Cities for People: In the Galleria Mall’s shadow, new urban amenities for the Wallace-Emerson neighbourhood

This is part of a series of posts by students in OCAD U’s Cities for People workshop. This post & design intervention is by Julie Forand, Dakota Wares-Tani, Dionisios Vriniotis, Muriel Schvartzman, and Emily Laur and is a follow up to their Wallace-Emmerson investigation post.

After visiting Wallace-Emerson Park near the community centre, we felt the need to tap into the diversity within the community and transform a space that would bring people together and add a new social place in the neighbourhood. The Wallace-Emerson Park has many interesting features: the BMX park, a soccer field, a skate park and ice rink. These areas are active, however we came across two neglected areas that provided opportunity for an intervention proposal: the bocce field and the chain-link fence on the north side of the soccer field. Here they are in their current states:

North side fence with Galleria Mall in the background.

Bocce court.

Our approach with these two interventions was to use the existing infrastructure to minimize waste and make it a feasible project for the community. Furthermore, the fences provide safety for the children playing soccer. Our intention was to improve the view along the chain-link fence, which looks out to the Galleria Shopping Centre parking lot. We took inspiration from a local artist whose work has been commissioned before in the neighbourhood.

Marianne Lovink’s “Lansdowne Fence Streetscape.

Here we took the nature and character of the neighbourhood and translated it into silhouettes:

Wallace-Emerson Park Fence silhouette proposal concept drawing (1).

Wallace-Emerson Park Fence silhouette proposal concept drawing (2).

After talking to some neighbourhood residents about the bocce field, we discovered that it had been unused for many years and had fallen into disrepair. Throughout our time in the neighbourhood, we had noticed many dog owners walking their dogs in spaces that were ill-suited to their pets. We discussed with the residents different interventions that we could propose, and they seemed very enthusiastic about turning the space into a dog park. The field would easily transform into a dog park because of the existing infrastructure and the size of the space could accommodate many dogs at play.

Wallace-Emerson Dog Bark entry way.

Wallace-Emerson Dog Bar interior view.

In conclusion we’ve proposed these two interventions for this neighbourhood with the intention of taking existing social spaces and creating a better experience of them. The north-side stroll is a well-used pathway and has a lot of function within the park, therefore we didn’t want to disturb it, but infuse it with the life of the neighbourhood. In regards to the dog park, this idea came simply from listening to the needs and wants of the neighbourhood and choosing the most appropriate and realistic option. Overall we feel that these couple changes will help bring out the diversity and community which distinguishes Wallace-Emerson.



One comment

  1. Having spent many evenings watching my kids play Eagles soccer at the pitch behind W-E, I’d suggest that the biggest issue w/ this space is lack of connectivity and visibility, and I’m not sure adding the silhouettes would help that problem. There’s been some nasty activity in the rear corner, and that’s because it’s a blind spot — it doesn’t lead anywhere, the houses turn their backs onto this park, and that hill at the east end — made of god knows what — is yet another visibility barrier. It doesn’t need more of them.  

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