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CSLA 2020 - Ryan Coates - Region 40: A National Park for the Anthropocene Epoch
Landscapes, whether safeguarded or squandered, reveal a society’s values. Landscapes are always more than they appear to be; more than form or content, they reflect ethics, represent human relationships with the environment, and are repositories of imagination. No landscape type encompasses this better than the national park, which Parks Canada promotes as “tangible links not only with the past and the present but with the future”. These vignettes have historically showcased the Canadian landscape and our relationship to it as we would like it to be. However, projecting an environmental imagination that does not consider the landscape as it is, will lead to a failure to anticipate what it will become in our descent further into the Anthropocene. The Canadian landscape as it is, is one of extraction, urbanization and consequent ecosystem degradation, all contributing to the feedback loop of global warming. These landscape acts not only reconfigure ecosystems, regions and territories, they reconfigure relationships, dreams and possibility. These are the landscapes and systems we must take responsibility for; first we must incorporate them into our collective environmental imagination as nationally significant environments. These landscapes, their effects - and their reclamation - are the landscapes of Parks Canada’s future.

May 13, 2021 02:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Ryan Coates
Sessional Instructor @University of Manitoba
Ryan Coates holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture (2018) and Bachelors degree in Environmental Design (2011) from the University of Manitoba and was named a University Olmsted Scholar in 2017 based on his thesis research. Ryan is currently a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba where he teaches courses and studios in the first and fourth years of the Environmental Design Program. His research is concerned with how anthropogenic landscapes become part of a societal heritage through their incorporation into enviro/cultural systems such as Parks Canada. Previously Ryan has worked and designed for Parks Canada in Riding Mountain National Park. Ryan continues to work and design landscapes that consider how we relate to a changing planet as well as how we have changed it.