Lauren McCrimmon talks about 2nd year

A day in the life

Lauren McCrimmon talks about 2nd year


I think I chose Halifax as much as I chose Dalhousie. It was important to me that if I was studying community design, I was in a city with impressive architectural heritage and an exciting atmosphere.

Urban exploration

Lauren McCrimmon’s original plan after high school was to stick relatively close to her home in the suburbs of London, Ontario, and study Environmental Design. But after visiting several universities in Ontario, nothing about them really jumped out at her. She wanted the full university experience—inside the classroom and out—but realized she wouldn’t get it at any of those schools. Then she came to Halifax.

“I was in awe,” she says. “Halifax had this mystical effect about it. It seemed culturally, economically, and visually livelier than the city I grew up in. Halifax possesses the charm of a small city but the vigor of a large one.”

Lauren was looking for a change and viewed the move as an opportunity to have an adventure and experience new things.

“I love spending time outside and exploring different parts of the city,” she says. “My favourite thing to do in any city is to get lost. I love stumbling upon new restaurants, cafes, shops, or art galleries. I’ve lived in Halifax for almost two years and have been asked countless times if I’m a tourist visiting the city.”

On the academic side of the university experience, Lauren has definitely found the right fit with Dal’s Community Design program.

“I wanted to be in a program that challenged me and that had relevance to everyday life,” she says. “Community Design teaches you a number of things, but it always ties back to the importance of the functionality of a space and how that’s related to the way people think or act. I’ve been captivated by that relationship for as long as I can remember.”

The program allows her to play up her adventuresome nature by getting students out of the classroom to explore different parts of the city and province. Lauren has also found it takes students out of their traditional academic comfort zones and encourages them to bring their own ideas to their studies.

“You’re immersed in your studies,” she says. “They throw you right into the community and say, ‘OK, go.’ And the program is subjective. There’s no right or wrong answer—it’s not like math or science. We had to create a city plan for a fictitious community in my Community Design Context class. I loved it because as long as you could back up your choices, you could do anything—there was a lot of freedom for self-expression.

"It was kind of like planning for your dream community," she smilse. "There aren’t many boundaries—your only limits are the ones you set for yourself.”