SALA alum designs ice-skating trail for commuters in Edmonton

A Yahoo! Health article lists eco-friendly commuting options and features School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) alumnus Matt Gibbs’ seven-mile Edmonton Freezeway. The Freezeway is a man-made ice trail that allows commuters to ice skate to work and would change into a bike path during the summer. The pilot project is set to be implemented next winter.  

SALA prof gives insight to Robson Street’s 2015 summer plaza

Fewer people are stopping to enjoy this year’s Robson installation, and School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) Assistant Professor and Director of Matthew Soules Architecture (MSA) Inc. Matthew Soules agrees the installation is not working as well as it could, but commends the project for taking risks with regards to its architecture. Soule says, “what’s really great about doing a temporary installation is that it can take greater risks than something that’s permanent…next year will learn from this year.”

SCARP prof explains how ecodesign can help build sustainable cities

More than half of the world’s population is now living in cities. According to School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) Distinguished Practice Professor of Planning and former Chief Planner for the City of Vancouver Larry Beasley, that number is only set to increase. In a UBC interview, Professor Beasley talks about his new book, Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs, defining what ecodesign is, and why it is important to build a more livable future.

UBC engineering students make rescue robots for grades and glory

Sixteen second-year Engineering Physics students competed in the pet-rescue robot competition as part of their final exam of a 12-week prototyping course. The student teams built robots to race against each other in an obstacle course to rescue stuffed animals representing pets trapped in burning buildings. Andrew Ho, a student on the winning team, says they spent 10-12 hours on average each day for five weeks designing their robot, Bobbot.

SALA prof advises female interns to become registered architects

A Vancouver Sun article notes how there are significantly less female architects at the partner level since women find it difficult to balance business with personal lives. School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) Adjunct Professor Joanna Gates advises her female interns to get registered to become a fully qualified architect and addresses the challenge of returning after a break. “It is a fatiguing process that takes around five years to complete, and it’s hard to come back to if you stop, regardless of gender.” 

SALA prof and architect pay tribute to the beauty of a construction site

School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) Assistant Professor and Matthew Soules Architecture (MSA) Inc. Director Matthew Soules collaborated with architect Rebecca Bayer to design “City Fabric,” a public art installation that highlights the beauty of “profoundly normal” material using construction nettings. The 800-feet netting, typically used to protect passerby from construction hazards, was installed under the Burrard Street Bridge. The display runs from August 1 to September 30.

CIVL prof looks to Australia as world leader of water conservation

Metro Vancouver has succeeded in bringing down water consumption by 20 per cent in the past 10 years, but it’s Australia who leads in water conservation, according to Civil Engineering Adjunct Professor Troy Vassos. In New South Wales, all new homes are required to incorporate water-saving features such as dual-flush toilets and on-site treatment of greywater recovered from baths, showers and laundry. Vassos says greywater can be used for toilet flushing, which represents as much as 40 per cent of indoor water use, and for landscape irrigation.

MECH PhD student cites importance of communication cues in human-robot interaction

CBC’s The National featured Hitchbot’s long journey across many countries, citing it as a great case study in human-robot interaction. According to its creators, Hitchbot showed that people and robots can really get along. But there are a few caveats: the robot cannot look too much like us, and the robot must communicate in ways that are familiar to humans. At UBC, researchers are working on human-robot communication, such as where robots should look, for instance, when they hand over an object.

NURS prof demystifies sleepwalking

School of Nursing Professor Wendy Hall explains sleepwalking on Global TV following the death of Canadian interior designer Chris Hyndman who was a sleepwalker. Hall says sleepwalking usually happens after the first one or three hours of sleep. During sleepwalking, the person is only partially awake and do not realize what they are doing. They do not have the same visual cues as someone who is fully awake, so it is entirely possible that they can walk into objects and potentially fall out of windows.

SCARP prof discovers majority of foreign investors not leaving condos empty in 2007

UBC professors discuss the connection between Vancouver’s housing debate and fear of foreign investors driving up real estate prices. In 2009, urban planner and School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) Adjunct Professor Andy Yan investigated whether foreign owners purchasing condos in downtown Vancouver were leaving them empty. The study found that only 5.5–8 per cent of the condos were in fact empty.

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