Housing as Reconciliation: Best Practices and how Architects can contribute to to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

Current housing systems and policies for remote and isolated First Nations communities in Canada produce a physical manifestation of ongoing colonialism, the house. Examinations of the physical community and house yield an understanding of deeply systematized imperial struggles between Indigenous communities and architecture and planning as disciplines. Indigenous families are in crisis as the housing system and Federal planning policies have not allowed for the provision of adequate nor appropriate homes for these communities.  The recent independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission has begun a civic discussion and created government willingness for a paradigm shift in the delivery of programs and services to First Nations communities.

What are the best practices and case studies of projects (both in process and built form) completed with Indigenous communities occurring today?  Understand how have individual architects have used their agency in partnership with First Nations communities, to work within the existing system and be critical in the creation of new housing typologies to make projects integrated with public realm and infrastructure, and in culturally and environmentally responsive ways.

Session Details

Session ID: 
Friday, May 26th, 2017: 4:00pm - 5:30pm
1.5 Structured/Core AIA LU
Venue : 

Session Speaker(s)

Shelagh McCartney, OAA, MRAIC

Assistant Professor, Ryerson University & Director, +city lab

Dr. Shelagh McCartney is a licenced architect and urbanist with a specialization in marginalized community development and housing. She received her Bachelor degrees of Environmental Studies and Professional Architecture from the University of Waterloo, and as a Fulbright scholar, her Master of Design Studies and Doctorate of Design from Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University. Dr. McCartney has 10 years of housing experience with Indigenous communities and 3 years of partnerships with First Nations communities in the Ring of Fire to work with youth and elders in community planning processes and housing.

We're Starting In


24-27 May 2017
Ottawa, Ontario

About Us

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Ontario Association of Architects have partnered to present the 2017 Festival of Architecture May 24-27, 2017 in Ottawa.

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For general information, please contact us at:

  • festival@raic.org 
  • 1-844-856-RAIC ext 200
  • 613-241-3600
  • 330-55 Murray Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 5M3