Wetlands & Development: A Studio Approach to Environmental Planning Education

Wednesday 11:30am-1:30pm UMC Aspen Rooms
Poster Presentation Part of Sustainability and the Environment


Mary-Ellen Tyler, University of Calgary
Andrew Cuthbert, University of Calagary, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Benazir Thaha, City of Chestermere
Kenneth Law, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Nathan Grivell, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Susann Lagore, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Steve Altena, University of Calgary
Tae Kim, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Nazhut Butt, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
The City of Calgary metropolitan area has been the fastest growing urban region in Canada for over a decade. The glacial history of region has left the Calgary area with an abundance of wetlands recognized provincially as significant for breeding waterfowl. This regional wetland system also provides water retention capacity in the landscape for both seasonal flood and drought protection. However, by1981 it was estimated that 78% of the pre-settlement wetlands in the Calgary area had been lost and by 2012 that estimated rose to 90%. Historically, this loss has been the result of agricultural intensification and more recently from rapid urban and rural municipal growth and associated land use change and development.

Wetland ecosystem goods and services play an important role in water quality and bio-diversity. To ensure existing wetland benefits remain viable and sustainable into the future it is critical for urban and municipal planners to explore alternative futures for wetland conservation in regional land use planning and urban development. The Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS) at the University of Calgary offers professional planning education at the graduate level and is unique among Canadian Schools of Planning in that studio as its signature pedagogy. This type of 'cognitive apprenticeship' is the hallmark of professional education. The senior studio for professional practice in Environmental Planning involves twelve hours of class time on a weekly basis that integrates specialized input from invited resource persons and professional planning practitioners involving field trips, group, and individual project tutorials.

In the winter term 2015, Master of Planning senior students identified 6 different wetland and development projects addressing environmental planning and design innovations and interventions to enhance urban and regional wetland conservation in a municipal government context. Posters representing these six projects and environmental planning studio pedagogy are proposed for presentation.