Building bridges in the backcountry: a case study of design in the headwaters region of the Oldman watershed

Thumbnail Image
Janzen, Adam
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Increasing pressures on the Eastern Slopes in Southern Alberta are leading to escalated tensions and debates of sustainable public land use, access, and management for the region. This research project was a case study of the bridge building design project initiated by the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad. The purpose of this research was to investigate the bridge building design process to discover applications that can be taken from this practical design approach to the concept of biocultural design. Opportunities for learning and changed perspectives were also observed through participant observation, interviews, and design workshops as the ATV users seek to mitigate their own impact. Research findings suggest the importance of a biocultural design team and explicit guiding coordinates, or key values, that will guide the design process the team implements. The bridge building program provides lessons that can be considered in the practice of biocultural design; namely, innovations have led to stronger and more efficient bridges, opportunities for collaboration and participation have yielded platforms for learning to occur, and collective social action has taken place as participants seek to mitigate their impact within the Eastern Slopes.
Biocultural design, Transformative learning theory, Collective social action