WALLED OFF: Re-imagining the Stanley Park Coastline

We’re excited to share the master’s thesis of our newest staff member Ali Canning.
Ali, a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia’s Master of Landscape Architecture program, was invited by the City of Vancouver to present this thesis to the Park Board.

Ali Canning - Thesis : Re-imagining the Stanley Park Coastline

WALLED OFF: Re-imagining the Stanley Park Coastline
Thesis Project: Ali Canning

With the need to adapt to changing climates and emphasis on protecting valuable coastal habitats, this thesis researches ways in which Vancouver can reimagine its connection to the marine environment. Intertidal landscapes provide disproportionately high levels of ecosystem services, making coastal and estuarine landscapes some of the most valuable on earth. However, our city is currently divided from its aquatic habitats with the beloved, but environmentally damaging seawall. Created to protect Stanley Park from erosion, the seawall is an iconic symbol of Vancouver with millions of people coming to visit it each year. However, rising tides and increasingly frequent storm events threaten its integrity and require constant maintenance and repair. With environmental pressures growing and future predictions calling for a new coastal adaption strategy, there is an opportunity to reimagine the interface between land and sea and increase resiliency within the park. Using design solutions based in both ecology and social awareness, landscape architecture can be used to redesign shoreline areas into multifunctional landscapes that restore marine habitat, are resilient to future change, and provide a place for people to reconnect with our oceans.

Due to its high vulnerability to storm events and inland flooding, the final design focuses on the landscape from Ferguson Point to Second Beach. A dynamic park is created allowing users to explore island marsh boardwalks, meander through sand dunes and investigate tide pools. With an integrated nature house and varying trail networks, this project creates a stimulating landscape that strengthens our relationship with the coastal environment we treasure.

Read the full dissertation

Ali Canning - Thesis Ali Canning - Thesis : Re-imagining the Stanley Park Coastline Ali Canning - Thesis