Three new UBC research projects will examine ways to reduce water use in public parks, explore new public transportation options, and bring together neighbourhoods through performance events.
The trio of projects have met criteria for pilot sustainable community development internal grants. The grant program was created through a partnership between UBC’s Okanagan campus and the City of Kelowna to help foster sustainable community development in Kelowna’s Glenmore neighbourhood. The program is administered by the university’s Office of Research Services and is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Okanagan Sustainability Office.
“All three projects provide the opportunity for the university, City and community to work together on environmental and social sustainability initiatives,” says Jackie Podger, Associate Vice President, Administration and Finance at the Okanagan campus.
The three funded projects are:
- Reducing Water Usage in Civic Parks Using Adaptive Irrigation ($10,000)Ramon Lawrence, assoc. prof. of computer science, PhD candidate Scott Fazackerley, undergraduate student Ryan Trenholm , and Neal Klassen, coordinator of the City of Kelowna’s Water Smart program, are collaborating on a project that will look at reducing water use in civic parks using adaptive irrigation.
Previous research has shown that a sensor-based, adaptive irrigation system saves water by adjusting to current soil conditions and only watering when necessary. The goal of this project is to customize and install an adaptive irrigation system in a portion of a civic park alongside a conventional system. The expected result is substantial — up to 50 per cent savings in water use.
- Sustainable Glenmore Transportation ComPASS Pilot Project ($10,000)Gordon Lovegrove, asst. prof. of engineering, is working with Bernard Momer, assoc. prof. of geography, on a sustainable transportation pilot project that will explore the Glenmore Community Un-limited Access Transportation Pass System (ComPASS).
The intent is to engage student researchers, Kelowna administrators, and the Glenmore community in consultation regarding an integrated, sustainable transportation system that competes with — and results in significantly reduced use of — single-occupancy vehicles.
- Social Potluck ($4,794.40)Neil Cadger, assoc. prof in the Performance program, will collaborate with Master of Arts student Gabriel Newman on a project entitled Social Potluck. This is an interactive performance project which combines aspects of theatre, storytelling, community-building, community art and community food action.
The project’s first of two acts involves the host providing the community five free dinners from local supplies in exchange for stories. All materials and locations are to be arranged by barter. The second act involves the host presenting to participants a performance based on the stories collected.
“These grants provide an opportunity to advance faculty research and provide students with practical opportunities to engage with members of the community while they learn about sustainability in theory and practice,” says Alaa-Abd-El-Aziz, Provost and Vice-Principal Okanagan campus. “Through these projects, faculty, students and members of the community will share their findings broadly, so the knowledge gained here can be applied to other communities locally, regionally and globally.”
The Sustainable Community Development Grant pilot is intended to stimulate and apply new thinking about how we can become more sustainable within our communities, says City of Kelowna Manager Ron Mattiussi.
“We look forward to how these projects may provide new ways to address key social, economic, environmental and cultural sustainability issues within the community,” says Mattiussi.
The projects will be underway through the upcoming spring and summer, reporting back to the campus and local community in the fall.
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