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GrIID™ stands for Green Industrial Innovation District. It's an initiative that that enable cities, regions and countries to address the urgent challenges of climate change, equitable economic recovery, local supply chain resilience. In this project, I partnered with Recycling Alternative, GrIID founders, to envision, design, and prototype GrIID™'s interactive platform.

00 Project Overview

Client: Recycling Alternative

Timeline: Fall 2021 - Spring 2022

Team: Zahra Jalali & Kimia Gholami, Living Labs @ECUAD

Role: Product Design, Service Design, UX UI Design, UX Research, User-testing


01 Project Background

Recycling Alternative, along with other businesses and community partners is leading a movement to create British Columbia’s first Green Industrial Innovation District (GrIID™) in the False Creek Flats (FLATS). Housed in the FLATS, the GrIID™ brings together green innovation businesses that are developing and delivering services, products, and resource recovery that support local, circular models and distribution, such as materials recycling, materials re-purposing, de-construction, industrial symbiosis, local production, share, and repair services.

Phase 1


Our collaboration with Recycling Alternative started with the WHIZE project (Led by Laura Kozak) aiming to take a closer look at existing relationships in the GrIID and the unique forms of practicing circular economy. The insights were turned into a report "Prototyping the GrIID".

Phase 2


In Spring 2022, together with Kimia Gholami, we set to design a platform for the GrIID that best represent its vision, and also provide an interactive platform for Vancouver's circular innovators to streamline their existing connections. In short, the goal was to design: 1. GrIID's front-facing website that includes the global GrIID and showcases Vancouver GrIID as its local case study. & 2. GrIID's exclusive dashboard for Vancouver's GrIID members.

This project took place while exchanging ideas with Recycling Alternative & GrIID founders, Louise Schwarz and Robert Weatherbe, and getting feedback from other GrIID members. 

GrIID prototype.jpg

Design Goals

  • Highlight the contributions of GrIID members

  • Showcase the vision of building a GrIID,

  • Share resources and exchange services

  • A unified portal for formalizing collaborations

Targeted Audience

The main purpose of this project was to create a shareable high-fidelity prototype, and ultimately have it circulated among GrIID™ members, GrIID™ advisory board, Vancouver Economic Commission, and City of Vancouver, in order to demonstrate the potentials and capacities of the GrIID™, devise its resources, and determine its infrastructures.

02 Research & Findings


While working on the WHIZE project in Fall 2021, we gained a comprehensive understanding of the GrIID and its vision for both the city and local communities. One major tool was interviewing several GrIID members and business owners, which made us gather insights about the existing collaborations between the members, and the problems they face.  Identifying their key pain points guided us to form initial ideas about what the platform may potentially look like.

Competitive Audit

While the GrIID platform is unique and does not have a similar precedent, we started to analyze existing services that work in the same field and outlined their structure and information architecture which turned into actionable insights to start sketching for GrIID.

Trouble sharing resources with other local SMEs in the industrial zone of Vancouver.

Pain Point 01

Pain Point 02

Not having a formal platform to reach out to other members and form new collaborations.

Lack of publicity for their essential green contribution to the city, resulting in problems with maintaining industrial land.

Pain Point 03

Key Challenges

Having several stakeholders was the main challenge in this project. From business owners, to policy-makers, we had to make sure that the platform speaks to everyone's goals and demonstrate a clear user journey for each group. To combat this challenge, we conducted a thorough user research, and did stakeholder mapping to identify and categorize key user groups and shared goals.

03 Design Process

Information Architecture

Due to the complexity of the GrIID platform, we had to carefully map out the website and figure out the actions that would fit into the exclusive dashboard.

Iterative Prototyping

Designing the GrIID platform was highly iterative. We first started by sketching and wireframing the website as the public platform and the main point of entry to it. After reiterating the wireframes through low-fid prototyping and testing, we finalized the initial layout and information structure and started to begin working on the GrIID dashboard.

Usability Study

After designing a mid-fid prototype, we conducted usability studies with several GrIID members and RA Employees. These sessions gave us valuable feedback which turned into insights for altering the user journey and the final design iteration for both the website and the dashboards.

"Can I filter my search in the postings?"

"I prefer the follow feature rather than sending out friend invitations"

"Maybe we can drive data to highlight collaboration and green contribution."

- Quotes from user-testing sessions

04 Outcome

GrIID™ Website

  • Introduces the GrIID™ as a global concept and GrIID™ Vancouver as its first working case study

  • Introduces the GrIID™ clusters and their circular innovators

  • Provides a portal to facilitate & formalize collaborations 

  • Provides resources for other stakeholders to develop their own GrIID™

GrIID website mockup.png

Introducing GrIID Clusters

We created several webpages to explicitly showcase Vancouver's GrIID members based on their kind of services, or clusters. This design also uses a Google Maps API to highlight close proximity of businesses in the industrial zone.

for Future

The GrIID is going to implemented in various cities. While right now Vancouver is the only official instance, we added the "Find your city" bar on top of the pages to showcase the possibility of expanding the platform and having individual webpages based on each GrIID.

Member Platform

  • A portal only for the members of the Vancouver GrIID™

  • Enabling circular innovators to connect and collaborate and share resources

  • Showcasing GrIID™’s impact via members’ activities

Dashboard showcase.png

A One-Stop Dashboard

GrIID dashboard homepage is a one-stop page that provides an overview of the user's activity, and tools to create new postings about materials, services, and jobs that will be shared with other GrIID members.

Postings Features:

  • Add media and keywords to the postings

  • Reply to the postings easily via Massages

  • See posting status to save time


GrIID members can also create community updates and start conversations with other members to get their feedback and/or share news or events. They can also follow other members and personalize their postings board according to following list or the type of posting.

Keep Track of Your Sustainable Impact

The platform drives metrics from the number of completed collaborations and interactions. This data alongside sustainability reports provides a powerful dataset that will demonstrate the impact of GrIID in the city of Vancouver.

Style Guide

After implementing the feedback and finalizing the prototype, we completed the deliverables by creating the GrIID style guide.

05 Reflections


  • The final prototypes were presented in Shumka Centre’s Spring 2022 presentations (Design for Regional Resilience).

  • The “Prototyping the GrIID” report is currently being circulated to advisory boards to draw attention to the potentials and possibilities of GrIID and the challenges its members face (The report is not yet public).

  • RA is currently using the prototypes to develop further resources and templates for GrIID members. This project is currently taking place with Sustainability scholars from University of British Columbia.

  • Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) has been circulating and showcasing the design prototypes amongst advisory boards and other stakeholders in the city to further move forward with the infrastructures of formalizing Vancouver’s GrIID.


  • Completed problem-solving for a service from start to finish.

  • Fully collaborated with another designer throughout the project.

  • Experienced service designing for multiple stakeholders with a B2B approach.

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