Goal Area 4: Application

A Living Design Laboratory and Test Site for Integrative Design

As a test bed for new ideas, South Campus is an ideal site for rapid prototype development due to its proximity to primary production of food, fibre, and fuel, a growing dense residential community, and a heterogenous natural landscape. On-site facilities can develop new ways for transforming organic waste and water (composting, waste-toenergy, biofuel applications, carbon capture and sequestration, biofiltration, etc.) that can be used as models that address some of the key sustainability issues facing global communities. As a community design lab and site for applied sciences design-build projects, the UBC Farm is an ideal location to develop low-footprint habitat, structures, and green technology aparatus for a range of operational and experimental uses. The Farm can help to close the loop on many linear systems currently operating on UBC Campus, and in doing so provide unique academic opportunities for grounded sustainability scholarship, research and learning.

Recommendations

Adopt site management principles that complement this plan, and link to academic opportunities. Principles will include metrics that can be quantitatively evaluated and include mandates to: ! Maintain and increase both natural richness and diversity at the genetic, species, community, and structural levels; ! Ensure that the Farm system is net energy positive/net carbon negative, contributing to a reduction in UBC's GHG emissions, and a net contributor of clean water to the campus; ! Improve the quality and availability of soil suitable for crop cultivation, and strive to minimize reliance upon non-renewable energy and materials for operations; ! Ensure that built development or infrastructure adheres to and positively impacts these sitewide management principles, and meets or exceeds standards such as those in the LEED Platinum framework; ! Through active stewardship of the fields and forests, create opportunities for research and education on globally significant sustainability issues (i.e., carbon sequestration in soils, clean energy development using renewable biological feedstocks, environmental remediation through establishing plant communities, urban water and nutrient cycling.); ! Use the design and implementation of activities at the Farm to provide ‘complete’ learning problems for students, building the skills and understanding to solve complex sustainability issues; ! Ensure that the natural, cultivated and built environment inspires wellbeing, creativity and reflection within the University and broader community.

Link with adjacent and on-campus uses to create innovative models and research opportunities for sustainable community development. Identify opportunities where the provision, storage, and transfer of energy, water, carbon, nutrients, food, and amenities between different components of adjacent areas can contribute towards UBC’s sustainability goals. Use the physical provision of food, fibre, or fuel (i.e., to CIRS cafeteria or UBC Food Services) as a conduit for learning and discovery. Integrate plans for development of adjacent residential and academic facilities to ensure that these opportunities are realized whenever possible. This may include utilizing on-site community amenities that are compatible with the academic programming, revising the South Campus stormwater management plan to take advantage of water re-cycling for agricultural uses, identifying sources of waste heat and organic material from nearby residential and academic development, and updating area-wide plans for circulation and infrastructure to anticipate increases in academic activity on the Farm. In all cases, these activities should be reviewed for scholarly potential in their design, development, building and assessment.

Assess and integrate the potential for on-site carbon sequestration and green infrastructure development that contribute towards UBC’s carbon neutral mandates and other commitments. Through the study of effective processes for sequestering carbon in managed landscapes at the farm scale, UBC has the opportunity to apply these techniques at larger scales for significant offset potential.

Secure external capital investment to develop facilities and infrastructure that enable and enhance growing innovative academic programming on site.In the long-term, new facilities will support of the 24-ha core area and adjacent uses as a modern, interactive outdoor learning space. Built facilities may include dry and wet-labs, classroom, meeting, and office spaces, flexible learning spaces, and residential suites linked with a new college. Infrastructure may include a comprehensive access, circulation, wayfinding, and signage plan that will support multiple modes of transportation with a preference for energy-efficient options. New pathways, road connections, parking, and transit access points need to be considered. All built development will conform to site management principles, particularly in improving the quality and availability of arable soil.

Develop and diversify a range of academically-linked, on-site enterprises to help finance site programming. Recognize the value of a “UBC Farm” brand and enhance its capacity to increase the value of goods and services derived from the Farm. Appropriate enterprises can help provide an academically useful microcosm, integrating economic dimensions of the system into learning objectives and research opportunities, while retaining a student-centred approach. The foundational and financially self-sustaining “working farm” will support overarching UBC Farm academic goals. Revenues from sales of goods and services assist in securing financing for the most promising ventures, particularly those with potential for spin-off development. The UBC Farm “brand” will also assist in student, alumni, and community engagement.

Use the opportunity granted by the official launch of this plan to launch specific, targeted fundraising campaigns.

Formalize the current designation of the 24-ha contiguous area on South Campus as an integrated academic use area, named “UBC Farm.”

Establish a dynamic governance system, housed in part within the proposed University Sustainability Initiative (USI) and led by faculty Associates, which will facilitate and maximize academic integration with UBC Farm.The farm will be guided by an academic director and an advisory board with multi-faculty representation and expertise in academic programming, business development, stakeholder relations, and land management. Ongoing representation from proposed Faculty Associates and Sustainability Fellows would provide strong connections to larger sustainability strategies. An advisory board or boards would integrate broader knowledge and expertise, especially in the realm of sustainable land and building management, business development and fundraising, and multi-stakeholder relationship management.