At this year’s Powell Street Festival, the Fuki no Mizu initiative provides attendees with pop-up drinking fountains and mist for cooling through structures designed by a team of undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA).
The Powell Street Festival (July 30-31, 2022) is an annual celebration of Japanese Canadian culture and is one of the longest-running community festivals in Canada. The festival takes place in Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood along Powell Street, Oppenheimer Park and surrounding areas in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The Fuki no Mizu project aims to both celebrate Japanese Canadian culture and address inequitable access to water in Vancouver’s DTES communities.
Celebrating Japanese Canadian culture
Fuki no Mizu translates to English as ‘water from the fuki plant’. “Our inspirations are really just water and the fuki plant itself,” says Thea Johannus, SALA undergraduate student. “The purpose is to celebrate Japanese Canadians and honour this gift of water that we have.”
Addressing water inequity
Resilience was a key takeaway gathered from the community engagement aspect of the project. Stories and dialogue gathered from workshops with people who live in the Downtown Eastside helped develop the purpose of this project. “We really tried to honour these stories and bring them into the project,” says Mari Fujita, the project’s faculty lead and Chair of the Bachelor of Design program in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urbanism. “We hope people will come and interact with the water and each other, get a bit of relief and make a connection.”
In honouring the past and looking to the future, Fuki no Mizu offers tangible relief and ignites ideas about the resilience in the Japanese Canadian community and in the people of the DTES.
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