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  A key element to designing an urban space is to understand the people who will use it. What are their needs, lifestyles, and passions?

Jim Vafiades

Senior Landscape Architect

Toronto, Ontario

To Jim, being a good landscape architect is about being observant. He encourages those he mentors to look at objects in the landscape and deconstruct them – What materials are used? How do the colors work? How does light affect them? Being an observer of his world has enabled Jim to create designs that are functional and aesthetically pleasing for more than 32 years.

The Southlake Hospice garden, one of Jim’s most rewarding projects, exemplifies this philosophy. Jim knows that the ability to observe nature is a relaxing and calming experience, particularly important for end-of-life patients and their families. Beyond designing a space that is functional, Jim wanted to create a space that would allow these families to immerse themselves in a natural setting, providing some distraction and ultimately some comfort in their last days.

For Jim, successful design is about understanding who is using a space and providing them with a place they want to be a part of, not just move through.     

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