Ciphers is a book of aerial studies of urban development by photographer/filmmaker Christoph Gielen. Beautiful, alluring, and incredibly geometric, each motif contains hidden code of a time when growth was unlimited. A time when bigger was better and drive till you qualify seemed to make sense. Gielen’s images are provocative, revealing how well-minded plans have become wasteful and force in-efficient ways of living. Can the photograph call attention to a new type of zoning, particularly one unleashed from auto-dependency?
Back on the ground, and left with some difficult constraints in our existing built form, an Active Neighbourhoods Canada pilot project is trying to “better” what we have built. The aim is to link patterns of urban development with mobility options and community connectivity. Started by the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre, and furthered by Sustainable Calgary and the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, these pilots will be working at the opposite end of the aerial photograph, on the ground. Ryan Martinson and Celia Lee share what’s behind the Calgary pilot, and why they’re starting with neighbours and residents of a community.
Les Jardins de Metis (International Garden Festival) is a contemporary garden design competition started in 2000. Landscape architect Ken Smith framed a valley, while Claude Cormier planted his blue sticks. Alexander Reford, the Director of the Jardins de Metis / Reford Gardens, reveals the history behind the gardens and what this competition can do to deepen our understanding of our landscape.
One of the winning entries of this year’s garden festival was Afterburn, a design of charred posts and post-fire plantings by Civilian Projects. Exploring the relationship of the forest fire in the lifecycle of a forest, Ksenia Kagner and Nicko Elliott’s design is a provocative take on how nature renews itself. The ecologies are inter-dependent. The destruction of the forest is regenerated.