Beyond the Pristine: Reframing the Notion of Nature Conservation through the Agency of Plant 'Vagabonds' in Toronto's Rouge National Urban Park

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Soltani, Saman




Protecting nature in its pristine state and within designated geographic boundaries is embedded within historical framings of conservation. Yet, in the context of today's rapid anthropogenic change, this concept is increasingly flawed and irrelevant. This thesis draws from interdisciplinary literature in political ecology, geography, and landscape architecture to explore Rouge National Urban Park, Toronto's newest category of urban nature preserve. It foregrounds Botanist Gilles Clément's research on "vagabonds" as valuable ruderal species with design agency. Using fieldwork, mapping, document analysis, and model making as catalysts for design intervention, the work proposes the park's transformation into a vagabond living lab, employing a network of experimental design instruments across the landscape. Each design frames the site as a testing ground for new understandings of nature conservation within urban contexts—done by exploring the role of vagabonds. Ultimately, this thesis speculates what future urban landscapes can be like in conditions of environmental flux.


Landscape Architecture




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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