Project: Roundabout Vancouver
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Firm: Goodweather Collective
Year: 2011

Project Description: What would a metropolis in the Pacific Northwest look like if urban planners at the turn of the twentieth century had recognized and exploited the spatial potential of old-growth trees rather than their resource potential? Employing techniques of photomontage and urban mapping, we have proposed an anachronistic detour that decouples empirical fact from historical memory.

While in the present city of Vancouver, the center space of traffic roundabouts is given over to various sanctioned treatments—community gardens, a monumental rock, and so on—in this “retroprojective” proposal an alternative vision of the not-so-distant past is offered, one in which forward-thinking city planners leave an old-growth tree in the middle of each future roundabout.

With this simple gesture, we can envisage an entirely different city, one in which massive trees are no longer a rarity but instead fundamentally define and shape our movement through the urban fabric of Vancouver. While the singular presence of each tree is in itself remarkable, their collective existence is a legacy comparable in size and density to that of Stanley Park, Vancouver’s beloved urban green space. With this action on the civic imagination, the city becomes a forest, and the forest a city.

This project was featured in Scenario 4: Building the Urban Forest