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A Change of Scale 3 – In North Vancouver

October 24, 2014

From The Daily Scot:

A stroll around the North Vancouver District portion of Marine Drive last month reveals a rapid transformation from arterial to mid-rise mixed use corridor with a flurry of infill construction.



It’s rumored that District of North Vancouver’s goal is to turn Marine Drive into West 4th in Kits.  The scale and proportion of the buildings and the variety of materials used – brick, wood, metal – go a long way to adding interest and creating a human scale environment that trumps the massive block sizes of concrete and glass of some tower projects.



Ohrn Words: ICBC U and driverless cars

October 24, 2014

Lee Gomes writes at about driverless cars, which are occasionally touted as a panacea for traffic congestion and the appalling death and injury toll on our roads. Not so fast, he says. Expect less autonomy, and longer time to achieve even that.

Google carHe describes Google’s current state of the art, and notes that their driverless cars depend completely upon detailed route maps that are orders of magnitude more complex and expensive to create than, say, Google maps. Likewise, car sensors, he says, cannot adequately recognise and react to changes in the car’s mapped environment. He uses the example of a newly installed traffic light, such as at a construction zone.  There are other weaknesses, like parking.

But the one that interests me most is the car’s computers’ inability to have and use “everyday common sense”, a.k.a. “generalized intelligence”, which most human drivers have, and which allows them to make rapid decisions when faced with the unexpected. For humans, this consists of rules of thumb, scenarios, behaviour patterns, and other things acquired by experience, observation and the “school of hard knocks”, also known as ICBC U.

West End Traffic

October 24, 2014


The Daily Scot: “Younger adults opting to rent”

October 23, 2014

Scot can relate.

From Yahoo Finance:

Since 2008, the year Lehman Brothers collapsed and home prices dropped precipitously, there has been a steady increase in the number of people ages 18 to 34 renting instead of buying homes. About 875,000 more households are now made up of young adult renters than would have existed if the 2008-era trend had held steady, according to an analysis of census data by Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, a real estate marketing website.

Moreover, as the economy slowly improves and job growth picks up steam, the millions of 20- and 30-somethings who shared living quarters with friends or nestled in their parents’ basements to ride out the economic shock waves from the Great Recession are beginning to branch out on their own. But they are still largely shut out of the mortgage market.

“They’re not going to go from living with their parents to buying a home,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, speaking at a housing conference in Washington. “They’re going to rent an apartment.”


Click to enlarge.

Passerelle of the Future – 2: 11th Street Bridge

October 23, 2014

In September, PT posted the competition for the 11th Street Bridge competition in Washington, DC here.

And now the winners:

Landscape architecture firm OLIN and architecture firm OMA were announced as the winners of a national design competition to create a 900-foot-long bridge park spanning the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.



More here, plus video, in the Washington Post.

Satellite Fonts

October 23, 2014

From Gladys We:

Art director Yousuke Ozawa created “Satellite Fonts” sourced from Google Earth images of letter-shaped buildings.



Ray Spaxman: Responses to “The Telus Case”

October 23, 2014
Ray Spaxman received 25 responses to his email and PT post on “The Telus Case.”
Two comments resonated with me particularly as good ones for future debates.  One suggested that we should beware our pursuit of guidelines and regs for it may contribute to what some people see as blandness. Another said that we should not get too comfortable with Vancouver for it lacks a true sense of city scale  urban design and the creation of place like mature city’s have.
Response.   Every time I go down Seymour or Richards I feel incensed when I see these ugly “boxes” hanging over the street blocking views, sunlight, space – public space – in fact it sort of stuns me. How could this be approved with any sense of public interest? So thank you Ray, for presenting your views on this.
Response. I’ve had another look at the Telus overhang,and reserve judgement till the development is completed and landscaped.
Response.  Looking at the City’s zoning map, there are well north of 500 CD-1 Comprehensive Development Zone sites, and counting. In fact the former DD area of the downtown peninsula is getting close to 50 percent purple (CD-1), and it’s more than 50 percent CD-1 if you include all the waterfront areas, but excluding the West End and heritage districts.
Soon ‘purple’ will be the dominant zone, each one representing an opportunistic, site-specific development deal. So much for comprehensive planning.
Response. All good questions, Ray. Unfortunately, the three people most in a position to answer most of them will never respond publicly – the developer, the architect and the lead planner.

BTW, I recently saw a similar projection of private space over the sidewalk (only) in Edmonton, and the staff member involved was quite proud of it.

Read more…


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