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‘Design With Nature’ to Create Liveable Communities

Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature: “We aim to find out more about how Sheffield’s natural environment can improve the health & wellbeing of city residents” – Dr Anna Jorgensen, Lead Researcher


“My research interests focus around the ways in which different people experience, interact with, understand and represent landscape; and the desire to see a more holistic and environmentally friendly approach to planning and designing urban greenspace and green structure,” stated Anna Jorgensen. “My aim is often to challenge professional ideas about what might be publicly acceptable, and to test/explore established theoretical frameworks from different academic disciplines that are relevant to my field of enquiry.”

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“A core message of restorative development is that we can decrease our destructive footprint while at the same time increasing our restorative footprint,” stated Storm Cunningham, author of The Restoration Economy & global thought leader


“During the last two decades of the twentieth century, we failed to notice a turning point of immense significance,” wrote Storm Cunningham. “New development – the development mode that has dominated the past three centuries – lost significant ‘market share’ to another mode:restorative development. How could we miss a story like that? The major driver of economic growth in the twenty-first century will be redeveloping our nations, revitalizing our cities, and rehabilitating and expanding our ecosystems.”

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OPINION PIECE: “British Columbia is one of the last places on the planet where it is still possible to transcend the climate debate and create a better world,” wrote Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair, Water Security, United Nations University (Vancouver Sun, September 2018)


“This past summer (2018), if you wanted to know what climate change will mean to your future, all you had to do was be outside to see what is to come. The entire Northern Hemisphere was impacted by extreme weather – drought, forest fires or flooding,” wrote Bob Sandford. “BC is at a moment of truth. Will BC adapt? Water defines B.C., and the rhythms of water are changing. We have the knowledge and tools to restore balance to the water cycle. Can we, will we? Most importantly, will we get it right?”

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“Sometimes the scale of change seems overwhelming. But little changes, carried out by a lot of people is a positive move in the right direction as we adapt to living on a changing world,” says Bob McDonald, host of Quirks & Quarks on CBC Radio, on commenting on a new report from the Intact Centre titled Too Small to Fail


“The biggest contributor to flooding is the fact that excess water from heavy storms has nowhere to go,” wrote Bob McDonald. “As our urban areas grow, we have covered what was once porous forest floor or plant-covered land with pavement, sidewalks, driveways and patios. One solution is to make the urban landscape more porous, so the water can sink into the ground rather than accumulate on the streets and in basements. It is a harsh reality that we need to adapt to a changing planet.”

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Kus-kus-sum Restoration on the Courtenay River on Vancouver Island: K’omoks First Nation, City of Courtenay and Project Watershed Make History for Greener Planet


“Restoring this cultural and historically significant site is a vision KFN shares with Project Watershed and the City of Courtenay. KFN’s interest in the site is largely based on its strong cultural significance,” stated Chief Councillor Nicole Remple, K’omoks First Nation. “Being stewards of the lands and waters, it is inherently our duty to restore and assist in the rehabilitation of the natural habitat of the salmon and various marine and wildlife in this area. It is our hope for the future that our skilled Guardian Watchmen participate in the restoration and maintenance of the site for our future generations.”

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TOO SMALL TO FAIL: Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation reports that smaller scale, agile efforts to limit flood risk using green infrastructure can collectively contribute to ensuring the resiliency of communities (November 2018)


“Partnerships and community engagement can significantly contribute to the success of a project. There are many ways in which a partner can add value to a project, such as through providing scientific expertise or having a significant level of influence and leadership in a community,” stated Dana Decent. “Engaging local stakeholders is critical, as they are the ones who are directly impacted by floods in an area. Continual engagement of stakeholders can result in greater widespread support.”

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THE RESTORATION ECONOMY: “During the last two decades of the twentieth century, new development lost significant ‘market share’ to another mode: restorative development,” wrote Storm Cunningham, author & futurist (2002)


“How could we miss a story like that? More importantly, why is it happening? Primarily, it’s because we’ve now developed most of the world that can be developed without destroying some other inherent value or vital function,” wrote Storm Cunningham. “The major driver of economic growth in the 21st century will be redeveloping our nations, revitalizing our cities, and rehabilitating and expanding our ecosystems. Those leaders who become aware of this vast new frontier of opportunity, and guide their community, national, and company futures in this direction, will be the foremost leaders of the 21st century.”

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Restored stream to be central feature of Ford plant site’s redevelopment in St. Paul – “This is an opportunity to envision what a 21st-century community is,” says Tom Fisher, director of the Minnesota Design Center


Ford’s Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota opened in 1925 to build Model Ts in a state-of-the-art facility powered by a hydroelectric dam on the Mississippi River. When the last vehicle rolled off its line in 2011, it was Ford’s oldest factory. Today, all that remains is an expansive tract of bare land. But the site is poised for a dramatic rebirth into a dense mixed-use neighborhood designed to be a showpiece of energy efficiency, smart design, ecological stormwater management, and enlightened economic development.

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“The mottos of the sponge city are: Retain, adapt, slow down and reuse,” stated Kongjian Yu, the landscape architect who has transformed some of China’s most industrialized cities into standard bearers of green architecture


“One thing I learned is to slow down the process of drainage. All the modern industrial techniques and engineering solution is to drain water away after the flood as fast of possible. So, modern tech is to speed up the drainage but ancient wisdom, which has adapted in the monsoonal season, was to slow down the drainage so the water will not be destructive anymore. By slowing the water it can nurture the habitat and biodiversity,” stated Konjian Yu.

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What do Boise, Idaho and London, England have in common? – These Urban Cities Are Investing In Smart And Green Infrastructure


Boise uses geothermal energy to heat more than six million square feet of downtown building space, about 90 buildings and is the largest-direct-use system in the United States. “Sustainability for us is all about the triple bottom line – community, economy and environment,” said Boise Mayor David Bieter . “Being green is important, but only if those changes can become part of the very fabric of who we are as a community, how our local businesses prosper and grow, and how we protect those key elements that make Boise such a special place to call home.”

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