Category Archives: Case Studies

Learning from projects with a sustainability focus

Sechelt Hospital – Improving quality of care & social and environmental sustainability

2013 renovations and an expansion at Sechelt Hospital were recently awarded for social and cultural integration, as well as, improved clinical environments.

“The project evolved from the ambition to create a meaningful and supportive environment for all staff,  patients and visitors, reflecting the place, culture and people it would serve.”

Good practice initiatives included:

  • Extensive consultation and collaboration with healthcare providers and First Nations
  • External architecture inspired by First Nations traditions
  • Interior designs created to support community integration and connect to nature for optimum health and well-being
  • Maximum use of daylight and patient rooms and inpatient areas with views and windows that open and close
  • On-site respite gardens for patients and visitors
  • A climate specific landscape plan that eliminates potable water for irrigation
  • Design that prioritizes passive and low carbon strategies for energy: natural light, high efficiency glass and framing fenestration, solar shading and operable windows.
  • Design flexibility to allow for future growth of the hospital

“Both the design team and Health Authority believe the best way to learn is to engage and communicate. Health and well-being are often dependent on strength of community, thus engaging occupants and stakeholders to inform design was essential to the success of this project.”

Full article seen can be seen in SabMag.

Interview with Mini-mal Collective

Interview with Mini-mal

Oct 27th, 2011

This interview was motivated by a desire to know more about an economic initiative (mini-mal  is a business) that seeks to strengthen Colombian socio-cultural and environmental identity using art as a strategy. It is considered that mini-mal´s more than 10 years of experience, serve not only as a good example, but as a source of learning for individuals and organizations looking to contribute to the sustainable development of the planet.


Read interview here in

Read about mini-mal here and here 

Entrevista con el Presidente de la Comuna Puerto Engabao

Entrevista con Julio Villón

Presidente de la Comuna Puerto Engabao, Guayas, Ecuador

Octubre 26, 2011


La Comuna Puerto Engabao se fundó en 1995. Tiene aproximadamente 350 habitantes entre adultos y adolescentes.


Atracciones turísticas: Playa, Surf, Pesca Artesanal

Servicios turísticos: Alimentación y alojamiento


Julio Villon

Julio Villón al frente de la Casa Comunal, Puerto Engabao


¿Cuéntame sobre Puerto Engabao?


En realidad nosotros éramos el último rincón de la provincia del Guayas. Nosotros vivimos olvidados durante mucho tiempo. Puerto Engabao forma parte del territorio de la Comuna Engabao y siempre trabajábamos con proyectos sociales en beneficio  a la comunidad, sin embargo, no daban los presupuestos, no hubo apertura y los proyectos solo llegaban a la Comuna Engabao. En realidad nosotros nos organizamos para poder cubrir necesidades; nosotros mismos, dentro de nuestra comunidad. Hicimos una reunión con todo el pueblo, pequeño pero emprendedor, y decidimos entre el Presidente y el Presidente del Comité de Turismo unirnos y caminar por uno solo objetivo: por el desarrollo colectivo. Y lo hicimos. Firmamos actas de compromiso y empezamos con esfuerzo y sacrificio. Nosotros tenemos video y tenemos historias de cómo era Puerto Engabao. Era olvidado, una caleta pesquera. No teníamos los servicios básicos como agua potable. No teníamos vías de acceso. Nuestra vivienda era “criticosa”, o sea vivíamos demasiados. Sí, no nos daba vergüenza, pero eso era la realidad de nosotros, vivíamos como animalitos, todos en una sola. A pesar de todo, nosotros decimos no vencernos, por el bienestar de nuestras familias. Quien nos cubre en un fenómeno del Niño, en una tormenta de lluvia. La vivienda era de caña, piso de tierra, pero sí teníamos un buen televisor, una buena refrigeradora. ¡Éramos ciegos pues, nosotros! ¿No es verdad? Pero ahora ya con las capacitaciones que hemos tenido, hemos empezado, hemos empujado, hemos sabido valorar…nos dimos cuenta que esto no es así. Ahora capacitado y entusiasmado me pregunto: ¿Nosotros cómo vamos a vivir así? ¿Y el futuro de nuestros hijos? Entonces nuestras familias nos reunimos por ese proceso, el cambio a una vida digna con sacrificio en grupo.

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Income vs. health in the banana sector

I was recently involved in a study about the use of agro-chemicals by banana plantations in the El Oro province in Ecuador. While my colleagues were visiting banana plantations, generally medium to small in size (less than 10ha), i was visiting surrounding populations (pueblos), primary schools and medical centres to try and identify and understand the reality in which residents live.I visited one school in particular that stood out from the rest. Getting to it involved driving about 20mins off the main road, passing nothing but banana trees (I’m not actually sure how it fit into our sample). A few typical houses here and there and then suddenly a more obvious settlement with a group of houses and packing areas. Continue reading

Puerto Hondo: Micro Banking Case Study

Project Background:Between September 2003 and June 2006 I worked for College of the Rockies on a CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) funded Sustainable Tourism Project in Guayaquil, Ecuador. My position as coordinator entailed 2 related projects: i.) strengthening community eco-tourism and ii.) forming a community bank in the small town of Puerto Hondo. Continue reading