1. elimination of all benches;2. removal of the planter walls, thus leaving a flat surface at sidewalk grade,3. lowering and planting of the existing trees or planter areas at sidewalk elevation (City of Vancouver, 1972b).After deciding to remove the benches, the Council remained divided over whether they had made the right choice; confidence in their decision was only further weakened by the disapproving letters they received from locals (City of 56Vancouver, 1974). A powerful message was sent through the simple gesture of removing the benches at Pioneer Place; it signaled that certain public members were not welcomed. Yet again, the neighborhood’s upscaling resulted in the vulnerable being displaced and made to feel alienated as though they did not fit in with the rest of society. Despite all the challenges with the previous renovation, the City commenced another revitalization project in 1977. The City thought that this grey, paved triangle was lacking, and so they installed planters, benches, and a bricked motif. Merchants were furious with the park modifications, but by this time, the Hast-ings Beautification Project was complete and they had no leverage over the city. Once again, the city received disapproving letters, only now were they coming from enraged merchants. The 1980s were especially difficult for the Downtown Eastside community; Expo 86’ resulted in the displacement of hundreds of single-room occupancy residents, heavy street drugs were introduced, hundreds of mentally ill individu-als were deinstitutionalized, and the overall population of vulnerable individuals increased (Kenny, 2016). The results of these events were reflected in the fre-quenters of Pioneer Place. As the rest of the neighbourhood developed around it, Pioneer Place remained in shambles but continued to be a space where the vulnerable congregated. After years of displacing and excluding the Downtown Eastside’s vulnerable residents, the City had finally recognized the importance of including the public in planning processes. In 2009, the City worked alongside community groups, Indigenous groups, and Downtown Eastside residents to redesign Pioneer Place. Consultations were conducted with park users, and their 5758Fig 18. Redacted for digital publication due to copyright59v I s I b I L I T Ya M E n I T I E sc a n o p Yc I r c U L aT I o nI n F r a s T r U c T U r EFig 19. Exploded axonometric diagram of Pioneer Place Source: Author (2021)60ideas were heard and incorporated. The three design principles that guided this project were:1. Preserve features that make the park popular with the community;2. Replace/restore features in the park; and 3. Add new features to the park (City of Vancouver, 2009, p. 3). The redesign—which we can see today—included a new planter wall used as additional seating space, new seating and lighting facilities, a public washroom, and a drinking fountain that was relocated to a more accessible spot. The cen-tre of the park was left open for events and gatherings, and the historic railway line was preserved as a constant reminder of the site’s history (City of Vancou-ver, 2009). Today, Pioneer Place is the site in which the Survivors Totem Pole stands. Engraved in the base read the words, “Sing your song, friend. Tell your story. The map we inherited isn’t any good. The old roads mislead. We need a new map.” While totem poles usually tell the story of the First Nations history and lineage, “this pole is for everybody: it represents the resilience of everyone who has faced racism, colonialism, sexism, LGBTQ-bashing, gentrification and more” (Siebert, 2016).Pioneer Place is an example of how social equities are formed through the cre-ation or restoration of urban green spaces; when increasing wealth is favoured over the creation of community. As we move forward towards creating a more inclusive and just society, it’s essential that landscape architects, along with other planning professions and policymakers, are more critical of their designs’ social outcomes.0505R O L E  O F  L A N D S C A P E A R C H I T E C T U R E63Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscape architect, believed that urban spaces were essential for environmental protection and social cohesion. He recognized the health benefits—mental and physical—offered through these spaces, and their power to clean urban environments through processes like purification and filtration (Curran & Hamilton, 2018). Inspired by the Landscape Architecture Foundations’ 1966 Declaration of Concern, in 2016, hundreds of landscape architects gathered at the University of Pennsylvania, they crafted a new vision that reflected Olmsted’s ideologies for landscape architecture:Landscape architects are uniquely positioned to address complex social and ecological problems, We vow to create places that serve the high-er purpose of social and ecological justice for all peoples and all species (Landscape Architecture Foundation, 2016). Landscape architects are frequently viewed as stewards of this dying planet. However, with today’s economic, political, and social climate, landscape archi-tecture has become increasingly complex and diverse. The profession’s services and responsibilities to society have been a common theme throughout many dis-cussions; should social responsibilities take precedence over our commitment to the environment? The dynamics of landscape architecture practice are complex, and it’s entangled in a constant dialectic tension between nature and society—society in and of itself is so complex. How can a practice centred around clients and projects that mainly serve the economic elite’s interests uphold their vow to create spaces that are socially and ecologically just for all when practitioners are constrained? The following are strategies that landscape architects can use to address these tensions and combat gentrification. R E T H I N K I N G  T H E  P R A C T I C E64Design for equity and inclusion. Landscapes should not be designed for sustainability and beauty at the cost of social justice. Low-income communities don’t need large-scale projects that are picturesque and pristine. They’d benefit more from a green space designed in collaboration with residents and amenities that suited their lifestyle. These neighbourhoods are in need of safe green spaces to gather and heal, for rest and respite, and that can offer mental and physical health benefits. Instead of forcing sustainability and nature into the urban life-style, landscape architects must design better relationships between the city and nature and promote just relationships between them. It’s about creating spaces that are “just green enough” (Curran& Hamilton, 2018). This involves partic-ipatory design and planning; landscape architects have to listen to residents’ needs, especially those who have been historically excluded from decision-mak-ing processes. The solution is not to forfeit aesthetics or sacrifice environmental amenities or cleanup for social justice. It’s about redefining “green” and “to offer an alternative vision of what a remediated neighbourhood can look like” (Cur-ran & Hamilton, 2018, p. 6). Social equity of urban green space embraces both quantity and quality of the amenities; equitable distribution of high-quality green spaces within cities. The urban greening paradox can be avoided through equitable and inclusive design practice because gentrification is not inevitable.Collaborate, be leaders, and take a political stance. Landscape architects wear many hats by working in collaboration with engineers, planners, horticulturists, urban foresters, public artists, architects, and contractors. As much as it is an op-portunity to share knowledge between disciplines, it’s also a way landscape archi-tects can insert themselves into conversations and promote the concept of social responsibility. Practitioners need to get their hands dirty, take a political stance, 65and speak up. More often than is recognized, the landscape architect profession can advocate and influence public policies that create wealth for all. Education. Landscape architects build their foundation during their educational career. During these formative years, students build a bank of knowledge and skills that remain with them throughout their professional careers. Through school, they learn and develop a set of beliefs, ideas, and moral attitudes; it’s where concepts of social responsibility emerge. To design for social justice and equity, practitioners will require a better understanding of the subject matter so that they can be thoughtful and realistic with their designs. I believe that land-scape architecture programs should include courses on public administration, political science, community organizing, sociology, and geography, or at the very least, work these topics into existing courses.66Fig 20. The Elephant in the CitySource: Author (2021)0606D E S I G N  P R O P O S A LCOMMUNITYCOMFORT GATHER REST & RESPITE EDUCATION ENTERTAINMENT IDENTITYSAFETYKitchenFireplace Kitchen Table Chair Books Television Picture FramesLightingCOMMUNITYCOMFORT GATHER REST & RESPITE EDUCATION ENTERTAINMENT IDENTITYSAFETYKitchenFireplace Kitchen Table Chair Books Television Picture FramesLighting69Fig 21. The living roomSource: Author (2021)70urban adjectiveur· ban  |  \ ’er-ben1 : of, relating to, characteristic of, or constituting a cityliving room nounliv· ing rüm  |  \ ’li-viñ rüm1 : a room in a house or apartment for general and informal everyday use2 : Lebensraumlebensraum noun, often captializedle·bens·raum  |  \ ‘lā-benz-raüm1 : territory believed especially by Nazis to be necessary for national exis-tence or economic self sufficiency2 : space required for life, growth, or activityT H E  U R B A N  L I V I N G  R O O MEAST HASTINGS STREETMAIN STREETABBOTT STREET71Fig 22. Downtown Eatside site locationSource: Author (2021)EAST HASTINGS STREETMAIN STREETABBOT STREETSHELTERSSINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY (SRO)RESOURCES & HUBS72Fig 23. Site services and resourcesSource: Author (2021)73The following four principles will be integrated into the project in order to sup-port environmental justice:1.  It will promote equal distribution of resources such as clean air and open space2. It will be inclusive to all, allowing everyone to feel welcome and free from discrimination3. It will not accelerate neighbourhood gentrification or the displacement of people from their homes4. It will empower marginal users through spatial design and by providing amenities that are usable and accessible to all people P R I N C I P L E S  F O R  E N V I R O N M E N TA L  J U S T I C E74More than half of the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood’s population is considered low-income, with an average income of $13,691. Additionally, more than half of Vancouver’s unhoused population resides in the Downtown Eastside (City of Vancouver, 2020b). As a result, public spaces in the Downtown East-side, such as streetscapes and parks, are most frequented by unhoused individu-als. Studies show that many unhoused individuals opt to camp in public spaces because of the environmental factors of shelters and single room occupancy ho-tels; it threatens their sense of freedom, autonomy, and dignity (Dooling, 2009). On the other hand, living in urban green spaces provides unhoused individuals an opportunity to create homes of their own and to feel that sense of home. With that said, people living unhoused in public spaces is persistently viewed as a social problem. The City has tried everything from introducing bylaws to using soft control design elements to deter unhoused individuals from living in urban green spaces, however, nothing has really proven successful. Unhoused individ-uals are excluded from public parks often based on two rationals: discomfort at viewing the circumstances of unhoused individuals and fear of violent crimes. The first reason has no moral standing. However, fear of crime can be viewed as a sense of self-preservation, but facts do not support this fear. There is more evidence that shows people living unhoused are a vulnerable population than a threatening one.Recognizing the challenges that these individuals encounter, as well as the deep-seated need many of them share for a sense of home, I propose an urban living room along East Hastings Street. There are three primary functions this space encompasses, which reflect the functions of a living room.H O W  D I D  T H I S  C O M E  T O  B E ?75Provides a place to be. It is a landscape of framed rooms, a space where individ-uals can earn money, rest, obtain food, find enjoyment, and ultimately survive. These spaces are multifunctional, and the flexibility allows users to construct, reconstruct, and give meaning to their social and physical worlds. Such places, in essence, become a home in the public space. In addition to providing a “home”, re-appropriation of public spaces makes visible the common desire for home and can also be used to expose the normalcy, as opposed to presumed deviance, of homeless individuals. Improves and harnesses feelings of safety. Home is often described as a haven or refuge meaning it is safe, secure, comfortable, private, and exclusive. Varied openness of site lines and separation between the spaces on site will provide a sense of safety and comfort. Safety will also be achieved through the reclamation of the city’s street for pedestrian use. East Hastings Street has been recorded as having the most pedestrian collisions resulting in injury or fatality within all of British Columbia. The highest number of pedestrian collisions in all of BC is at Main and Hastings Street, with 32 accidents. The third highest number of pedestrian collisions is at Abbott and Hastings Street, with 18 accidents. The current speed limit on Hasting’s street is 30 km/hr and this is plastered on every block, however the width of the street supports and encourages drivers to speed. Fosters relationships and leads to a greater sense of community. Shelters and single room occupancy hotels afford and compound the social isolation which is at the core of homelessness. Therefore, this space is a place to do things at or to hang out in. It provides a gathering place where life can be less boring and can be made easier by access to spaces that supports connections and relationships.D E S I G N  F U N C T I O NH A S T I N G S  S T R E E TG R E AT E R  T H A N  T H I RT YF I F T E E N  T O  T H R I T YN I N E  T O  F O U RT E E NF O U R  T O  E I G H TO N E  T O  T H R E E76Fig 24. Site Analysis: Pedestrian collisions between 2015-2019Source: Author (2021)ROLLING HILLSMARKET PLACETHE LOUNGEREADING ROOMTHE GALLERYOPEN SPACESEATING STEPSWORKSPACELONG TABLEFOOD DISTRIBUTIONAbbott StreetAbbott StreetCarrall SteetColumbia StreetMain Street77ROLLING HILLSMARKET PLACETHE LOUNGEREADING ROOMTHE GALLERYOPEN SPACESEATING STEPSWORKSPACELONG TABLEFOOD DISTRIBUTIONAbbott StreetAbbott StreetCarrall SteetColumbia StreetMain Street78Fig 25. Site elevation and programmingSource: Author (2021)79Block 01 is located between Abbott Street and Carrall Street. This block is lined with several single room occupancy hotels, retail stores, restaurants, as well as a park and urban farm. Large groups of people often congregate in two areas along the block: the first area is the market adjacent to the urban farm, and the second is at Pigeon Park, a small triangular plot located on then northwest corner of East Hastings Street and Carrall Street. Pigeon Park has long been far more than just a green space—it’s also been a crucial stage for protest and rallies. This park has a long history of being a space for community expression. Every year, the annual Women’s Memorial March stops in Pigeon Park. The march takes place every Valentine’s Day since 1991 to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women. On the opposite side of the park, is Hastings Urban Farm, a half acre of garden beds that provides food for the Downtown Eastide Neighbourhood House. The farm provides an opporunity for community members to learn about garden-ing, while connecting with others in a greenspace. The organizations vision is “to provide a dignified welcoming space that creates and supports an improved quality of life for the DTES community” (Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, n.d.).With that said, in order to compliment the organization’s vision and the com-munity’s current use of the space, the design will provide opportunities for residents to meaningfully engage with their community and provide a platform to express themselves. B L O C K  0 1  C O N T E X TSINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY HOTELSINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY HOTELSINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY HOTELHASTINGS URBAN FARMMARKET80Fig 26. Block 01 AxoSource: Author (2021)81Fig 27. Long table perspectiveSource: Author (2021)82The long table is the heart of the block, much like the kitchen is the gathering place in many homes. It is meant to stimulate communication, interpretation, and collaboration. Like a kitchen table, it’s far more than a flat surface upon which to dine. The simple and informal structure allows for a range of social nuances, whether that be related to communal eating or staging public conver-sations, it’s a strategy for engaging the public through the everyday. It’s a place to gather, to talk, and to reconnect. It’s an intimate space, allowing individuals to sit closer to one another or to sit face-to-face. Like the kitchen table, it can be used for writing or as a surface to lay possessions on. In addition, a vehicle loading zone is adjacent to the table. Many organizations, private enterprises, and individuals are often seen distributing meals and oth-er goods to vulernable residents within the Downtown Eastside. A designated distribution zone will increase safety by redirecting pedestrians onto the sidewalk and provides a parking spot for vehicles to pull over off of the main road. T H E  L O N G  TA B L E83Fig 28. Seating steps perspectiveSource: Author (2021)84These amphitheater-like seating steps encourages creativity, connection, and flexibility. The steps play both a dynamic and static role, stimulating movement, encouraging passive seating, and fostering a sense of community. Located front and centre, the reclaimed timber staircase at Pigeon Park is a hangout—a place to eat lunch, chat, rally, and perform. It invites spontaneous interaction and provides casual seating, it can also be used as place to nap. Equally important and universal is people watching; one person’s activity is another person’s visual entertainment. This staircase is a platform which offers the opportunity to play dual roles of the observer and observed. The staircase has been fitted with a mirror on east end, as many of these vulnera-ble individuals do not have access to them. It is also conveniently located outside the bathroom at Pigeon Park. S E AT I N G  S T E P S85Block 02 is located between Carrall Street and Columbia Street. Unlike the other two blocks, this one is quieter and less frequented. It is mostly lined with single room occupancy hotels, other residences, and convenience stores. Since this area is quieter, the objective is to maintain that and provide a place for rest and reflection which are few and far between especially along Hastings Street. The Downtown Eastside is threatened by the erection of tall office buildings and exclusive luxury apartments. Hastings Street has been taken over by trucks and cars and the consequent fumes and noise. Therefore, dedicating areas for rest is important as it’ll allow residents to relax and reflect, which consequently reduces the stress of city life. The gallery and reading room are spaces that facilitates reflection; to remember, recall, and retell the moments of their lives that stand out to them as important, unique, or meaningful.  B L O C K  0 2SINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY HOTELSINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY HOTELSHELTER86Fig 29. Block 02 Axo Source: Author (2021)87Fig 30. Gallery perspectiveSource: Author (2021)88The gallery is located in the centre of the block between the open space and reading room.  This space serves two purposes: first, it’s a platform for indi-vidual expression, and secondly, serves as an educational platform. The gallery is a living lab. The feature is didactic in nature and extends opportunities for teaching and learning in the public realm. Community members will be able to share their stories and express themselves on blank canvases. They can express themselves through poems, stories, songs, or art. It is in this sort of non directed setting that the public can gain the most intimate knowledge of this vulnerable population by seeing and reading about their circumstances and their triumphs, failures, or daily indignities. Like a gallery or museum, this space offers a way to de-stress, whether that be through expression or through reflection and interpretation of the work. This space engages the community, fosters deeper understanding, and promotes the enjoyment and sharing of culture, history, and heritage. T H E  G A L L E RY89Fig 31. Reading room perspectiveSource: Author (2021)90Many unhoused individuals don’t have access to books because a government issued identification with a permeant address is required to attain a library card. Additionally, vulnerable individuals may feel unwelcomed or out of place, which can also deter them from using the public library. Therefore, the reading room is essentially a community library with books, bookshelves, nooks, areas for rest, and tables. It is a place for books, a place for gathering, a place for sharing, bonding, and community, and it is a place that encourages literacy and reading. It also functions as a neighbourhood book exchange. The idea is that someone will take a book that piques their interest, and sometime in the future return with the same book or a different one; take a book, leave a book. This promotes literacy and general neighbourliness, and cultivates a spirit of generosity. R E A D I N G  R O O M91The third and final block is the busiest as it lies between Columbia Street and Main Street. This block is lined with most essential services and amenities including restaurants, bars, convenience stores, single room occupancy hotels, other residential buildings, career services, a safe injection site, a pharmacy, and the Carnegie Community Centre. It is also a transportation hub, as several buses stop here along their routes. Like Pigeon Park, the intersection of East Hastings Street and Main Street is of-ten the setting for rallies and protests. This intersection is constantly frequented by people at all hours of the day. The needs of this community are evident in the way they use the sidwalks—walk, shop, eat, sell, chat, sit, look, and rest. Many individuals can be seen sitting and sleeping on the sidewalk or selling items that they’ve laid out along the sidewalk. That being said, the spaces located along this block are geared towards spaces for lounging and selling goods. B L O C K  0 3  C O N T E X TCAREER SERVICESINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY HOTELSINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY HOTELSRO HOTELSINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY HOTELSAFE INJECTION S ITESRO HOTEL92Fig 32. Block 03 AxoSource: Author (2021)93Fig 33. Lounge perspectiveSource: Author (2021)94Seating in public spaces are often uncomfortable, but it’s carefully designed so. Every detail—from the hard material to the useless arm rests—is intentional and to ensure that users get the rest they need without getting too comfortable. It discourages people from loitering or even taking a nap on a public perch. These soft control design elements are inteded to regulate public behaviour and to prevent unwaranted behaviour. On that note, the lounge will provide the public with a more comfortable area for rest, and by doing so, it will also free up the sidewalk for pedestrians. The hammocks are shaded by adjacent trees for those hot summer and rainy winter days. The structure is built using scaffolding, a durable yet inexpensive material. T H E  L O U N G E95Fig 34. Market place perspectiveSource: Author (2021)96Factors related to the labor market contribute to the struggles of finding em-ployment. Therefore, many of these individuals have found unconventional ways to make money, and that includes selling goods that have found and or created. This informal and flexible structure can be used in many different ways, and it allows for creativity. The cables above mimic a clothes line, and is multi-functional, it can be used to hang items on, or used as a bulletin board to hang posters of events and/or services. The structure can also be used to create a camp by hanging a tarp on the scaffolding. The table tops are similar to standing bars, encouraging socialization and communication. It unctions as a place to eat and a platorm to lay their goods on. M A R K E T  P L A C E07C O N C L U S I O N“There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.”- Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities100Landscapes designed for aesthetics and environmental sustainability at the cost of social justice is deeply normalized but must continue to be critiqued and challenged. Environmental gentrification is a systemic issue we must collectively address today as it displaces economically vulnerable residents and widens social inequities. The research in this area provides essential insights into how powerful elitists use urban landscapes to increase wealth amongst the upper-class.The fact is that urban revitilization is inevitable and cities will continue to devel-op and change, but change does not have to result in gentrification; it’s a matter of environmental justice, and enviornmental justice is expressed in the land-scape as equitable design. As the designers of cities, neighbourhoods, and places, landscape architects have an incredible capability to shape human experiences. With that in mind, the onus is on landscape architects to design places that incorporate environmental justice and that do not accelerate or contribute to the process of gentrification. If sustainable development is to truly address social equity, economic growth, and environmental sustainability, then the profession of landscape architects must take an active role to design, advocate, and influ-ence policies for inclusive spaces. Landscape architecture is not the solution, but it can be apart of it. It will require the collective effort of public officials, policy-makers, designers, planners, educators, and consumers to de-gentrify cities—and even then, cities will never go back to how they were.C O N C L U S I O N0808B I B L I O G R A P H Y103Anderson, R. J. (1993). Sharks and red herrings: Vancouver’s male employment agencies, 1898-1915. BC Studies, 98(98), 43.Anguelovski, I., Connolly, J. J., & Brand A. L. (2018a). From landscapes of utopia to the margins of the green urban life. City, 22(3), 417-436. doi:10.1080/13604813.2018.1473126Anguelovski, I., Connolly, J. J., Garcia-Lamarca, M., Cole, H., & Pearsall, H. (2019). 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