The Public Realm in Resilient Communities: Alec Hay at CSLA 2014 Congress

The Public Realm in Resilient Communities: Alec Hay at CSLA 2014 Congress

Our good man Alec Hay is getting set to blow away another audience with his visionary approach to resilience design. Check out the abstract for his upcoming presentation with fellow DIALOGer Gail Shillingford at the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects 2014 congress in Ottawa.

“Our world is changing. Extreme weather events are becoming more severe and more frequent, while at the same time demographic and socio-economic trends are placing greater emphasis on how we develop our cities over the next generation. Success will be defined by how we plan, design and manage the public realm. Never before has it been so important. It is not possible to confidently predict the severity of extreme weather events in 25 years’ time and so we must focus on how we adapt, absorb and recover from the effects. Adaptation is only part of the answer. We must manage this change, rather than deny or harden against it. This is resilience planning, identified by the UN as pre-requisite for sustainable development. Of the essential characteristics common to all communities that have proved to be resilient, community focus and identity are the primary enablers and most influenced by the public realm. This research by University of Toronto also identified balanced infrastructure and a strategic framework of relationships between communities. Landscape architects have a pivotal role to play in planning and designing the public realm. It must not only promote safe and healthy living during normal routine, but it must absorb the effects of the multiple changing stresses and enable community response and recovery during and following a shock. The multiple requirements on the public realm are expanding and becoming more important as we move into the future; the consequences of inadequate design are ever greater.”

About the presenters: Alec Hay, CEng PEng FICE FInstRE is the Resilience & Security Planning leader at DIALOG, joining the Toronto studio early 2013. A Chartered Civil Engineer, he specialised in fortifications and infrastructure development during a 25 year career in the British Army, practising around the world variously as client, consultant and contractor. This encompassed both physical protection design and community development and reconstruction. Projects include the 68km humanitarian relief road in Bosnia, infrastructure development in Belize and Gibraltar, protection design in Northern Ireland and Southern Iraq, NATO estate development planning in Afghanistan and lead for the $1.2Bn UK infrastructure development plan in Afghanistan, for which he was awarded the MBE. An adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, where he is progressing research into infrastructure and community resilience, he was the founding director of the Centre for Resilience of Critical Infrastructure and is Secretary of the international Register of Security Engineers and Specialists. He is a professional reviewer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Royal Engineers. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario and Alberta.

Gail Shillingford, BLArch OALA is an Associate Urban Designer at DIALOG. Her expertise in community based planning and the development of healthy public realm environments stems from having a strong background in urban design, planning, and landscape architecture. This combination provides her with a broad understanding and working knowledge of the frameworks of master planning, and has enriched her expertise in the design of significant and award winning urban environments that are based on a comprehensive integration of built form, open space, movement, and sustainability systems. Gail studied in Toronto and Alberta, and has provided professional expertise to clients in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean.  Throughout her 17 year career as an urban designer, her efforts have been to advance the role of the landscape architect in the creation of complete and sustainable communities and open space environments, focusing on expanding the role and significance of the public realm in each context. Projects include the University of Calgary’s West Campus Lands, which entail the development of a complete, viable, and sustainable community. She is also working with the Town of Tecumseh on the development of three significant projects: a Hamlet Secondary Plan, the rejuvenation of the Tecumseh Road Main Street Corridor in the context of a Community Improvement Plan, and the transformation of 65 acre golf course into a community park and regional amenity. Other significant award winning projects include the National Park Master Plan and Physical Development Plan for the island of Barbados, the University of Toronto Open Space Master Plan, the development of three distinct campuses for Seneca College, and the establishment of a Heritage Conservation District in Woodbridge, Vaughan.

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