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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Future suburban forests in a changing climate : an approach for integrated planning and design in compact communities Barron, Sara

Abstract

North American suburban landscapes are facing critical pressures such as climate change, increasing human health concerns, and loss of biodiversity and habitat. Suburban forests are a critical component of these landscapes and can help face these pressures in a number of ways. The emerging field of urban forestry is producing research that can inform policy and practice to design and plan for future forests in human landscapes. The field currently lacks tested approaches to holistically integrate the complex multiple factors involved with future planning. This study explores a new framework for a scenario-based approach incorporating a design process to examine potential solutions to these complex problems in a holistic way for suburban forests. A Canadian case study was used to develop and evaluate this framework approach combining multiple methods. Within this approach, future scenarios were used to explore suburban forest configurations in an already compact community through the lens of addressing three major critical pressures. This process was informed by participants representing a range of knowledge groups, including academics, practitioners, and local residents. Indicators and preferences elicited from these diverse participants suggested design directions for the emerging scenarios. During the process, each of the knowledge groups acknowledged some aspects of the indicators and preferences, but all missed something that others prioritized. Four scenarios were produced with distinctly different objectives and suburban forest retrofit configurations within the case study compact community. The scenarios were then assessed with a suite of tools and quantitative and qualitative methods, drawn from within the field of urban forestry and from other disciplines. Through informing, designing, and assessing the scenario set, the research found that there is potential for the performance of suburban forests to be enhanced within already dense built environments, and that a range of options exists for doing this. The combination of methods used in this study provide a holistic approach to support such planning and decision-making processes. The framework provides guidance on configurations and variables for suburban forest design and planning in the face of the critical pressures described above.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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