Liz Wreford on diversity in architecture

Today I talk with one of my closest and oldest friends, Liz. We’ve known each other since we were 2.

She is the Principal Landscape Architect of Public City, is super inspiring and doing some incredible things in Canada.

Here, we talk about diversity and inclusion in architecture. And much of what she talks about isn’t what you would expect.

We talk about how people toboggan in Winnipeg, where it’s completely flat. And why they won a prestigious award with this project.

A winter game that has become a national (and now international) phenomenon, which was invented by Liz and her team.

We talk about how you walk down the street in Winnipeg in the winter when it’s -40 Celsius (-65 degrees with the wind chill).

And she’ll get you thinking.

How do we contribute to social change with architecture?

What does diversity and inclusion look like in architecture?

What happens if the voice of minority groups aren’t included in big decisions that impact everyone in a city.

And super interesting architectural solutions that respond to Covid.

And so much more.

Grab a coffee or throw on those running shoes and get stuck in.

To check out more of what Liz is involved with, check out these links:
https://www.publiccityarchitecture.com/

@publiccityarch

https://www.beaprairies.com/

@beaprairies

https://www.storefrontmb.ca/

@storefront_mb

00:00:07:19 – 00:00:29:12
Philippa White
So, the questions are these How can we really activate the best of the private sector to meet the challenges of the real world? Is there a way to accelerate my career that doesn’t involve boring online or classroom courses? And can I really impact people in the developing world with the skills that I have? Can I finally feel proud of what I know?

00:00:30:04 – 00:00:54:03
Philippa White
Those are the questions, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Philippa White, and this is TIE Unearthed. Keep listening and you can follow us on our journey as we show you how we’re connecting the private sector with the social sector. To me, change.

00:00:55:12 – 00:01:24:07
Philippa White
Hello everyone. I’m Phillipa White here and welcome to Episode 17 of TIE Unearthed Podcast. Today I’m chatting with my oldest friend, Liz Reefer. Now we’ve known each other since we were two. Liz is super inspiring and she’s doing incredible things in Canada. And today we’re going to be talking about diversity and inclusion in architecture. Now, that’s something I actually hadn’t stopped to think much about before, and I’m guessing maybe some of our listeners hadn’t either.

00:01:24:07 – 00:01:29:03
Philippa White
So, I’m just super excited to have you here. Liz So Liz, great to have you.

00:01:29:18 – 00:01:32:04
Liz Wreford
Thanks for having me. This is really fun and exciting.

00:01:33:18 – 00:01:57:09
Philippa White
Now, before I go any further, let me tell people a little bit more about you. So, Liz referred is the principal landscape architect of Public City and has professional experience across Canada, the United States and Australia. Now, Liz has taught design studios in the universities of Toronto and Manitoba. She was recently appointed to the Board of directors of the Winnipeg Arts Council.

00:01:57:14 – 00:02:23:10
Philippa White
And in 2018, Liz founded Building Equality in Architect to the Prairies to advance excellence and diversity across city building professions in Central Canada. And obviously, we’re going to be talking a bit about that today because I find it fascinating. Liz is also the co-executive director of Storefront Manitoba, where she continues her advocacy work in the built environment and the public realm.

00:02:23:10 – 00:02:25:01
Philippa White
So, Liz, it’s an honor.

00:02:25:16 – 00:02:26:23
Liz Wreford
And thanks for having me.

00:02:28:08 – 00:02:48:18
Philippa White
Now, we thought I’d start this off because I there aren’t very many people or really anyone else, actually, who will be on this podcast who knows me as well as you do. We’ve known each other for SC for a long time and growing up, for those of you who are listening, neither of us had extended family close by.

00:02:48:18 – 00:03:12:11
Philippa White
So, our families became our extended family. We had Christmas and Thanksgiving together every year. We went to school together. We rode for the for the province of Manitoba together in the same boat. So, yeah, I have my memories, but I should put this on you. What’s a memory that stands out from us growing up?

00:03:12:14 – 00:03:31:03
Liz Wreford
Oh, you know, like, there’s so many and I and so many of just like, being on our street, we lived a few houses away from each other when we were really little, and I think we were so lucky to have that we just go back and forth through each other’s houses and but like, this is the first thing that popped into my mind.

00:03:31:04 – 00:03:37:14
Liz Wreford
It might be embarrassing, but remember, that’s how we got married. We had like. We had like a street wedding.

00:03:39:09 – 00:03:49:09
Philippa White
So, so funny because there was. Yeah, actually, that’s so funny. I don’t remember that. But I think I saw the pictures recently. My sister might have sent them to me. I think I was the man.

00:03:49:09 – 00:03:58:18
Liz Wreford
Yeah, and I was the woman, and your sister was the priest, and my sister was like the guest or something.

00:04:00:03 – 00:04:07:07
Philippa White
So now that I know that you’ve actually said that I need to dig those pictures out ago because we do so many.

00:04:07:10 – 00:04:13:05
Liz Wreford
So many treasures trove like through the years just I don’t know, we’ve been through a lot together and.

00:04:14:10 – 00:04:33:07
Philippa White
We. Yeah. I’m just going to say one word. Montreal. And that’s it. Yeah, I believe that. Yeah, because we’ll leave it at that. Yes. Rowing. Rowing. Rowing is good. Good, good.

00:04:33:17 – 00:04:34:15
Liz Wreford
Good parties.

00:04:36:01 – 00:05:03:02
Philippa White
Yeah. So, let’s let’s get a little bit more serious. So, I would love you to just talk to us about Public City and the work you do because you’ve I mean, being here in Brazil, obviously, I’m super for I couldn’t be further away from the reality of Winnipeg. But I get the the sort of the updates on social media and the various interviews that you’re being into, you know, things that you’re talking about and winning so many awards and doing so many amazing things.

00:05:03:02 – 00:05:06:06
Philippa White
So, I just want people to know, you know, what is public City all about?

00:05:06:17 – 00:05:39:04
Liz Wreford
So Public City is a transdisciplinary design studio where we we are landscape architects and architects. I own it with my partner, Peter Simpson, who’s an architect. I’m a landscape architect and we’re based in Winnipeg, but we have work across Canada in multiple cities. And Winnipeg is really a northern city. It’s, you know, I think one of the most populous, most northern cities in the world.

00:05:39:15 – 00:06:00:22
Liz Wreford
And so, we’ve we’ve lately been doing a lot of sort of winter focus social infrastructure type projects. One of them we do a lot of stuff, like we have a huge range of projects that we do at these lands are kind of the ones that I like to talk about the most maybe. And that’s, you know, kind of the closest to me.

00:06:02:05 – 00:06:20:09
Liz Wreford
One of them was recently won a couple of awards. It’s called Manor Toboggan, and it’s the first and only, we think, accessible toboggan slide. And most people listening are going to be like, what is it, toboggan slide that you just walking down a hill.

00:06:20:13 – 00:06:20:22
Philippa White
You.

00:06:21:22 – 00:07:02:12
Liz Wreford
Got actually in Winnipeg, it’s like totally flat. So, there aren’t any hills for the toboggan down. So, we actually have to build the hills. So, this is like a giant playground slide made of steel and wood as the tallest one, 16 feet in the air. And you slide down these ice chutes and its fog. And it sounds kind of crazy, but it’s like this one actually has a ramp that leads up to one of the toboggan chutes so that people with mobility issues or even just parents pulling their kids on at the bargain cannot have to deal with the stairs, which is a typical issue with these bogus slides that are all over the

00:07:02:13 – 00:07:30:13
Liz Wreford
city. So, it won an International Olympic Committee Award for Design Excellence in Recreation Efforts, and it also won a Paralympic Committee Award for Excellence in Accessible Design. And one of the reasons I think it won is because it actually gauges people with accessibility issues and not just allowing them to watch sports or recreation, but actually allows them to engage in it.

00:07:30:13 – 00:07:57:11
Liz Wreford
So, so that’s a really, really cool one. And then and then maybe the other one is Croaker Curl, which is also really geared, I don’t know, like no one’s again going to know what I’m talking about. But it’s a combination of curling and coke and all coke and all is a regional game that we play in the prairies and in Ontario, and it’s almost unknown everywhere else in the world.

00:07:57:20 – 00:08:16:18
Liz Wreford
But we developed like a kind of hybrid of those two games which played on the ice surface in the winter. And it’s kind of like circular curling, I guess. And the idea is to get curling rocks into the center of this ice rink thing. Lots of an online.

00:08:16:18 – 00:08:36:10
Philippa White
Yeah. And also, and also just to be clear, because you invented. Yes, right. I mean, obviously, you didn’t invent curling. Everyone should know about curling going to the other game, which I can’t say Cold Crocodile, which is a game that exists. But Curl has actually become a yeah, yeah.

00:08:36:13 – 00:09:06:18
Liz Wreford
If I’m not. Yeah, we, we had my office invented it a few years ago and it was built in Winnipeg in 2017 and then it took off all around Canada was crazy. And just like I’ve lost count where it’s been built, I think probably in its 30 places across Canada. And then yesterday I just had a long discussion with someone in Wisconsin in the States and that they are really hoping to do the perfect curl epicenter is, I don’t know, the United States or something.

00:09:07:00 – 00:09:11:14
Liz Wreford
So, it’s actually traveling out of Canada now, which is really cool.

00:09:12:14 – 00:09:19:10
Philippa White
And cool. It’s so amazing. I’m proud of you. And it’s just. Yeah, and then and then there’s the other one as well.

00:09:19:10 – 00:09:48:19
Liz Wreford
Who got houses, sort of where it all started, which is a warming hut that we designed for the Assiniboine River Skating Trail and Red River Skating Trail. This is like it’s the longest skating trail in the world. It’s just on a natural frozen river. It goes right through the center of the city. And it’s like it’s been amazing to see how people have really embraced these skating skills, especially this year when we’re not, we can’t do very much.

00:09:49:13 – 00:10:12:21
Liz Wreford
They’re so busy. And I mean, it makes you just really appreciate Winnipeg for what it is. It’s it is really cold. But we say we have committed winters, not like a lot of other cities. So, we can actually, like commit to winter infrastructure investing in that and this place and like really enjoying it. And I’ve seen a huge change in, in people’s attitudes towards winter.

00:10:12:21 – 00:10:32:23
Liz Wreford
People go outside, I think, a lot more and engage in all this amazing stuff that’s happening around the city in the winter. And we’re really quite lucky and it makes you almost see this. You know, our winter could almost be like an exotic kind of experience. There’s not that many other people have the experience that we have here.

00:10:34:04 – 00:11:03:23
Philippa White
I agree. And I mean, I remember seeing it was actually I think it was a festival that went across Canada. But a couple of years ago, I think I remember seeing there was this beautiful concert that was taking place in Winnipeg, but I think it was in other places using ice as musical instruments. I think and I mean, like you say, turning winter into a proper sort of adventure and, you know, an exciting time to look forward to when I grew up, which was kind.

00:11:03:23 – 00:11:05:01
Liz Wreford
Of another way.

00:11:06:01 – 00:11:29:13
Philippa White
Of course, ever, you know, and just just for people listening who maybe don’t know where Winnipeg is. So, Winnipeg is at the center of Canada like it’s close. It’s very close to the US border, but it’s like smack dab in the middle of Canada and it in the wintertime the thermometer goes to -30, I mean 35, 44 Celsius.

00:11:30:07 – 00:11:55:05
Philippa White
Yeah. I mean, oh my God. And so that’s -35. And then with the wind chill, it’s -60. I mean, I remember it being like, you can’t. You have to. I remember walking to school. I mean, for you, this is normal. But obviously it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced this. You know, you walk to school, and you have like you’re too cool and your hat and your neck warmer and then, you know, to actually have your eyes exposed.

00:11:55:05 – 00:12:09:10
Philippa White
I remember having to cut my hands sort of under my chin and like over kind of my eyes. Then you blow, and then you blow this hot air that sort of warms up your eyes. So, then you get to school, and your eyelashes are always like froze.

00:12:09:17 – 00:12:12:12
Liz Wreford
And you can go outside with wet hair because it’ll like break off.

00:12:13:14 – 00:12:16:20
Philippa White
It freezes. Yeah. Yeah. It’s pretty crazy. You know.

00:12:16:21 – 00:12:20:14
Liz Wreford
Actually, we’ve had a beautiful winter this year. It’s only gotten cold in the last few days.

00:12:22:12 – 00:12:42:16
Philippa White
And it’s amazing that you’ve embraced it as well. I just find that incredible because I know that you’re not a big fan of winter, but it’s amazing to turn diversity into sort of adversity. Sorry, adversity into okay, let’s embrace this. We can’t like we have winter; we can’t sort of not have so let’s have fun and do amazing things.

00:12:42:16 – 00:12:45:05
Philippa White
And you guys have done that which I just find so.

00:12:45:23 – 00:12:50:00
Liz Wreford
Best in the place that we live in, right? Yes.

00:12:50:07 – 00:13:15:19
Philippa White
Yeah, that’s super amazing. So, to that point, actually, I’d love to just ask you about the prairies. Now, you I think I said that right before. Yeah. Okay. So, you be a prairie and why you set it up? Because I’d love to know, how does diversity play a part in your work? What are some of the challenges you face in your profession?

00:13:15:19 – 00:13:30:04
Philippa White
Like I mentioned when I introduced, you hadn’t stopped to think about the importance of considering diversity and inclusion in architecture. But what you do relates so much to that, and you really do need to think about it. What are some challenges but also some solutions now? Sure, I’d love to.

00:13:30:04 – 00:14:07:06
Liz Wreford
Just so be I actually started in Toronto based on for building quality and architecture. It was started in Toronto a few years ago by prominent women leaders of architecture firms, just as as a way to sort of lift everyone up, provide mentorship opportunities, and to address that gender gap that’s quite obvious in architecture. When I was teaching in Toronto, I was asked to start B.A. in the Prairies, and so this did that for us.

00:14:07:09 – 00:14:34:14
Liz Wreford
So, I see going from an organization that’s operating with basically almost only architects in one city, major city, very big city, and then trying to kind of change it around so that it could actually work in the prairie region, which is three provinces with actually less population or maybe around the same as Toronto, but a huge geographic area.

00:14:35:04 – 00:14:59:22
Liz Wreford
So, it was definitely a challenge that was sort of put on me. So, make this work is I know you could do it. So, I was like, Sure, yeah, no problem. So, but anyway, when I brought it back here and started talking to a few people in the professions here, there was huge uptake. Really quickly, I also was able to start it in Calgary and we’re trying to make connections across other parts of the prairies too.

00:14:59:22 – 00:15:27:00
Liz Wreford
But when we started talking about how it would look for Winnipeg would be a should be in Winnipeg, we realized that it needed to be a much more diverse group of people for it to be successful. So, it couldn’t just be architects, but it had to be call it the city building professions. So, architects, landscape architects, the timeline of interior designers, planners, urban planners, and then even expanding into the construction industry and engineers.

00:15:28:06 – 00:15:50:21
Liz Wreford
So, and that it also had to be more than equality. It had to be about equity, which we felt pretty strongly. So, in a way for us, that maybe title of the Prairies should actually be something like building equity in the city, building professions in the prairies or something like that. Yeah. So, it looks different here than it looks in other places.

00:15:50:21 – 00:16:15:15
Liz Wreford
And that’s kind of the point of the organizing is that it can kind of move around and and, you know, be what it needs to be for, for people. And I think there’s a couple of examples of why it’s important. One is a gender gap that is pretty well documented. There’s a pretty equal number of women and men that are in school, in architecture.

00:16:15:23 – 00:16:43:24
Liz Wreford
And when I say architecture, I actually kind of mean the city building profession. So, I’ll say architecture and landscape architecture things. And so pretty equal in school, pretty equal as interns. So that’s just entering the profession in the first two to sort of four years of working in the profession. But the number of registered architects or licensed architects really, really drops down, like in terms of the number of licensed female architects.

00:16:44:22 – 00:17:09:06
Liz Wreford
So, I would have, you know, it’s about 5050 for interns and it goes down to about 20% for for registered architects. So, there’s a real gap there. And that’s sort of like the that’s sort of like the missing link. So, what happens in that time where a lot of a lot of women are having kids? And that’s an issue.

00:17:09:24 – 00:17:39:07
Liz Wreford
But there’s a lot of other other other issues there, too. And there was a study like a quick kind of overview done in Saskatchewan, which is the next province over. There’s actually only a little over 100 registered architects there. And at the time of this survey that was done, there was only 28 female members. Six of six firms in Saskatchewan had female leadership.

00:17:39:07 – 00:18:22:08
Liz Wreford
So, females in leadership positions, but zero of them had more than 50% of women in leadership roles. So, with over 50% of have a role in the firm and none of them were owned exclusively by women. So, there’s there’s like a real lack not necessarily of women in the position, although that is an issue. And where that where that sort of gap happens is and why that happens is something that we talk about a lot, but also but also the lack of leadership or women in leadership positions, that’s really something that’s lacking.

00:18:22:08 – 00:18:49:11
Liz Wreford
And so, there’s nothing for younger women and interns to sort of model themselves against when they’re looking ahead into their profession. They can’t see themselves. They’re so, you know, kind of celebrar doing the work that women are doing in the profession, finding ways to talk about, you know, lack of flexibility in the profession, things like even subsidized childcare, which we don’t really get into.

00:18:49:11 – 00:19:13:08
Liz Wreford
But you can see differences in numbers of women in architecture in provinces that have subsidized childcare, like in Quebec. But there’s also still like documented harassment and sexism. And then also just like a general underlying concept that women just aren’t as good at it as men are in this profession. So, all of those things are things that we kind of deal with and try.

00:19:13:12 – 00:19:42:12
Liz Wreford
And yet, like, I said, celebrate the work of women in architecture, but and also the prairies really try to look at the other kind of gaps in our profession, too. And, and, and there’s a lot of underrepresented groups in architecture. One of the main ones that we talk about a lot, because it’s important to the place we live, is the lack of indigenous people in the profession.

00:19:42:12 – 00:20:17:04
Liz Wreford
So, in Winnipeg, Winnipeg’s the seventh largest city in Canada, but it has the largest urban indigenous population. So only 5% of Canada’s population is indigenous, but 12% of Winnipeg’s is and 18% of Manitoba’s is, which is the province Winnipeg is in. So, it’s actually a huge a huge percentage of our population. And we are designing cities for that population and places and buildings and landscapes and planning for for all of those people.

00:20:17:04 – 00:20:58:13
Liz Wreford
Winnipeg is a very diverse city, very, very diverse. There’s a lot of new Canadians that live here and we’re designing for them, but we are not them. And architecture is almost completely white. There are only 15 indigenous architects in Canada, so that is one fifth of 1% of architects in Canada are indigenous. And yet where we wear on their traditional lands and so we, we do land acknowledgments at the beginning of all of our meetings and all of our public presentations.

00:20:58:13 – 00:21:31:08
Liz Wreford
And, you know, all of Canada’s land is traditional territories that we are we’re changing in our work. And, you know, it’s the subject of our work. And how do we how do we really engage with that? How to how do we contribute to social change in architecture when architecture is actually absent from a lot of the discussions, like in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission call to action architecture was actually not really part of that.

00:21:31:08 – 00:21:35:08
Philippa White
And yeah, so this is this is I mean, this is obviously.

00:21:35:08 – 00:21:35:16
Liz Wreford
Huge.

00:21:35:16 – 00:21:59:19
Philippa White
Topic because this topic and, you know, can’t necessarily cover it all off in the time that I would like to. But I do have one question just around this, which I think maybe some people are thinking how right now I are mean, at least there are women involved in some way and can be part of some kind of part of the conversation to try and find ways to improve things.

00:22:00:01 – 00:22:13:07
Philippa White
But for the point of view of the indigenous population in Canada, specifically Winnipeg, because that’s where you’re based, are they even part of this discussion? Like have they have the is there is there a way to do that? Are you being you guys doing what we’re trying to?

00:22:13:08 – 00:22:44:10
Liz Wreford
But that’s sort of the problem because there are very few because there’s few indigenous architects, there’s not very many people to to look at and see what they’re doing. And then there’s not a lot of theirs there’s a definite growing population of Indigenous students in architecture, which is great, but we talk a lot about maybe it’s even before university that we need to start sort of advocating for our professions to a more diverse population.

00:22:44:10 – 00:23:19:21
Liz Wreford
So, we actually be going into high schools to talk to grade 11 or Grade 12 students about planning or architecture. Landscape architecture is a is an important part of creating a diverse place for us all to live in. And we need your voice to be part of it. And that’s not really happening. So, I’m hoping that B.A. and or Storefront will be able to start sort of advocating for our professions at an earlier age to start changing the diversity of our profession.

00:23:19:21 – 00:23:43:23
Liz Wreford
Because it can’t just happen. It can’t really happen now. It can’t happen when your passion, diversity can. You can a little bit. But it’s not going to make a significant impact unless we actually change who’s going into those professions. It’s it’s a predominantly white and male profession and across the world. And that really needs to change. Yeah.

00:23:44:11 – 00:24:10:22
Philippa White
So, this brings me a really fascinating and I think, you know, this brings me beautifully to something else I wanted to just talk to you about because obviously I am so excited that the prairies is getting involved with TIE Accelerator this year. So, I’m really excited to work with Jay Benge to represent your network. So okay, shout out to Jeff.

00:24:11:02 – 00:24:36:08
Philippa White
Yeah, super excited and yeah, just really looking forward to kind of touching on diversity and inclusion and doing it from our point of view through TIE accelerator and kind of bringing these two movements together. And so, for our listeners that don’t know what TIE does, we, we create changemakers by helping people step out of their bubble and see the world through a different lens.

00:24:36:08 – 00:24:59:12
Philippa White
And we do this by connecting people from various professions with social initiatives in developing countries. And the idea is to unleash an energy in these people who basically end up returning more aware of their potential and proud of what they know, but also insights to how other people work, other, other places around the world work, but also a reflection on perhaps what else they need to know.

00:24:59:12 – 00:25:15:20
Philippa White
And I think in light of what you’ve talked about, I find this really, really interesting, what Jay is going to be working on. She’s going to be working with a team of four others from around the world on a number of from a number of different professions. And it’s sort of a six-week program, 2 hours a day.

00:25:15:20 – 00:25:40:14
Philippa White
And they’re going to be virtually helping as street children’s organization in Zambia and helping them pivot in response to COVID. And I just love to understand from your point of view why why do more people in professions like architecture need to have these types of and expert experiences? What do you hope the impact will be on on GIA, but also on the B Prairies Network?

00:25:40:23 – 00:26:24:18
Liz Wreford
Just I think it’s such an exciting opportunity and you were really so happy to be able to offer it. One of our members and Jay is going to be great and it’s just going to come back with so much. I think I’m actually quite jealous. I wish I was doing it to or that I had time. But but yeah, I just think that there’s so many opportunities, maybe lessons that can be learned in working in this kind of way, with being able to reach outside of this definite bubble that we work with in and and learn how important it is to make connections from all different disciplines and to come together and be able to

00:26:24:18 – 00:26:48:09
Liz Wreford
make significant change in a short amount of time. And and I think there’s so much change that needs to happen in Winnipeg and in Manitoba and Canada. And, you know, there’s a lot of advocacy work that can be done here, and there are a lot of people in need here and being able to bring back some of those skills and experiences and applying them to the place that we live.

00:26:49:13 – 00:27:13:21
Liz Wreford
I’m I’m just so looking forward to hearing her perspective on that. So that we can start using that as a baseline for like initiatives that we have here through B and through fronts. And really starting to understand because you’ve done it before you you know how to engage that so well. And you know, if we can bring a little bit of that back and start to do it here and make a difference, that’s amazing.

00:27:13:21 – 00:27:26:17
Liz Wreford
I would love to be able to. And then and then I also think just being able to like architecture is such a bubble. Like it’s such a bubble. We just talk to ourselves all the time and having more outreach.

00:27:27:08 – 00:27:28:04
Philippa White
Like that, that’s a.

00:27:28:04 – 00:27:49:16
Liz Wreford
Huge thing and we just have to do more of it and more of it. And even this opportunity today is is so great because, you know, being able to talk about these things with people that I don’t usually and, you know, I don’t get that opportunity. Like it’s all it’s like conferences are all the same people and our meetings are all the same people.

00:27:49:16 – 00:27:57:12
Liz Wreford
And I’m even podcast, they’re all the same people and you know, there’s just so much more. But yeah.

00:27:57:12 – 00:28:18:04
Philippa White
Yeah. And it’s, it’s interesting. When we were talking to Jay last week, I found it interesting her when, you know, when I asked her, you know, so what do you excited about? Does this sound like a good fit? And she was really, really up for it. And she said, it’s funny because growing up, particularly people in Winnipeg, actually people have to leave, don’t they?

00:28:18:04 – 00:28:46:02
Philippa White
I mean, you lived in Australia for a while. You lived in Seattle, you know, every like Winnipeg. Yeah. So isolated. Everyone kind of leaves for a bit, but then everyone comes home because your family’s there and you sort of you want, you know, you have your roots there. And so most people go home. And she said, so as a as a younger or adolescent or, you know, a younger adult, I had these experiences, but now, you know, I’ve got a family and I’ve got kids and I’m kind of stuck.

00:28:46:02 – 00:29:08:10
Philippa White
And I’m it’s going to be difficult for me to kind of snap out of this bubble. But, you know, I tend to hang out with the same people, and I’m surrounded by the same colleagues and we’re having the same like you said, having the same conversations. And she said, what is so important in architecture, like you said, also, is, you know, when you’re building buildings are building spaces that include a whole lot of other people that we’re not even talking to.

00:29:08:10 – 00:29:23:03
Philippa White
How can we empathize with people if we’re not even you know, we need to be able to understand. We need to be able to ask questions. We need to be able to look for those that feedback. But if if people haven’t stopped to kind of think, you know, it’s important to get that feedback, then it’s not going to happen.

00:29:23:03 – 00:29:37:02
Philippa White
And so that’s obviously what we do. And I was so excited to hear that I’ve got I didn’t even think of this being applicable to architecture and yeah, it’s totally applicable to it. So yeah.

00:29:37:05 – 00:29:41:08
Liz Wreford
No, I think it’ll be, it’ll be really great. I’m really looking forward to hearing all of them.

00:29:41:22 – 00:29:52:21
Philippa White
Yeah. Well, we’ll have a we’ll have a follow up follow on podcast afterwards with Jay. And I’m sitting here sort of the, the other side because I’m also fascinated to.

00:29:52:21 – 00:29:58:24
Liz Wreford
Hear the take that especially from you from your hometown. That’s cool. Totally.

00:29:59:06 – 00:30:20:04
Philippa White
I know. Yeah. I’m super excited. Mostly I can say to Wolseley. Yeah. So, Liz, we’re coming to the end of the podcast, but I just wanted to know, what are you working on at the moment that you’d like to tell our listeners or what have I asked you about that?

00:30:20:07 – 00:30:48:14
Liz Wreford
Well, you know, I think for a long time we are working on or working on some cool stuff that’s actually in relation to like COVID restrictions that are quite heavily in place here and you know, two of these projects in Calgary where we’re working on finding ways to kind of create unconventional public open spaces where people can go if they’re living in condos or something and don’t have access to open space.

00:30:48:14 – 00:31:15:24
Liz Wreford
And parks are packed and, you know, people aren’t supposed to go to them, and they’re not supposed to be close to each other and all that. So that couple of really interesting projects, just like basically redefining what a park could be and like looking at parking lots and how they can act as park spaces. So, two of them we had built last summer in Calgary and then we’re working on phase two of the one called High Park.

00:31:15:24 – 00:31:25:05
Liz Wreford
That will be, I hope, installed this summer. So, it’s like it’s it’s kind of a new direction for landscape architecture, I think.

00:31:25:05 – 00:31:28:02
Philippa White
Yeah. Just, just what’s the I don’t even understand it.

00:31:28:02 – 00:31:29:04
Liz Wreford
So yeah. So, well that.

00:31:29:05 – 00:31:30:06
Philippa White
Was one of.

00:31:30:06 – 00:32:01:08
Liz Wreford
Them. They’re a little bit different, but one of them is called Park Park and it’s actually like a layered space so that it’s an active part paid parking lot that is also a public open space. So, we have these kind of like recreational opportunities, like little insertions throughout the parking lot that allow people to gather and interact and play and and stuff like that while keeping the parking lot, you know, active and making money.

00:32:01:11 – 00:32:02:07
Philippa White
Oh, wow.

00:32:02:07 – 00:32:23:07
Liz Wreford
So, it’s pretty cool. And then sometimes the parking lot to be closed for like a big, big event or something. But yeah, for the most part it’s actually like we got a permit to make it a dual use parking lot and public space, which is very cool. And I think and then this other one is like I think it’s six acres or something.

00:32:23:07 – 00:32:46:05
Liz Wreford
Two acres, six acres. It’s huge. It’s the whole top level of this gigantic parking lot in downtown Calgary. It’s called High Park and the Calgary Parking Authority, which we worked with on the other one too, is very progressive and basically just said, well, we’re not getting a lot of people parking up here. Our staff really should. We can’t remove the snow.

00:32:46:05 – 00:33:07:17
Liz Wreford
So, let’s just let’s just do this as a test and see if people will actually use the space to the park. So, so we put a bunch of infrastructure up there for, for just people to go and sit and like come together at a time where they, they aren’t really it’s a space for them to come together. So, this huge space is great because it’s, there’s a lot of room for everybody.

00:33:07:17 – 00:33:23:13
Liz Wreford
And and that one’s going into phase two this year where we’re going to be developing like a little stage and there’s going to be active play opportunities, seesaws and tetherball and a bunch of other stuff up there. So, looking forward to that.

00:33:24:15 – 00:33:48:09
Philippa White
Yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah, that’s really great. Wow. Well, listen, it has been so far, I’ve I’ve heard on the podcast I don’t yeah I never you that I started it and I’m just thrilled because this is just going to open so many people’s minds and I’m just so proud of you as well because you’re just doing so many amazing things.

00:33:48:09 – 00:33:52:15
Philippa White
And every time I see these articles coming out in interviews and Lizzie for doing this and yeah, but this.

00:33:53:09 – 00:34:07:01
Liz Wreford
Same goes to you that you’re like, I am proud of both of us, actually. You know, we’ve both done a lot of things. It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool to talk about it now. Yeah. And we have lots more. Lots more to do. It is.

00:34:07:01 – 00:34:17:04
Philippa White
Cool. Well, that was a good listener. Well, listen, take care. And we will, of course, be back soon. And yeah, lots of place.

00:34:17:12 – 00:34:23:18
Liz Wreford
Take care.

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