On the north bank of the Ottawa River lies Gatineau, the twin city of the Canadian capital Ottawa. The river separates the two cities and marks the natural border between the provinces of Québec and Ontario. The new Zibi waterfront district is close to Chaudière Falls and extends across the river. Zibi is quite literally a genuine cross-border project, both geographically and culturally. The area’s indigenous people have been fully involved in the development and their rich cultural heritage and history are an integral part of it. In collaboration with the One Planet Community network, Zibi is a sustainably designed project that bridges the past and the future.
Zibi means ‘river’ in the language of the Algonquin Anishinaabe, the First Nations people of the area. The Ottawa River is of great cultural and historical importance to the region’s native inhabitants and from the outset the Algonquin Anishinaabe and the non-indigenous population were proactively involved in the project and open to cooperation with the development team.
As the first One Planet Community project in Canada, Zibi represents a model for developing affordable, sustainable residential areas and communities. The Zibi One Action Plan emphasises the region’s character and the unique history of the site. The plan incorporates climate-neutral buildings with sustainable energy generation, efficient land use with ample green areas and an infrastructure geared towards cyclists and pedestrians.
The Zibi district on the Ottawa River extends across the north and south banks and is connected by two bridges. Industry had dominated the river landscape for a long time, but today new residential buildings, shops and entertainment venues occupy locations between parks and heritage sites. Car-free corridors have been implemented to provide occupants of the residential buildings access to the green strip along the north bank. In one of these corridors, a central meeting point has been created, affording a splendid view of Ottawa. Streetlife furniture has been installed in this square and offers various opportunities for residents to meet and sit.
To green the square, seating isles from Streetlife's Solid Edge System were selected, with the borders rising up from the ground to form sitting edges. The isles have different dimensions and create a varied, playful effect. This is reinforced by the sloping front and overhanding seats, which also offer extra leg room. Free-standing, double-sided Cliffhanger benches have been scattered across the square and emphasise its informal character. Rough&Ready Bollards serve to demarcate the square. The integration of Streetlife furniture in the plan matches the overall natural-looking appearance of an extraordinary, high-quality landscape project implemented by CSW Landscape Architects.