UBC Graduate Research

Reconstructing The Commons : Temporary Living Infrastructure in Squamish, BC Harper, Benham


Reconstructing The Commons looks at the visibility of vehicle dwelling and the shrinking space available for “wild camping”. The project proposes creating a network of temporary living spaces empowering the remnant memories of communal use in the landscape. Using the town of Squamish as a test case, the recreational capital of Canada contends with a collision of many elements. Dealing with residents priced out of the community, a NIMBY mentality, and seasonal campers swell populations, the town has been forced to take steps to manage vehicle dwellers, whose numbers explode and overrun it in the summer months. A microcosm of a larger conversation surrounding property, and the right to belong, this thesis imagines a series of accommodations for the valley’s informal residents. Pushing for the evolution of the dispersed camps around the town, the project explores how investment into sites of informal occupation can transform problematic overused areas into a positive opportunity for inclusion into the community. Empowering our right to roam, the project seeks to balance the needs of different users in the local landscape.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International