UBC Graduate Research

Revisioning Fire : A study on cultural burning and fire settlement planning Van Vugt, Théo


In this thesis, I examine the impact fires have had on Canadian communities as a result of climate change and discuss a new form of settlement design that addresses this crisis and offers an efficient solution to community displacement. The history of Canada has marked a departure from and erasure of Indigenous teachings about the regenerative properties of fire and the benefits of working with fire to promote healthier land. Instead, the prevalent mindset extensively deals with fire as something destructive that should be avoided and prevented in all cases. Shifting Canada’s outlook back towards the practice of entertaining fire’s regenerative properties offers a solution to the devastation of wildfires. The proposed new form of settlement design will employ elements of current fire-management design, cultural burning, and a study of local plants’ relationships with fire to help future wildfire prevention and response within the designated community. Taking inspiration from my case studies of the Apete Villages of Brazil, the Camera Botanica of Ian Weir, and the different plants of British Columbia that engage with fire, I developed a six stage process to create a settlement in a fire-prone region of British Columbia. Utilising a combination of quick deployment structures and prefabricated “pods”, a new settlement can take root in wildfire areas as soon as the fires die out. This allows the community to aid in the regrowth of the ecosystem, and provide potentially displaced survivors with new housing quickly. As the community grows, fire management techniques are paired with housing additions to create a community that works together to protect the region, pairing regrowth of community with regrowth of the individual.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International