Garden City Lands

Richmond, British Columbia | 2013-Present
Garden City Lands Drone

Garden City Lands is 136 acres/55 hectares of undeveloped land in the heart of Richmond. Protected under the agricultural land reserve, this unique low-lying wetland was home to a rifle range in the early 1900s and later to communication towers for the National Coast Guard, but historically has been mostly unused. Now it is being reimagined as a park amenity with four distinct functions: urban agriculture, natural environment, community wellness, and active living, and place-making creating a multi-functional landscape.

Garden City Lands Idea Fair
Public Engagement Process
A dedicated website and social media presence was established to ensure the materials from the Ideas Fair and Open House were accessible, ongoing, and interactive. Over 3000 invitations to the events were directly mailed to surrounding residents for their input.

The synthesis of community aspirations and values gathered through public engagement provided clear and consistent messages. This, together with findings from inventory and environmental analysis provided a solid basis for the development of an overall vision adopted by City Council.

We combined feedback from the City, the public and engaged urban agriculture and bog experts into a balanced but buzz-worthy design strategy that celebrates the site’s history and supports ecological conservation while integrating urban agriculture, play opportunities, passive recreation, and imaginative public art. 

GCL Site plan perspective
Agricultural Land Reserve and Former LuLu Island Bog
The site falls within the Agricultural Land Reserve originally set up to preserve the limited agricultural land resource in BC. The map also shows the original location of the LuLu Island Bog and its adjacency to the urban core.

In designing the master plan, we faced the challenge of creating complementary spaces for two very different impressions of the land—agriculture and remnant bog—both of which are synonymous with the City of Richmond. By necessity these two impressions have to be separated, so we approached the problem as a yin and a yang—linking the landscapes via a series of curving pedestrian pathways and view corridors. By guiding visitors through the space, the design encourages them to learn about both the ecological importance of the bog and sustainable agricultural practices. Planned gathering spaces and demonstration plots make this a living lab that fosters community spirit and educational moments. Plans ensure it retains its role as a thriving habitat and significant carbon sink for Metro Vancouver. 

Though still under construction, there is incredible public interest in the project and this unprecedented design. The City of Richmond foresees the project as a great legacy for the public to enjoy.


City of Richmond
Tetra Tech
Kerr Wood Leidal
Pechet Studio
Nemetz Engineering
Richard Sims
Cityspaces for Public Engagement