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Re-thinking Urban Vacancies: Strategic Re-use of Vacant Land to Establish More Sustainable Land Patterns

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Title: Re-thinking Urban Vacancies: Strategic Re-use of Vacant Land to Establish More Sustainable Land Patterns
Author: Gatner, Monique R.
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Landscape Architecture
Advisor: Corry, Robert
Abstract: Eighty percent of the Canadian population lives in urban centres, where typical land use patterns negatively impact urban ecosystems and decrease quality of life. Current municipal Community Improvement Plans target urban vacancies for intensification efforts, which can increase fragmentation and degradation of the urban ecosystem. This project examines the urban environment: its vacancies, ecological patterns and human impacts. A strategy was derived from ecological principles aiming to design more sustainable urban landscape patterns. Applied to the Two Rivers neighbourhood in Guelph, Ontario, the strategy identified 19.5 hectares of land capable of contributing to more sustainable ecological patterns of which 12.41 hectares were brownfields. Results revealed 4.3% more high-quality land cover, in 53% more patches, 45 m closer together, but with increasing edge contrast. An area-wide strategic integration of vacant lands may provide previously unconsidered opportunities to improve urban ecological patterns and create a more sustainable urban environment.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3688
Date: 2012-05
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