In April 2010, Edmonton on the Edge hosted Reclaiming Lost Spaces – a two-day event during which guests considered how to restore and revitalize forgotten and “lost” spaces in downtown Edmonton. Greg Smallenberg, one of Canada’s leading landscape architects, kicked off the event with a lecture highlighting trend-setting and innovative lost space reclamation projects from around the world. Some, like the Underpass Park in Toronto’s West Donlands, were extensive in scale and scope. Others, like Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California, were simply fun (and a little disgusting!).
Reclaiming Lost Spaces presented an opportunity for Edmonton and its citizens to think seriously about how they view and handle lost spaces. On the second day, participants engaged in a design charette—an intense, collaborative design workshop that involved designers, experts and interested citizens in drafting a solution to a specific design problem. After touring two previously identified lost spaces in the 104 Street Area, participants let their imaginations run wild and redesigned the spaces into more engaging and inviting places. The alley from Beaver Hills Park to 103 Avenue was later chosen to continue with the design process.