We're so pleased to announce that Alderhill Partner and Senior Planner Jessie Hemphill recently defended her thesis for the Vancouver Island Master of Community Planning program! [Check out the attached two-page summary handout.]
The topic of her thesis was Indigenous urban design using her own community, the Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations, as a case study. The goal of the research was to discover how an Indigenous community might modernize our traditional planning and urban design practices in the modern context. The thesis title is: Indigeneity and Urban Design: Examining Generative Urban Design Approaches within the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Context
Jessie chose this topic given the increasing number of First Nations in Canada who are adopting land codes, giving them much greater jurisdiction over on-reserve lands. Often, these communities immediately adopt a land use plan or zoning bylaw similar to the tools used by non-Indigenous local government. One of Jessie's findings was that a type of land use planning and urban design called "generative planning" may more easily align with Indigenous values and practices.
Some additional findings include:
- Urban designers who wish to revitalize Indigenous practices need to look beyond the built form, and think about cultural values and epistemology (it's not enough to just replicate the shapes of traditional buildings)
- In order to Indigenize the process of planning and urban design, we have to create collaborative processes that engage citizens, while also supporting cultural revitalization and learning how to create communities that reflect the unique culture of the community members
- Non-Indigenous planners and designers need to be aware of the fact that planning (especially zoning) has long been a tool of racism, oppression and colonization. We need to be very intentional about decolonizing our planning work and using the appropriate tools for the community.
[For the planners reading this - if you want to learn more about generative planning, check out the work of Christopher Alexander (especially his 2002 series, "The Nature of Order") Michael Mehaffy, Fumihiko Maki, and Andrés Duany. Some potential models of generative planning in action include Pattern Languages, Form-Based Codes and SmartCodes, but these form-focused tools should be complemented by a robust community engagement strategy beyond one or two design charrettes]
We are looking forward to incorporating this research into our work as Indigenous planners, and would love to hear from you about this topic or your own work in Indigenous urban design and community planning.
Based on some recent conversation on the Comprehensive Community Planning Facebook group, there seems to be a lot of interest in compiling a list of academic sources that are related to Indigenous planning, especially Indigenous urban design.
This list is at least a starting point, based on a project I'm working on for my Master of Community Planning program at the Vancouver Island University. If you would like to add a source, please email email@example.com to have it added to this post, which will be updated as needed.
Indigenous Urban Design
Awatere, S., Rolleston, S., and Pauling, C. (2010). Developing Maori Urban Design Principles. In K. Stuart & M. Thompson-Fawcett (Eds.), Tāone Tupu Ora: Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Urban Design. (pp. 17-23).Wellington, New Zealand: Steele Roberts Aotearoa.
Deane, L. & Smoke, E. (2010) Designing Affordable Housing with Cree, Anishinabe, and Métis People. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 19(1), 51-70. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.viu.ca/docview/817178837/fulltext/80ECA910F4D41F1PQ/1?accountid=12246
Deane and Smoke use a combination of interviews and participatory design activities to determine themes and Indigenous cultural concepts that may be applied in the development of affordable housing in Winnipeg. They elicited six key principles: hospitality and transitional support; safe within the circle; honouring elders; community economic development through construction, and; connection to the land. These principles may guide culturally-sensitive housing development. The authors conclude the article with public policy recommendations that have implications for Indigenous urban design and community planning, especially with regards to the importance of involving the future inhabitants in the design process and seeking ways to respect traditional values and cultural lifeways within the built environment so as to contribute to cultural revitalization rather than the process of decolonization.
Hudson-Rodd, N. (1998). Nineteenth Century Canada: Indigenous Place of Dis-ease. Health and Place, 4(1), 55-66. doi:10.1016/S1353-8292(97)00027-0
In this article Hudson-Rodd uses a historical analysis approach to argue that the poor health outcomes for Canada’s Indigenous peoples stem from complex issues including a lack of harmony between people and their physical, social, cultural and spiritual environments. The author also uses the experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada to explore notions of place, not only as a spatio-temporal setting, but as something symbolic, with a “feeling” that contributes to or detracts from the health of the inhabitants. Hudson-Rodd proposes that a sense of ease in one’s home and home community is essential to good health, and that this sense of ease is connected to not only the built form of a place, but also symbols of cultural identity and ritual expressions that may take place there, as well as connection to the natural environment. This work has clear implications for the use of urban design to address the health outcomes of communities, especially Indigenous communities in Canada.
Loewen, N. (2016). Enabling Indigenous Urban Design: An Examination of Theory and Precedents for Application in Winnipeg. Ryerson University.
The author conducts a literature review to build a foundation for understanding Indigenous involvement in planning processes, and then uses comparative case studies from New Zealand to evaluate and propose precedents for engaging Indigenous peoples and translating Indigenous culture into urban design in planning for the city of Winnipeg. Loewen concludes that the practice of engaging Indigenous peoples in planning processes is slow to be adopted despite the theoretical arguments for doing so. This thesis provides valuable background information on the involvement of Indigenous peoples in planning and also proposes ways in which planning processes may be decolonized while more successfully integrating Indigenous values.
Nicolson, M. (2013). Yaxa Uḱwine’, yaxa Gukw, dłuwida Awińagwis: “The Body, the House, and the Land”: The Conceptualization of Space in Kwakwaka’wakw Language and Culture. University of Victoria.
By conducting a linguistic morphological analysis and contextualizing the results into broader cultural expressions and beliefs, Nicolson explores the connection between language and culture as they relate to the concepts of space and time for the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples. She concludes that a central Kwakwaka’wakw belief, manifest in both linguistic and tangible expression, is the concept of body = house = land. This belief reflects the Kwakwaka’wakw sense of connection to the land. Nicolson proposes that by understanding this underlying cultural concept, we can create works of art and architecture that embody these cultural principles, thus assisting with cultural continuity between past and present and resisting the forces of colonialism. It seems likely that the same cultural values described by Nicolson may be used as a framework for urban design in the Kwakwaka’wakw context in order to ensure cultural integrity.
Stewart, P.R. (2015). Indigenous Architecture through Indigenous Knowledge :Dim sagalts’apkw nisim̓ [Together we will build a village]. The University of British Columbia. Retrieved from https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0167274
Using qualitative research methods (mostly interviews with Indigenous architects) Stewart analyzes how Indigenous culture and identity can influence architecture, and vice versa. While the impacts of colonization and the lack of Indigenous students and content in architecture schools have resulted in a lack of Indigenous architectural design processes, Stewart proposes that Indigenous architecture is still a valuable component in cultural revitalization and community development. Stewart’s work links up with the research of Nicolson (2013) around culture and language as they related to conceptions of space, including in the design of housing. Stewart also discusses the role of regional identity in design using international examples, and the concept of spatial justice. He proposes that integrating Indigenous knowledge and culture in the design process will help Indigenous communities overcome the negative impacts of colonization. While he only deals with the field of architecture, his suggestions for designing and constructing built forms using Indigenous methodologies has clear implications for the field of urban design.
Indigenous Research Methodologies
Anderson, C. (2013). Urban Aboriginal Planning: Towards a Transformative Statistical Praxis. In R. Walker, T. Jojola, & D. Natcher (Eds.), Reclaiming Indigenous Planning. (pp. 260-282). Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Kovach, M. E. (2009). Indigenous Methodologies : Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/viu/reader.action?docID=10442459&ppg=1
With this book Kovach presents the work of several Indigenous scholars as they explore the qualities of Indigenous research frameworks. It is a combination of analytical and applied research, including first-person narrative from the author and essays from scholar-researchers from around the world. The author, an Indigenous woman, sees this book as a tool to help researchers and Indigenous communities carry out work that supports Indigenous epistemologies and cultures, undoing some of the culturally destructive forces of colonialism. Kovach is mainly concerned with the needs of Indigenous graduate students seeking research methodologies that reflect their needs.
Indigenous Community Planning
Boothroyd, P. (1986). Enhancing Local Planning Skills for Native Self-Reliance: The UBC Experience. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 1(1), 13–42.
Although there is a tradition of community planning in Indigenous communities, Boothroyd suggests that there is still value in using and teaching modern planning methods (what the author calls systematic planning) in Indigenous communities. Boothroyd uses an analysis of Band planning courses at the University of British Columbia to inform his recommendations and comments regarding the value of community planning skills for Indigenous leaders. While the language and tone of this article is dated (using, for example, the terms Native and Indian instead of the more current Indigenous or First Nations) Boothroyd makes a connection between community planning and self-government that is still relevant today.
Peters, E. and Walker, R. (2005). Indigeneity and Marginalization: Planning for and with Urban Aboriginal Communities in Canada. Progress in Planning, Volume 63(4). 327-404.
Walker, R., Jojola, T. S., & Natcher, D. C. (2013;2014;). Reclaiming Indigenous Planning. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.
Wannsborough, M. & Mageean, A. (2000). The Role of Urban Design in Cultural Regeneration. Journal of Urban Design, 5(2), 181–197.
Indigenous Land Management, Land Use Planning, and Connection to "Place"
Alcantara, C. (2007). Reduce transaction costs? Yes. Strengthen property rights? Maybe: The First Nations Land Management Act and Economic Development on Canadian Indian Reserves. Public Choice, 132(3–4), 421–432. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-007-9168-7
Bartlett, R. H. (1990). Indian Reserves and Aboriginal Lands in Canada: A Homeland. Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan Native Law Centre.
Harris, C. (2002). Making Native Space : Colonialism, Resistance, and Reserves in British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press.
Hibbard, M., Lane, M. B., & Rasmussen, K. (2008). The Split Personality of Planning: Indigenous Peoples and Planning for Land and Resource Management. Journal of Planning Literature, 23(2), 136-151. doi:10.1177/0885412208322922
The authors criticize the failures of the planning profession with regards to Indigenous land use and natural resources, condemn the ways in which planning has been used to marginalize Indigenous peoples, and scold planners for not acknowledging these failures. Due to the lack of research and literature on Indigenous planning, the authors propose drawing from other fields such as anthropology, political science and geography to assist with research related to Indigenous planning. The article also includes sections defining who Indigenous peoples are, and why their relation to the colonial state is problematic (thus setting the stage for a decolonizing methodology.) The article offers suggestions for dealing with gaps in the planning literature and also analyzes the efficacy of current trends in Indigenous land use and natural resource planning.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. (2002). Land Management Manual. Canada. Retrieved from http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/DAM/DAM-INTER-HQ/STAGING/texte-text/enr_lds_pubs_lmm_1315105451402_eng.pdf
KPMG. (2014). Benefits Review of the Framework Agreement on First Nations Land Management. Retrieved from https://labrc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2014-FNLM-AGM-KPMG-Presentation_FINAL-Sep-12.pdf
Millette, D. M. (2011). Land Use Planning on Aboriginal Lands - Towards a New Model for Planning on Reserve Lands - ProQuest. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 20(2), 20–35. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.viu.ca/docview/1023234844?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12246&selectids=1006447,1006448,10000024
Wilson, K. (2003). Therapeutic Landscapes and First Nations Peoples: An Exploration of Culture, Health and Place. Health and Place, 9(2), 83-93. doi:10.1016/S1353-8292(02)00016-3
Coming from the field of Health Geography, this article explores the connection between health and place for First Nations peoples in Canada. Wilson uses interviews to explore this connection, and conducts a literature review to clarify the concept of “therapeutic landscape” as healing place in the literal and symbolic sense. While the concept is mostly used in the western context, referring to spas and resorts, there is a need for health geographers to recognize the role that race and culture play in how one conceives of the health or therapeutic properties of a place. This article ties in with concepts in Hudson-Rodd’s article, in that both texts emphasize the importance of the literal and symbolic impact of place on the health and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples.
Here's a roundup of some of our favourite articles from the last few weeks, covering a variety of topics like First Nations housing, participatory planning, and planning apps. Enjoy!
APTN's Year Ahead InFocus: 2017 video features guests Dr. Marcia Anderson-DeCoteau, Niigaan Sinclair and UBCIC VP Chief Robert Chamberlin and talks about pipelines, Standing Rock, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, reconciliation, Joseph Boyden and more.
Katie Hyslop over at the Tyee is doing some great articles about Indigenous housing lately! Go take a look:
UIC Barcelona's Master of Internation Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture blog (that's a mouthful!) has a post with 5 online resources for participatory planning including the "Placemaker's Guide to Building Community"
Planetizen released a roundup of The Best Planning Apps for 2017
What's on your reading list? Let us know in the comments below!