Fraser River Delta Collaborative


The Fraser River Delta Collaborative is a funded design-research project is initiated by UBC CAL in collaboration with principals of four Vancouver-based landscape architecture design firms. Each summer, there are four research internships available for students to gain professional skills, as well as to help develop methods, processes, and projects related to coastal adaptation in the region. This model not only strengthens academia-practice relationships, but also provides a platform to foreground how communities can adapt to uncertain climate futures using certain planning and design approaches.

The FRDC aims to shift the discussion around sea level rise adaptation from one primarily seen as an engineering challenge, to one centred on the possibilities of design to address issues of spatial justice, resilience, and multifunctional landscapes. In doing so, research outcomes aim to inform residents and decision-makers how sea level rise may impact the built environment, and how integrated design approaches and spatial interventions can address issues related flooding.

Key research questions include: How can designers support planners and decision-makers in both the analysis and generation of a complete range of potential adaptation strategies to sea level rise, both in the short and long-term? Can we develop adaptation strategies that improve safety, spatial quality, and ecosystem services? How can we leverage community and stakeholder participation in order to increase public support for these multi-benefit adaptation strategies and investments? And lastly, how do we plan and design for an uncertain future?

In 2022, the work by the FRDC was recognized by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects with a Award for Excellence in Research. The jury applauds “the collective work of four landscape firms and academia that undertook this very serious body of work. This research conveys multiple landscape-based design strategies, solutions, and ideas to promote natural restoration initiatives and to challenge every aspect of how climate change will affect the sea level rise in the Fraser River Delta. Covering a very large territory, this subject has been treated in a very invested manner by the whole team. This research is truly connected to the people and vulnerable coastal communities by exploring different scenarios and offering various solutions at a variety of scales. The urgency of climate change needs this true collaboration and cross jurisdictional planning and design approaches that elevate the discourse and make a strong leverage to break the silos we are all generally trapped in. This research achieves with great success one of their multiple goals, it’s a striking, creative, and comprehensive communication tool.”


Project Website:

CSLA Award Website:

Funding: Mitacs Canada


Project Supervisors

Joe Fry and Allison Tweedie, Hapa Collaborative

Kelty McKinnon and Grant Falgren, PFS Studio

Derek Lee and Jenna Buchko, PWL Partnership

Jeff Cutler and Isabel Kunigk, Space2Place Landscape Architects


Research Assistants

Lee Patola, Hapa Collaborative (2018, 2019)

Nathan Ross, PFS Studio (2019)

Huijing Chen, PFS Studio (2018)

Grace Morazzani, PWL Partnership (2019)

Chris Walker, PWL Partnership (2018)

Sam McFaul, Space2Place Landscape Architects (2019)

Kalli Niedoba, Space2Place Landscape Architects (2018)




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