A class of university landscape architecture students is using Squamish as its research grounds for the pupils’ final projects.
In consultation with students, the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) faculty picked the District of Squamish as its case study location for this year. The municipality was chosen based on its diverse land-use and natural areas, Prof. Cynthia Girling said.
“We have students who are interested in natural systems, ecosystems and ‘greening’ infrastructure,” she said.
The Master of Landscape Architecture program completed research in Squamish many years ago, Girling said, but this is the first time SALA has picked it as the spot for graduating students’ projects. Students’ research touches on everything from natural restoration of the Upper Mamquam Blind Channel to community connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians.
The pupils’ design work starts in January and ends in April, Girling said. The research is often used by municipalities to help the community envision what’s possible, she said, noting it’s the first step in the planning process.
The students are excited that their studies could have a positive impact on the community, Girling said.
“Their work isn’t just put away,” she noted.
District officials met with students on Sept. 13, presenting an overview of the town’s recreational, infrastructure and economic needs, along with its history, municipal planner Sabina Foofat said. The group then toured the community.
“There was interest in the oceanfront, of course,” she added.
The students’ work can be dovetailed into the district’s projects and used in grant applications, Foofat said. District officials will act as resources for the pupils and will help evaluate the final projects.
“We are quite excited about [the initiative],” she said.
In previous years, the district collaborated with Langara College students, who completed a review study of the Mamquam Blind Channel, Foofat said.