About Caroline Schutrumpf:

Profile: Recent graduate of the UBC Master of Landscape Architecture. My background is in Psychology and Environmental Studies and I am interested in the overarching social implications of planning, urban design, and landscape architecture.

Contact: cschutrumpf@gmail.com

Posts by Caroline Schutrumpf:

Once in a Lifetime

Thanks to Moster Pete on Flickr for this great Creative Commons image of his friend's Jimmy the Cornman tattoo, which gets him one free meal per day for the rest of his life at Casa Sanchez restaurant in San Francisco (or until they go out of business!)

 For the price of a Jimmy the Cornman tattoo, a lifetime of burritos was a bargain for some Casa Sanchez customers. 

Tranvia de Murcia is offering a similar deal: trade in your car for a lifetime transit pass. The campaign is intended to spark use of the new trolley system and reduce driving in the city of Murcia, Spain. The charming promotional videos highlight the frustrations of driving downtown. 

Casa … Continue Reading

All Eyes

Designing for safety often relies on “eyes on the street“. After recent moves from Vancouver to Whitehorse to Toronto, I have been considering how living in a much bigger city affects my safety.

Rioters and vandals in Vancouver's Stanley Cup riots earlier this month have since found themselves tagged and identified using social media. Thanks to Dustan Sept on Flickr for this evocative Creative Commons photo.

The assumption that urban anonymity leads to more crime is likely true. It makes sense that safety in smaller places is due to tighter networks and the increased likelihood of being caught or ostracized due to actions.

Fortunately, the digital shrinking of the world is mimicking the surveillance of a small town. Paired … Continue Reading

“This used to be an art gallery.”

A visitor relaxes in an indoor replica park at the "Park Here" exhibit in Openhouse Gallery, New York. Thanks to Katie Killary on Flickr for the Creative Commons photo!

Despite the disdain often attributed to artificial plants, natural replicas can be more than just entertaining. Park Here, an art installation at Openhouse Gallery in New York City, goes a step further. In stark contrast to the blustery outdoors, the inhabitable scene replicates a sunny day in the park, complete with chirping birds.

Exposure to nature has been proven to play a role in health and well-being, with documented benefits including relaxation, mental restoration, self control, flow experiences and childhood development. In addition, there are … Continue Reading

Bike, bike, revolution.

Thanks to Paul Krueger on Flickr for this gorgeous photo taken at Vancouver's Hornby Street separated bike lane.

The introduction of downtown bike lanes in Vancouver, Canada has been controversial. In contrast to the concerns about potential business losses and increased traffic congestion, investment into bike infrastructure has demonstrated economic benefits. A recent study from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies found that bicycling contributes $1.5 billion to Wisconsin’s economy every year through bike-related jobs, tourism, reduced health care costs, and a better quality of life.

Vancouver’s Hornby and Dunsmuir bike lanes serve several important functions that will have tangible and intangible benefits.

  • Downtown commuting is now a viable option for more than the most stylish bike courier.
  • The seawall is … Continue Reading

Urban Cemetery Update!

I have had a few more thoughts on green cemetery practices. I recently happened upon a sidewalk garden that is apparently being nourished by a cherished pet. The idea of resting where you lived and becoming a part of the scenery is an attractive one. How can this be accomplished in urban settings?

Burial marker for a beloved pet, on a residential roadside in Vancouver, BC. Photo by author.

Promession is a procedure similar to cremation that essentially results in compost. The body is frozen in liquid nitrogen, reduced to powder through ultrasonic vibration, and filtered of metals, which are recycled. The remainder is rapidly biodegradable and can be buried or scattered.

According to Barbara Higham, by confronting … Continue Reading

Agricultural Urbanism

Where you eat = what you eat. Thank to Janne Moren on Flickr for the captivating Creative Commons photo from Osaka, Japan

Urban agriculture is a beloved topic in Vancouver, but Mark Holland’s lecture today at the Gaining Ground Summit considered food through physical, social and spiritual lenses. In this light, the case  for agricultural urbanism is an issue of not just individual health but city health.

A brief list of the topics covered in Mark Holland’s lecture are as follows:


  • Sufficient food: having access to food
  • Landscape of unreal food: so enticing but there are diminishing returns with each bite
  • Health:  obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure
  • Where you eat = what you eat: When you can’t sit down, you eat on-the-go food
  • Public benches: So few … Continue Reading

Healing Cities

Cities should help people to reach the highest stage of development. Thanks to Lenbo for this wonderful Creative Commons photo from Beverly, MA.

The final day of the 2010 Gaining Ground Summit was dedicated to Healing Cities, referring both to the act of healing cities and cities that heal. The speakers included urbanists and health professionals that presented a holistic framework that can be applied to individuals and cities.

Nicole Moen, part of the Healing Cities Working Group, encouraged us to think of the city as an entity like the human body; something that is able to heal itself. Rather than being the opposite of sickness, healing is a fluid state of wholeness. She left … Continue Reading

Triple Bottom Line

John Knott’s development model combines a non-profit support structure with green building and social responsibility. Photo by author.

John Knott, unofficially referred to throughout this year’s Gaining Ground Summit as God, was the source of hope and inspiration on multiple fronts. In his lecture entitled “Capital Master Planning for Sustainable Communities: the Idea of the EcoBank,” he spoke about his Noisette Project and elaborated on the EcoBank concept.

A third generation developer, Knott understands that creating healthy and sustainable communities involves first healing social dysfunction and then dealing with economic dysfunction. Establishing a socially durable community uses a process similar to corporate strategic planning and has the same benefits of accessing great ideas and creating buy-in and ownership for the plan.

Redevelopment of Noisette, a … Continue Reading

“Put your money where your heart is”

James Schwinn spoke on the benefits of decentralizing and localizing the economy. This was one of his slides. Photo by author.

Day Two of the Gaining Ground Summit has been focused on economics. Mark Holland, the esteemed moderator and source of this post’s title, introduced the day by pointing out that a major concern for the Brundtland Commission was economy, and that the term “sustainability” was coined by economists.

The first speaker, James Schwinn, founder of Aixecar Inc., focused his “Financing Sustainability” talk on the benefits of decentralizing and localizing the economy. He spoke of the need to shift our approach to financial capital to the same approach that is applied to ecosystems: a bioregional model that is resilient, … Continue Reading

Logic of EcoLogical

Thanks to Gary Oppenheim on Flickr for this evocative Creative Commons photo

Jennie Moore, Director of Sustainable Development and Environmental Stewardship at the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s School of Construction and the Environment, gave a thought-provoking talk. Key points that stuck with me were three paradoxes of sustainability.

Paradoxes of Sustainability

1. Efficiency – doing more with less

BUT Where do the savings go? There is always a rebound effect, with an ultimate increase in demand

2. Growth – “the rising tide lifts all boats”

BUT the bottom billion are still there. The law of competitive advantage applies, with those at the top benefiting the most from growth.

3. Information – more and better information will help solve problems more effectively

BUT we are losing the information we need to live sustainably … Continue Reading

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