Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Built (Page 1 of 9)

Causeway-related surveys in the field

Postcard invitations being sent to those living within about 4 km of each causeway.

Over the next couple of weeks, residents living near the Petitcodiac River causeway (partially replaced with the Honourable Brenda Robertson Bridge) in New Brunswick and the Avon River causeway in Nova Scotia will receive post cards from my lab. PhD student Keahna Margeson is running a study to understand peoples’ experiences and perceptions of changes to the causeways, tidal gates, and rivers over the years. If you get one of these in your mailbox, and you have 10-15 minutes to spare, we would be very grateful to hear from you. 

Addendum April 8th: These postcards have gone out to those on mail routes within–or that touch–a 4 km buffer of each causeway site. Mail routes in rural areas can be quite large. With Canada Post Admail we cannot control the outer edge of the distribution, and so you may have received the postcard even at a significant distance from a causeway site, but we are still very interested to hear from you. Many thanks for your support.

Halifax mystery

C. N. R. Bridges, Jun., 1968 (102-39-1-1280.6) – HRM Archives

I am working on a digital photography project right now associated with a sabbatical course at NSCAD, and spent a chunk of the weekend looking through the HRM Archives for images around my neighbourhood to use in repeat photography. In a fond of images called C.N.R. Bridges–taken to track infrastructure issues around the city for what seem like long-standing disputes around responsibility–came the above intriguing and quite shocking image from 1968. Can anyone help me figure out where this was taken? Do you know anything about the monkey?

New empirical paper in Ecosystem Services

Fig. 1. Building the case: the intersecting ways that ES was used to elevate the status of environmental considerations in urban planning and policy.

The first of Kate Thompson’s empirical IDPhD papers is out this week in Ecosystem Services, Building the case for protecting urban nature: How urban planners use the ideas, rhetoric, and tools of ecosystem services science. Based on interviews with urban planners in Greater Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax Regional Municipality, Kate and her committee describe how conceptual, strategic and instrumental use differ in the tasks to which they are put as well as who is using them (see above).

Bikes, buses, trams and trains

My bike started with a mushy back tire but I enjoyed my tour along the polders.

I have embraced bicycle and public transit during my stay in Wageningen. Dutch bike lanes never disappear and leave you wondering where you belong, and the landscape is relatively flat and kind to those unused to the saddle. On Thursday I rented a bike and visited some nearby sites such as Doorwerth Castle.

Ellen and I in Nijmegen

On Friday I toured by bus, tram and train around some nearby towns like Arnhem, Nijmegen and Amsterdam to do some visiting but also see the landscape. A big highlight, personally and professionally, was seeing former MES Ellen Chappell who is now doing her PhD at Radboud University in Nijmegen, and walking with her to the famous  Making Room for the River project that was completed there a decade ago. The Waal River would often overspill its banks in the tight curve near the city, and so landscape architects retreated a dyke 250 metres into the town of Lent on the opposite shore, and created a river by-pass to store more water that required 50 houses to be relocated (as per Edelenbos et al., 2015).  What you can see below are houses that survived that process, now on an island joined to the towns by 3 new bridges, with the original channel on the right and the new channel on the left. And what houses they are!

The Room for the River project on the Waal River, between Lent and Nijmegen, the original channel to the right

The new Waal channel, dug to Make Room for the River at Nijmegen

Christmas in Australia

This site-based history caught my eye in Sydney . What an interesting idea, to reveal previous (tho largely settler) iterations of the city this way!

As the winter term starts, there is not a lot of time for me to spend reflecting on my wonderful Christmas holiday in Australia. A few landscape highlights are in order, however, so I will paste a few of them below.

One thing I saw that I particularly wanted to highlight here was the above plaque in Sydney. I’m always interested in landscape change, and this is the first time I’ve seen this kind of public record of past land uses of a particular site. In rural contexts, past landscape versions are usually still legible in later iterations, but in cities that is not the case, so making it explicit in this way feels interesting. I don’t know whose decision it was, but I didn’t notice any others.

This plaque reminds me of a great radio documentary by Craig Desson and Acey Rowe I heard on CBC a few years ago, called “Whose Condo Is It, Anyway?” (54 mins, a related CBC First Person article is here). Desson bought a condo and found himself wondering if he really owned it, and tracked all previous recorded uses of his land parcel, and ended up questioning the whole idea of ownership in a treaty context.

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