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WILLOWBANK NAMED ‘MOST INNOVATIVE’

WILLOWBANK NAMED 'MOST INNOVATIVE laboratory school in Canada' by Spacing Magazine spacings

The Fall 2013 edition of Spacing national magazine on Education and Urbanism has named Willowbank 'one of the most innovative "laboratories" in Canada'.

In a section called:

8 Amazing 'Real-World' Urbanism Laboratories

Going above and beyond traditional research centre, "urban labs" are bridging the divide between theoretical and real-world urbanism. These practical classes attempt to harness academic and institutional knowledge and put it to practical use in local communities. Over the past decade, urban labs have sprouted in cities across the globe. Here's a look at some of the most exciting urban lab projects in Canadian schools.

Willowbank: School of Restoration Arts

Based near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Willowbank's School of Restoration Arts is one of the most innovative "laboratories" in Canada. Taking a cross-disciplinary and holistic approach to heritage conservation, the school attempts to teach its diploma students in design, conservation theory, and craft skills. While semi-rural Niagara doesn't exactly stand out for its urbanity, the academics at Willowbank are extremely contextual: all craft skills are practivied on the physical school itself, an 1830's Greek Revival mansion built for nation-builder Alexander Hamilton. It also happens to be a National Historic Site. The school accepts an assortment of students, with backgrounds ranging from high school to trade school to PhDs.

Others listed:

UBC: Vancouver Planning Laboratory University of Calgary: Urban Lab George Brown: Institute Without Boundaries Dalhousie University: Transportation Collaboratory McGill: Making Megaprojects Work for Communities University of Toronto: Neighbourhood Change York University: Hip Hop and the City

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Willowbank Agreement with UNESCO-Affiliated Institute – 2013

New Willowbank agreement with UNESCO-affiliated World Heritage Institute will help protect urban landscapes

Renowned Ontario restoration centre will work with Shanghai-based Institute unesco Photo from left to right: Vikki Broer, Chair of the Board of Willowbank; Dev Sainani, Chair of the board of Ontario Trillium Foundation; Julian Smith, Executive Director of Willowbank; Lord Mayor, Dave Eke; Ron van Oers, Vice Director of the World Heritage Institute; Kim Craitor, MPP; Lisa Prosper, Director of the Centre for Cultural Landscape. The Willowbank Centre for Cultural Landscape today signed an important Memorandum of Understanding with the UNESCO-affiliated, Shanghai-based World Heritage Institute for Training and Research in the Asia-Pacific Region (WHITRAP) The new agreement brings together UNESCO and WHITRAP’s experience with historic urban landscapes and Willowbank’s internationally recognized experience in cultural landscape theory and practices The Memorandum was signed at a ceremony at Willowbank, National Historic site which houses both the Centre for Cultural Landscape and Willowbank’s world-renowned School of Restoration Arts. Dr. Ron Van Oers, Vice Director of the World Heritage Institute represented the Shanghai-based organization. Willowbank’s Executive Director Julian Smith and Lisa Prosper, Director of Willowbank’s Centre for Cultural Landscape represented Willowbank, at a ceremony also attended by members of Willowbank’s Board of Directors. The Memorandum of Understanding enables the World Heritage Institute to work more closely with Willowbank. The two institutions can now cooperate more closely on the application of UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, a new framework that aims to integrate conservation of the built environment into the wider goals of sustainable urban development. “The UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape helps all of us who work with and value historic urban areas to move beyond the conservation of the built environment to focusing on the entire cultural landscape. With more and more historic urban areas under redevelopment pressure every year, the agreement helps leading experts — including those at Willowbank — to explore and apply new ideas for these priceless cultural areas,” Mr. Smith said. “It’s important because this framework includes the existing built environment, and also intangible heritage, cultural diversity and local community values as well as socio-economic and environmental factors,” Ms. Prosper said. “It’s the kind of framework we aim to bring to life with our work at Willowbank, and through events like the upcoming (Willowbank Stone Festival Sept. 13 to 15.”) THE PURPOSE OF THE AGREEMENT: The purpose of this Memorandum or Understanding is to enable and outline areas for collaboration between WHITRAP and Willowbank in the joint pursuit of research on the theory and application of Cultural Landscape and Historic Urban Landscape. WHITRAP and Willowbank intend to focus cooperation in, but not limited to, the following areas: Sharing of expertise to assist in such activites as education, demonstration projects, panels and other events; Disseminating best practices in the application of Cultural Landscape theory, research results and other information to assist government agencies and municipalities in making more sustainable decisions for their development and conservation practices; Collaborating on joint areas of interest in terms of research, training methods, and policies that would advance each other's mutual goals; Sharing ideas and knowledge on sustainabiltiy, cultural heritage conservation and other systems that localities in the Asia-Pacific and other regions can put to practical use to achieve their goals for reduced impact on natural and cultural resources and improve resiliency. THE CENTRE FOR CULTURAL LANDSCAPE IS GENEROUSLY FUNDED BY: Ontario Trillium Foundation