Welcome to the studio showcase for LARC 502 – Sensing Landscape.

In this first-year MLA studio Professor Daniel Roehr and Adjunct Professor Stephanie Braconnier led their students in an exploration of inclusivity as a driving factor in the design process.


The global COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for urban centers around the world to reimagine the development & availability of public space as safe, accessible and equitable respites for urban dwellers. There is noticeable disparity in the mental health and well-being of people with access to private gardens & outdoor space and those who rely on limited access to the public realm.

Under lockdowns across the world, some citizens of dense cities were limited to an hour or less of outdoor recreation per day leading to increased anxiety, depression, and lack of connection. As restrictions have been lifted, commercialized public spaces and events can no longer function as attractors for social connection due to physical distancing requirements, and parks, gardens and other green & blue open spaces have become the de facto civic ‘back yards’ for friends and family to meet and socialize.

This increase in the use of parks has put pressure on cities to increase the quality and quantity of urban green space and offers an opportunity for designers to bring greater consideration to how these spaces can do more.


This studio examines two distinct but related experiences of the outdoors – gardens and urban parks – and asks how these can be designed in the future to react to the new urban realities and the impacts of ill-health. The studio also seeks to explore ability, inclusivity, and accessibility in the public realm with the understanding that cities have historically been organized in a manner that is biased based on ethnicity, gender, or physical ability.

In our first design exercise students worked individually on a self-selected site to design a small, multi-sensorial garden that responds to a specific health limitation (physical, mental or otherwise) and which provides healing or respite to those who would not otherwise have access to such a space.

In our second design exercise students worked in teams on a site in Vancouver to develop an urban public park that addresses issues of accessibility and inclusivity to improve health, ecology & social connection. This project was supported by the City of Vancouver and CityStudio, who helped connect us with a real-world project and provided a public showcase for students to pitch their proposals

Watch the assignment 2 project intro:

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