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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessing urban brownfields for community gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia Iverson, Melissa Ann


In Vancouver, British Columbia, community gardens are in great demand, but community groups interested in establishing gardens on urban brownfields face several environmental barriers. Identifying and addressing issues related to soil quality and microclimate suitability pose particular challenges. The goal of this study is to aid community groups in overcoming these obstacles through the development of a three-phase Site Assessment Guide. The guide aims to help communities: 1) identify likelihood of soil contamination, 2) assess soil and microclimate quality, and 3) select appropriate management solutions. Interpretive indicators for assessment were selected from trials on three study sites and feedback from soils workshop participants. To ensure accuracy and credibility, interpretive methods were evaluated against corresponding laboratory-based methods. Another outcome of the community workshops was the desire of local gardening communities to learn more about their native landscape and soil. An interpretive map of soil management groups for the City of Vancouver was derived using generalized surficial geology and Google-based topographic maps to produce a “terrain” map. The resulting map of soil management groups in the previously unmapped City of Vancouver is incorporated into the site assessment guide for converting brownfields to community gardens, with opportunity for future expansion.

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