A participatory process for the design of housing for a First Nations Community

  • Tracey MacTavish
  • Marie-Odile Marceau
  • Michael Optis
  • Kara Shaw
  • Peter Stephenson
  • Peter WildEmail author
Policy and Practice


First Nation (Indigenous) on-reserve housing in Canada is in crisis due to severe shortages, high reported instances of mould contamination, overcrowding and structural deficiencies. The Kitamaat reserve of the Haisla First Nation provides one example. The intent of the study reported here was to engage with the Haisla to develop a culturally appropriate, environmentally responsive and energy-efficient housing type that the Haisla could implement in the future. This work was undertaken by Marceau-Evans-Johnson Architects in collaboration with researchers at the University of Victoria. In this article, the circumstances leading to the present housing crisis are reviewed, the consultative design process with the Haisla and its outcomes are described, and the concept design solution which was co-developed for future housing is presented.


First nations Aboriginal peoples On-reserve housing Community consultation Housing design process 



We are grateful to: members of the Kitamaat First Nation for their participation in this study; BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources (BCMEMPR) for financial support and Christina Ianniciello of BCMEMPR for coordination of funding; Dennis Flynn, Housing Manger, Kitamaat Village Council for on-site coordination.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracey MacTavish
    • 1
  • Marie-Odile Marceau
    • 1
  • Michael Optis
    • 2
  • Kara Shaw
    • 3
  • Peter Stephenson
    • 4
  • Peter Wild
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Marceau Evans Johnson ArchitectsVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  3. 3.School of Environmental StudiesUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  5. 5.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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