Jessica is a Toronto-based designer guided by empathy, intuition, and community. She uses her creative skillset to envision a brighter tomorrow: one built on social and environmental cohesion. Jessica’s passion for urban revival remains at the forefront of her priorities and when not designing for clients, she can be found reimagining public and private land into multi-faceted oases in support of climate resiliency and visual harmony. Her aim to create a positive legacy that future generations can thrive in.
Westra project is a city-wide initiative aimed at revitalizing underused park space into multi-faceted, dry storm water ponds. The goal of this project is to reconnect our parks with urban natural systems and engage communities to help protect these safe havens against intensifying ecological and social demands. In support of Toronto’s Wet Weather Flow Master Plan and Parkland strategy, these repurposed landscapes will help mitigate the effects of water pollution and run-off into our waterways, as well as recycle rainwater back into the hydrological system for park irrigation and maintenance purposes. The amphitheatre style structure will also be experiential and serve a social purpose for inclusive community and educational events. By engaging with these spaces in different social ways, barriers between the public and personal realm can dissolve to minimize future neglect and degradation of these vital public spaces.
Over the last 10 years I’ve been forming my own personal narrative on how I can better influence Toronto’s future and it wasn’t until the lockdown that I started turning my ideas into actions. This shift began during my time outdoors in the city, weaving through the different pockets and noticing the unrealized potential of our park system. As a result of the pandemic, our parks have become more than ever our safe havens, where we can safely connect with friends and family, find solace, exercise and self-reflect. This light through the darkness is what help spark my passion to improve and protect these areas for generations to come.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
I am motivated by the concept of designing with nature, attuning to the rhythms of our environments and respecting the yields of natural resources rather than dominating. With the decline in the planet’s health, at the hands of unsustainable, institutional models of growth, I feel a sense of responsibility to set in motion adaptive measures that offset this existing trajectory. My motivations are fuelled by the inspiring work of individuals, companies and countries, who are developing environmentally creative projects that repurpose our landscapes to support climate resiliency.