CAMPUS LANDSCAPING

1.0 ABSTRACT

2.0 PROJECT DEFINITION

3.0 UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO MASTER PLAN

4.0 GOAL

5.0 OBJECTIVES

6.0 ASSUMPTIONS

7.0 LIMITATIONS

8.0 SYSTEMS STUDY

9.0 METHODOLOGY

9.1 SELECTION OF STAKEHOLDERS

9.2 DETERMINING STAKEHOLDER NEEDS

9.3 MAKING USE OF COMPLETED QUESTIONNAIRES

10.0 ANALYSIS

10.1 CRITERIA USED FOR ANALYSIS

10.2 REASONS FOR SELECTION OF SITE

10.3 SITE SELECTION PROCESS

10.4 "HOT SPOTS"

10.5 STAKEHOLDER SUGGESTIONS

10.6 SUGGESTIONS FOR "HOT SPOTS"

10.6.1 GRASS AROUND DAVIS CENTRE

10.6.2 MATH AND COMPUTER BUILDING

10.6.3 VISITOR'S ENTRANCE

10.6.4 WALKWAYS

10.7 SUGGESTIONS FOR "COLD SPOTS"

10.7.1 GRASS TRANSECTS

10.7.2 GRASSY HILL BEHIND DANA PORTER LIBRARY

10.7.3 VILLAGE ONE

10.7.4 RAISED FLOWER BED

10.8 SURVEY RESULTS

11.0 DORNEY GARDEN

12.0 LAUREL CREEK

13.0 THE ROLE OF KITCHENER TRANSIT

14.0 PHILOSOPHIES OF LANDSCAPING

15.0 OTHER POSSIBILITIES FOR FURTHER 285 PROJECTS

16.0 CONCLUSION

17.0 CONTACTS

1.0 ABSTRACT

A great deal of concern has been expressed in recent years about the sustainability (environmentally and economically) of the campus landscaping at the University of Waterloo. Landscaping is an extremely contentious issue however, and the multitude of differing opinions have made progress towards an environmentally sustainable campus difficult. This problem is compounded by the lack of specific guidelines for sustainable development in the University's Master Plan.

By identifying key stakeholder issues, and areas in which specific suggestions of alternative landscaping practices may be attempted, this project provides a framework for future groups hoping to create a more comprehensive Master Plan, or a more sustainable campus landscape design.

2.0 PROJECT DEFINITION

In the past, landscape design initiatives at the University of Waterloo have focused on producing an aesthetically pleasing campus. Certainly the school has been successful in this pursuit, as the beauty of Waterloo's campus is undeniable. Unfortunately no consideration was given to the environmental sustainability of these designs, and parts of campus - Laurel Creek and Columbia Lake in particular - have suffered as a result. With this project it is hoped that a foundation will be laid for future groups to design a cohesive landscape design plan for a campus that is sustainable.

In defining environmental sustainability - in regards to campus landscaping - we must consider three criteria:

Clearly, of these criteria, it is the social aspect that will be the most difficult to satisfy. Environmentally friendly landscapes can be developed, and fiscally responsible designs are also a realizable goal. The problem lies in designing such a landscape that is agreeable to most of the public. To this end, this project will attempt to ascertain the needs and wants of as many stakeholders as possible to see if there are areas of compromise which can lead to the creation of an environmentally sustainable campus.

The University of Waterloo has a Master Plan that serves as a guideline for all campus developments. This too will be examined to determine the possibility of creating a Master Plan that recognizes as many stakeholder interests as possible, while promoting a healthy and sustainable environment.

3.0 THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO MASTER PLAN

The Master Plan begins with an introduction to its purpose; "to provide a clear framework for the future development of the campus over the next several decades." (MP, pp.5) and ends the first paragraph with concerns about the environment; "Overall, the Campus Master Plan is intended to articulate new goals for the campus - particularly in the area of environmental stewardship..." (MP, pp.5) The introduction ends with a list of three planning objectives that would commit the university to "the establishment of an environmental basis for all planning and development decisions." (MP, pp.5) As well, the first major theme of the plan is "an environmental basis for all planning and development decisions." (MP, pp.6)

Although there is good intention behind the whole plan, it is very vague and does not seem to commit to any action. However, because it is only a forty- eight page document which covers every aspect of all possible development for both south and north Campus, the plan obviously cannot address site-specific issues. Although it does address many issues and takes a very positive view on development from an environmental perspective, the plan is somewhat vague and fails to make any concrete plans for positive environmental change. As well, there appears to be no specific regulations in place to ensure that what is suggested and proposed in the plan is implemented. Again, because of its broad nature, issues such as landscaping are addressed as vague theoretical recommendations. For example, the development of a strategy that contains the following components:

"A comprehensive planning program that promotes the use of native plant materials, planting in communities of associated species and the development of more substantial versions of the formal landscapes on campus.
"A comprehensive landscape maintenance strategy prepared in consultation with Plant Operations, which attempts to institute lesser reliance on pesticides and herbicides. (MP, pp.23)

In order for actual change to occur, the next step is to make specific recommendations and suggestions to present the University with possible options on more sustainable landscaping practices. For example, one of the most important and publicized issues of campus landscaping is Laurel Creek. (see section 12.0) The plan recommends "the creation of a permanent natural reserve along Laurel Creek and its utilization as a central spine linking the university with the Conservation Area and the city." However, there is no recommendation to suggest how this might be done, i.e.- what are some possible landscape patterns that could help change the problems, what types of species would work best in that situation, etc.

By surveying key stakeholders in the landscape issue as well as a random selection of students on campus, we have identified the most important issues of consideration as well as the most noted area of concern- "hot spot"s- and the least considered areas- "cold spots". From this information we can analyze where the areas to be targeted first for change are and what type of solutions might work best.

There are many issues that arise when attempting to change certain aspects of landscaping because there are many different concerns held by the array of stakeholders involved and therefore, a clash of ideas as to what is appropriate and what looks good. Issues such as safety in wooded areas at night, area available for recreational purposes, whether naturalized areas are "pretty" or not, or the amount of work required to keep up large grassy areas as opposed to more native species are all of varying degrees of concern among different groups. Often people's ideas of what constitutes aesthetically pleasing landscapes are among the most varied and controversial issues. Since not everyone will have the same attitude towards different types of landscaping, it is important to identify those areas that are contentious, as well as those in which people's attiudes will allow for leeway in landscape design. This is an important step towards creating a stronger Master Plan, and it is one of the aims of this project.

Berridge, Levinberg, Greenberg Ltd., " Campus Master Plan: Framework for Development", University of Waterloo, July 1992

4.0 GOAL

5.0 OBJECTIVES

6.0 ASSUMPTIONS

7.0 LIMITATIONS

8.0 SYSTEMS STUDY

The system study of the landscape involves a variety of components. These include:

The issues of importance in relation to the system that we are studying will include:

9.0 METHODOLOGY


9.1 SELECTION OF STAKEHOLDERS


9.2 DETERMINING STAKEHOLDER NEEDS


9.3 MAKING USE OF COMPLETED QUESTIONNAIRES

10.0 ANALYSIS


10.1 CRITERIA USED FOR ANALYSIS

The information gathered will be summarized to identify trends observed in the surveys. No special weighting will be given to any of the suggestions received, except that all of the data will be analyzed with the bias of trying to fit the suggestions into an environmentally sustainable landscape design.


10.2 REASONS FOR THE SELECTION OF SITES

The major downfalls in many other papers similar in nature to this project, are that most discuss remediation options in a purely theoretical way, and do not address the practical. Therefore, the following sites on campus have been chosen in order to provide practical solutions to landscaping problems on campus. The concept of alternative landscaping has been well covered in the Master Plan. These suggestions are furthering the realization of sustainable landscaping, while considering critical personnel shortages in Grounds Maintenance that do not allow for the time to make such decisions.


10.3 SITE SELECTION PROCESS

By examining the results of the survey circulated among students and stakeholders, the mention of any site was counted as a vote of interest. Areas with any votes were put in a list of "hot spots", ranging from five votes to one vote. Any areas that were not mentioned were classified as a "cold spot". These spots have been examined and below suggestions have been offered on four "hot" and "cold spots", making use of student and non-student suggestions. The list of "hot spots" is as follows:


10.4 "HOT SPOTS"

Four Votes:
Math and Computers building
Grass in front of the Davis Centre

Two Votes:
The rock garden
The Davis Centre area along Ring Road
Campus Centre
Walkways
Visitor's entrance
Wheelchair access for South Campus Hall

One Vote:
Big grassy areas
North Campus
The Engineering buildings
Administration buildings
The Davis Centre parking lot
Columbia Lake
Parking Lot burms
The lighting in Village 2


10.5 STAKEHOLDER SUGGESTIONS

In the same format, suggestions for the improvement of campus landscaping were tallied. Therefore, the suggestions that we will be making for each site will be a primary reflection of what the basic needs are on campus. The following is the list of suggestions:

Stakeholder/Student Suggestions

19 Votes- more flowers/more colour
11 Votes- make more use of native species
10 Votes- more wooded areas/trees
10 Votes- lower maintenance landscaping
8 Votes- more places to sit
7 Votes- more naturalized gardens
7 Votes- more natural looking
7 Votes- replace grass with ground cover
7 Votes- discontinue chemical use
5 Votes- better grass
4 Votes- fountains
4 Votes- more fruit trees
3 Votes- improved wheelchair access
3 Votes- better paths
3 Votes- more perennials


10.6 SUGGESTIONS FOR "HOT SPOTS"

"Hot spots" To Be Examined:

  1. Grass around Davis Centre
  2. Math and Computer building
  3. Visitor's entrance
  4. Walkways


10.6.1 Grass Around Davis Centre

Concerns with this area were the deteriorating quality of the grass, and lack of seating areas when the ground is wet. The suggestions above address this and also meet the needs for more colour, native species and more perennials. It will also ensure better walkways that will not turn to mud in the rain. Quality of the existing grass will improve when students use the mulch paths instead of creating their own which quickly turn to mud in the rain.


10.6.2 Math and Computer Building

The Math and Computer building was an area of contention due to the massive patches of unbroken turf around it, as well as the massive expanse of unbroken concrete of its walls. By adding benches and perennial beds, Alumni Lane could receive more well-deserved attention, as well as adding more places to sit, a more natural looking area, and making use of native perennials. This could also be achieved by planting hardy perennials in already existing beds. Finally, a fast growing woody vine such as a Virginia Creeper would effectively break up the monotonus concrete walls, and offer a spectacular display of scarlet in the fall. It would also contribute to a more natural looking campus.


10.6.3 Visitor's Entrance

This may be an area of great contention at the university as it gives the first impression of the University of Waterloo to visitors. Yet all the more reason to bring attention to it. Concerns in this area were with its appearance. These suggestions will address the needs for more native species, a more natural-looking campus, and lower maintenance landscaping alternatives. Native perennial beds will bring the much sought after colour, with the major work inputs concentrated in its creation with minimal upkeep. It will also provide a healthy, drought-resistant, hardy, and beautiful presentation for all who visit the campus.


10.6.4 Walkways (focusing on student-made dirt paths)

Dirt paths trampled by students were a concern both with the students and with the Grounds crew. The Grounds crew would like to replant the turf, but it may not prevent students from continuing to walk on the old path. By putting a mulch path over the dirt ones, the paths will look more aesthetically pleasing, and can still be utilized by students. It will also limit safety concerns raised when paths get muddy and slippery in the rain. This will also give the campus a more natural look.


10.7 SUGGESTIONS FOR "COLD SPOTS"

These were areas that no one noticed or cared about. All the more reason why time - and money - saving landscape alternatives could be easily applied.

"Cold spots" To Be Examined

  1. Grass transects
  2. Grassy hill behind the Dana Porter Library
  3. Village One
  4. Raised flower bed between Modern Languages and Arts Lecture buildings


10.7.1 Grass Transects

These spaces are excellent areas to inject colour and native species while minimizing upkeep. Again the only significant inputs would be its completion, while minimal maintenance would be required. This would contribute to a more natural-looking camps, create lower maintenance landscaping, and be represenative of an area of grass replaced by a ground cover.


10.7.2 Grassy Hill Behind Dana Porter Library

This area on campus is very rarely used for any purpose. A diversity of trees would create an educational mini-arboretum. By planting various deciduous and coniferous trees, including fruit trees, the needs for aesthetics, more trees, shade and diversity would be met. Additionally benches would meet the need of more places to sit on campus. This area would eventually become a year-round respite as well as an outdoor classroom.


10.7.3 Village One

The relatively small strips of grass surrounding each of the houses are too small to be of any recreational use, and walking paths are central enough in these areas that students rarely walk across the grass. If the grass was replaced by high grasses, sedges, and bushes, the area would look far more natural. The high plants would help insulate the first floor of the buildings decreasing power consumption, and would cause no further security threat.


10.7.4 Raised Flower Bed

This area is a garden in a large ashphalt expanse, centred around a European Mountain Ash. If the exotic species planted around the tree are replaced by native species, the need to water them would be reduced, thereby eliminating labour time and water expenditure. Additionally, by replacing annuals with perennials, the need for yearly labour and expenditures would be reduced to the cost of simple maintenance.

10.8 SURVEY RESULTS

A total of 74 surveys were completed by the stakeholders. Of this total, 54 were taken from students of the University of Waterloo and 20 were taken from non-students (e.g. University of Waterloo staff and other interest groups). The contacts section at the end of the report lists all of the non-students who completed the survey and shows how each of them can be reached.

The students who completed the survey were not picked in any particular fashion. The survey was administered as a pilot random sample. Of the 54 students surveyed; 2 were from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, 11 from Arts, 14 from Engineering, 3 from Environmental Studies, 11 from Mathematics, 8 from Science and 5 of unknown status (meaning they did not identify their Faculty). (go to chart)

The randomness of the distribution of the survey yielded a diversity of answers which were useful in identifying the areas on campus which the students thought were of importance. These areas were then labeled as "Hot" or "Cold" spots depending upon the amount of students which mentioned each. A "Hot Spot" is one which is mentioned the most and a "Cold Spot" is one which is not mentioned at all.

The wording of the questions on the surveys allowed for creativity because they were based on the individuals interests not on predetermined areas of concern. Therefore, the survey resulted in a variety of answers which deal with issues of importance for each individual who completed the survey.

11.0 DORNEY GARDEN

The Dorney Garden is a unique form of naturalization on the University of Waterloo campus. It is located next to the Environmental Studies One building and consists of a Carolinian woodland and tall grass prairie separated by a Savannah.

The Dorney Garden is an excellent example of sustainable alternative landscaping at the University of Waterloo Campus. It is composed of native species and provides a habitat for wildlife as well as local biodiversity. It is easier to maintain compared to traditional landscaping as it does not need extensive maintenance including pruning, mowing, raking, fertilizing and pesticide application.

The question about the Dorney Garden was included in the survey because of the role it plays as an alternative form of landscaping on the University of Waterloo campus. In regards to the first part of the question, "Are you familiar with the naturalized Dorney Garden outside the Environmental Studies building?", it was determined that 44 out of the 74 people who completed the survey answered "yes" to this question, approximately 60%, while only 30 students respond with "no". However, when analyzing student vs. non-student responses, it was discovered that only 24 out of 54 of the students were familiar with the garden, about 45%. Of the non-students all responded "yes" to the same question, a full 100%. When breaking down the student portion by faculty it can be seen that:

The results revealed that Engineering and Math students are least likely to know about the Dorney Garden and Environmental Studies students are most likely to know about it. Therefore, education regarding the Dorney Garden should focus on Engineering and Math as it would seem they are the least informed.

Some of the comments raised about the Dorney Garden from the surveys include:

Positive Comments:

Negative Comments:

The responses to the survey should be used to make the Dorney Garden more enjoyable for the people who use it and through greater education create a better opportunity to understand it for those who were critical or unfamiliar with the site.

12.0 LAUREL CREEK

Laurel Creek is an important part of the University of Waterloo campus. It provides the water sources for Columbia Lake, Laurel Lake and for the Health and Safety Pond. For many people, it is also an aesthetically pleasing part of the landscape.

Laurel Creek has become a increasingly important issue over the years as its water quality has decreased. This is mainly due to runoff and the wastes from ducks and geese. The question on the survey pertaining to what should be done about the creek was considered important to landscaping on the University of Waterloo campus because it is an example of how traditional landscaping practices have failed. It is especially of interest because alternative landscaping practices could be used to solve some of these problems.

The results of the surveys yielded these main comments:

Of the 74 surveyed, 50 out of 74 were well informed about the problems relating to Laurel Creek. Of these 50, 70% were in favour of naturalization, either through bank naturalization or conversion of the creek back to its natural form as a cold water stream. This was suggested to be done through human intervention or by allowing nature to take its course in restoring the original creek ecosystem. 30% of the people wanted the creek cleaned up and water quality improved by dredging, but did not support naturalization or returning the creek to its original form. Generally most people were informed of this issue and wanted something to be done to improve the water quality. (see chart) Alternative landscaping and naturalization could vastly improve the quality of the water.

13.0 THE ROLE OF KITCHENER TRANSIT

Kitchener Transit Concerns on Campus Landscaping

The main concern is in a proposed terminal to be located on the University of Waterloo campus. With this proposed transit centre, Kitchener Transit (KT) has quite a few concerns. They would like the transit centre to be in a well lit, open area with easy and quick access for pedestrians wanting to use the transit system. Lighting and open space is a key issue for KT. By having certain areas open and lit, the removal of certain trees and large obtrusive objects is proposed. There has yet to be an agreed upon spot for this transit centre, but there are three locations in mind.

KT views naturalization in terms of security vs. naturalization. The more trees and closed spaces which exist the less safe people will feel and, in turn fewer people will ride the bus. It is necessary to mention however, that many varieties of low-growing, attractive shrubs and perennials are available for planting which would lessen the polarization of naturalization and security concerns.

The landscaping along the bus route needs to be exciting for people to be interested as they ride the bus. Colourful flowers and trees are important, yet they cannot be overly cluttered. KT has documented that if it is not a pleasant looking ride then people do not ride on that bus route.

KT was consulted at first about their input into the Master Plan. From their perspective, they wanted to be fully involved in developing the plan. They were never consulted after their first meeting and feel as though they were misrepresented in the Master Plan as they are not even mentioned in the final product.

14.0 PHILOSOPHIES OF LANDSCAPING

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many people, however, see beauty for what it is supposed to be. Landscapes, as with other pre-established forms and styles, fall under the influence of traditional ideas and values. Western society's traditional ideas of aesthetically pleasing landscapes stem from imitation of Victorian-age royalty and the wealth-induced practices of controlling nature and our surroundings. It is kept alive by our belief in growth and desire to "shape and mold the environment to our own appeal"- (Roydon Fraser, survey-interview). By exposing people to alternative landscape designs on campus, hopefully attitudes and values will change and people will see that aesthetically pleasing landscape can be achieved through less intensive practices and naturalization. Hopefully this will lead to acceptance of these practices and, in turn, more wide spread use.

15.0 OTHER POSSIBLE ERS 285 TOPICS RELATING TO CAMPUS LANDSCAPING

16.0 CONCLUSION

The final goal of this project was achieved as the stakeholders' needs in regards to campus landscaping were identified and addressed. The individual objectives were reached as areas of little concern as well as areas of contention were pin-pointed through stakeholder surveys. Suggestions for specific sites have been presented in this project in accordance with the needs of the stakeholders.

Although the Master Plan covers a broad array of issues it can still be used as an template for future landscaping development. Through the investigation of this project it has become clear that an issue such as landscaping is viewed differently by all stakeholders. By having identified the stakeholders and their needs, as well as providing simple and easy suggestions for the interim, a foundation has been laid for future projects.

17.0 CONTACTS

UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO

(519) 888-4567

Patti Bester
ERS Undergraduate Administrative Assistant
E-mail: pmbester@mc1adm.uwaterloo.ca
ES1 212 ext. 6576

Bob Gibson
Associate ERS Professor
ext. 3407

Jerry Hutton
Plant Operations
ext. 2537

Derek Kirkland
KW Field Naturalist
ext. 6418

Larry Lamb
Ecology Technician
ext. 2646

Liz Leedham
Eco-research
ext. 3728

Larry Martin
Planning Professor
ext. 2792

Judy McCrae
Director of Athletics
E-mail: jamccrae @ watserv1.uwaterloo.ca
PAC 2054 ext. 3663

Catherine Scott
Assistant Provost of Human Resources
NH 2056

John Wheatly
Community Relations
ext. 3276

CHURCH COLLEGES

Paul Penner
Conrad Grebel
(519) 885-0220 ext. 231

RESIDENCES

Gail Clarke
Housing Manager
E-mail: giclarke@mc6adm.uwaterloo.ca
V1 Office ext. 5634

SECURITY & SAFETY

Al Mackenzie
Director of Security
ext. 2828

Kevin Stuart Director of Safety
ext. 5814

WATGREEN COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Committee Chair:

Patti Cook
Waste Management Coordinator
E-mail: plcook@icr.uwaterloo.ca
DC 3125 ext. 3245

FACULTY REPRESENTATIVES

Engineering:
Roydon Fraser
E-mail: rafraser@mechoffice.watstar.uwaterloo.ca
CPH 33751 ext. 4764

Applied Health Sciences:
Paul Eagles
Watgreen Committee Chair
Recreation and Leisure Studies
E-mail: eagles@healthy.uwaterloo.ca
BMH 2214 ext. 2716

Environmental Studies:
Greg Michalenko
ES Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies
Environment and Resources Studies
ES1 ext. 6577

Mathematics:
Winston Cherry
Statistics and Actuarial Science
E-mail: wcherry@jeeves.uwaterloo.ca
MC 6153 ext. 5507

OTHER PARTICIPANTS

Cheryl Hendrickson
ERS Graduate

Blair Allen
Kitchener Transit
741-2566