UBC Undergraduate Research

Sustainable landscapes at UBC : an environmental and social sustainability assessment of UBC Vancouver’s stormwater terraces using the SITES v2 Rating System and the UBC community’s input Chauhan, Swinzle; Chu, Eva; Kuang, Cheng; Wong, Brandon


UBC has an expansive landscape and would like to know the degree to which the existing landscapes meet the landscape sustainability criteria developed by The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES). The landscape assessed in this project is the stormwater terraces at UBC’s Vancouver Point Grey Campus, which replaced a parking lot in 2013. Located near the heart of campus, it is also important to capture the thoughts and opinions of the UBC community on the stormwater terraces to reflect its social sustainability. The stormwater terraces are assessed for 1) environmental sustainability based on relevant Water and Soil & Vegetation criteria found in the SITES v2 Rating System from the Sustainable Sites Initiative program and for 2) social sustainability via a questionnaire completed by fifty randomly selected UBC community members in the vicinity of the terraces. The stormwater terraces do not meet most of the relevant Water criteria largely due to the lack of a site maintenance plan and the additional potable water usage (for maintenance and continuous flow) but they do meet the relevant Soil & Vegetation criteria. Should SITES certification be pursued for future UBC landscapes, it is recommended that projects follow SITES guidelines from start to finish and that maintenance plans be developed and followed (to document activities and improve communication between various working departments). The UBC community generally views the presence of the stormwater terraces as a positive aspect of campus, despite its use of extra potable water. Feasible recommendations to improve the social perceptions of the feature as suggested by the UBC community include reducing the amount of visible cement, making the anti-skateboarding ridges less obvious/obtrusive to sitting/lying in the area, and changing the shape of water funneling flutes in the terraces. Additional landscape assessments in the future would help to further the understanding of how UBC landscapes measure against the benchmark landscape sustainability criteria of SITES.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada