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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Strathcona wetlands : engaged ecology in Vancouver’s inner city Tracey, David


This project explores the potential to create wilderness in urban areas through design. It uses one small inner-city site to look at the larger picture of how we might bridge the gap between nature and development to create more livable cities while also enhancing the environment. Research into past notions on the loss of nature-based experiences in cities led to a hypothesis that people need "wilderness," or "place where the wild is found,"' no matter where they live. Vancouver's inner-city area known us the "Downtown Eastside" was selected for a design location as it is an urbanized district bearing the brunt of the city's social problems. It also contains an innovative community-managed park site with a "wild habitat" zone which the site's managers presently consider unsuccessful. Analysis at the regional (city), local (district) and site (park) levels establishes the foundations on which an effective urban wilderness site might be designed. Design criteria are introduced to judge the proposed intervention, creating a template which could be applied as well to future proposals on this or other sites. Finally, a design for the site is proposed to I) increase the diversity and population of wildlife by enhancing and adding habitat areas including a year-round wetland 2) provide nature-based opportunities for more people by transforming areas presently used for street-involved illegal activity and 3) highlight the site's importance in a habitat link from the shoreline at False Creek through built areas of East Vancouver.

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