From climate change to refugee settlement, cities around the world are tackling critical and complex global issues. Metro Vancouver’s municipalities are increasingly recognized for their efforts and their important role that goes beyond our region’s boundaries.
What are the opportunities for Canadian cities overall in the global arena? How are the leaders of Canadian cities having impact on the world stage and in addressing global issues? Where are they not yet, but should be?
Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, former Mayor of West Vancouver
Penny Gurstein, Professor and Director of the School of Community and Regional Planning and the Centre for Human Settlements, UBC
Kaye Krishna, Vancouver’s new General Manager of Development, Buildings and Licensing.
Thursday, Mar 2
Room 7000 – 515 West Hastings
Registration is not required but seating is limited. Please try to arrive early to ensure a seat.
Note that we do broadcast these events on the City Conversations Facebook page.
A high-profile and complex project, the Arbutus Greenway is a rightfully-recurring topic on this blog and other forums. Sometimes too recurring, though. It frankly elicited some fatigue last year with endless sustained and robust debate over its temporary surface treatments.
The City must have learned something useful from its first consultation round for the temporary greenway design, because the outreach process to inform the permanent greenway’s conceptual design is only half as long and almost over. As noted in Ken Ohrn’s previous post from January, the City is hosting three meetings and extending an online survey to the 15th to petition the public for its thoughts, opinions, concerns, and desires for the permanent future of this 9-km stretch of former rail corridor.
It is still early days for this project and the City is rightfully asking the big questions: What do you want? What should be preserved? What are the ‘must have’s? However, being impatient, other colleagues and I have preferred to consider the ‘next step’ logistical/engineering questions about how this space will actually work:
What exactly is going in the 20m right of way?
Is space being preserved for eventual 2-way light rail?
How will the design minimize conflicts between modes?
What surface treatments are you considering? How will you maintain them?
How are you going to manage the transitions across Broadway, W 16th, W 33rd, et. al?
What are you doing with buildings currently encroaching on the right of way?
still just a rendering for now
It was these and similar questions that, thanks to the Arbutus Communications Team, prompted an interview with Dale Bracewell, Vancouver’s Manager of Transportation Planning. We were originally going to meet on the greenway for a ride, but the weather had other ideas.
Over a half-hour chat, Dale walked me through the big picture and as much of the smaller picture as he could commit to at this stage. The City is still in the visioning stage but from previous consultation on the temporary greenway, known best practice, and feedback his team has received; there are already a number of lessons, known challenges, and likely themes the Arbutus Greenway will incorporate. Here are a few:
The Stanley Park Seawall is considered the local benchmark of greenway success. Elements that have traditionally ‘worked’ here will make their way onto Arbutus: accommodation of different mobility levels, integration with landscape and points of interest, separation of modes, etc.
Benchmark for a successful greenway – Seawall
Separation of modes will be a priority to reduce both actual and perceived risk of conflicts. This has been consistently communicated through all levels of project feedback. Depending on the area and availability of width, pedestrians and cyclists will be separated in some fashion.
Transitions across level streets will be a major factor in the design. Unlike other urban rails-to-trails greenways, Arbutus is neither sunken nor elevated, but level to the surrounding road network. Crossing minor roads will not be as problematic, but crossing major ones (Broadway, King Edward, W 41st) will likely require either some significant traffic network changes, expensive signalling, or level separation (bridges). This will drive some of the design’s biggest decisions and costs.
Green bridge over Broadway?
Integration with public transit will be another critical item. This thing might be part of the public transit network some day, so this is sensible. Easy access to and extra capacity at Arbutus extension skytrain station, W 41st St B-Line, and other crossing bus services will make their way into the Conceptual designs.
Protecting space for 2-way light rail is still on the table. This would be 8m-9m of the total 20m right of way. I’m not yet convinced there’s a business case for a streetcar or light rail here, but this space can be flexibly programmed in the short term while the transit corridor is being assessed/developed.
Other cities’ models will be reviewed. Ideas for some of the finer engineering and design elements that don’t come from the visioning exercise may be borrowed from other cities (i.e., surface treatments, design elements, lighting, etc.). This essentially includes programming opportunities and partnerships. Some facilities that the City is looking at are below:
Inspiration from Chicago – 606/Bloomingdale Line
And Sydney – The Goods Line
And Minneapolis – Midtown Greenway
And Auckland – Lightpath
Ultimately the greenway will offer improved direct connectivity to points north and south and transfer connections east and west. Whether it forever remains an active mode corridor or eventually includes a streetcar connecting Granville Island and…The Arthur Laing Bridge? Steveston?…it will be a popular and iconic public amenity. We’ll have trouble imagining what Vancouver was ever like without it.
For those not interested in ever getting those 36 minutes back, the full interview can be heard here:
As reported in Ville 30 the town of Gland Switzerland with a population of 12,500 have decided that the ENTIRE road network within the town will be restricted to 30 km/h with the exception of a few main arteries.
Why? To ensure that Vision Zero goals of safety and comfort for all road users are paramount, and to ensure a better coexistence with what the French call “soft mobility” users. Streets will use visual markers where those 30 km/h zones start, and streets will be narrowed using alternate on street parking, which will also slow speeds.
The town of Gland set up the goal to go to 30 km/h ten years ago and finally got approval from the higher state authority . With that approval the town is hosting public meetings to show their plans and will fully implement the speed restrictions in the spring. Further restricting vehicle speed to 20 km/h near the train stations is now being discussed.
The use of 30 km/h zones has been limited in British Columbia to a few main streets, school zones and areas in Victoria and Vancouver as well as the tiny town (population 3,500) of Rossland. Adopting a city-wide driving speed limit allows for uniform application and enforcement of the new speed limits, enhances road safety for other road users, and makes for a more comfortable convenient walking and biking environment. Kudos to Gland for leading the way.
This article by Wanyee Li in Metro News gets to the nub of a vital issue for one of the oldest, most historical and most loved parts of Vancouver. Vancouver’s Chinatown is not only one of the most continually occupied parts of the city, it is a district with great vibrant history, wondrous diversity, and a bunch of folks that quite frankly are responsible for the shape and structure of the city we experience today. And Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest most contiguous Chinatown in North America. So why are we not treating this area as unique and as a special example of a historic area? Why are we in a hurry to accept pronounced and profound development that may erase Chinatown for future generations?
It was the families and merchants in Chinatown that singlehandedly stopped the expansion of the freeway in the 1960’s from bisecting Vancouver’s downtown and decimating the existing housing for new and improved “replacement” CMHC (Canadan Mortage and Housing Corporation) housing. In the short video below Bessie Lee describes how Chinatown residents wanted to make the city “livable”, despite the calls for urban renewal from the City Council and the City Planner. And the word “livability” is one that has become a watchword for Vancouver’s past, current and future planning endeavours.
There is an Open House on proposed changes to the Chinatown plan scheduled for this Saturday between 10:00 a.m and 2:00 p.m. at the Chinese Cultural Centre Auditorium at 50 Pender Street. But here’s the troubling part-the boards prepared by the City and even the background suggest that there is something “wrong” with the community in the first place. The intent of this increase in size and height is to “update” the Chinatown Economic Revitalization Action plan as a “three year review”. Under the guise of a “lack of density limit leads to buildings with low ceiling height and compromised livability” the City is suggesting massive sizes and densities completely out of scale with the neighbourhood.
So where did things go wrong? For some reason, despite the historic and important cultural nature of the shops, services, community centre and the Sun Yet-Sen Garden (rated as a top city garden by National Geographic) there are proposed changes to the Chinatown plan to allow for building heights of 150 feet (15 storeys) and frontages up to 200 feet. This is completely out of character with the existing scale and texture of the small, varying frontages and facades of the street, and recalls the concrete whitewashing of the community proposed by the freeway expansion a half century ago. The sizes being proposed are sizes developers are happy to work with. They don’t necessarily make for good infill structures that blend harmoniously in to a well established and existent landscape.
Urban planner and Director of the Simon Fraser University City Program Andy Yan notes that such massive building scale and size “doesn’t match the existing texture of the neighbourhood, which is made up of small independent stores and low-storey buildings. Given the pre-existing grain of the neighbourhood, I don’t think it’s appropriate to bring a development that is modelled [after] areas of surplus industrial brown fields. It’s invasive to an established neighbourhood like Chinatown.”
As reported in Metro News “city councillor Raymond Louie is quick to point out staff have the difficult task of coming up with a plan that meet both council’s demands as well as economic realities. Dividing land assemblies to less than 200 feet would not be cost effective…[Staff] are trying to balance off all the other aspects of what council has asked for – additional social housing, preservation of heritage, making sure that these buildings are built to the highest environmental standards, and making sure that these buildings are ready to hook up into our district energy systems. Louie says fears about big block stores displacing small businesses are unfounded because the new rules, if accepted, would limit retail storefronts to 50 feet. It’s one of many examples of the city is listening to public input.”
I would suggest that a fifty foot retail frontage is still a pretty vast space and not in keeping with the existing cultural fabric. But why are we trying to shoe horn development blocks in one of the most culturally sensitive parts of the city? Why does this area, which contains the fabric of a very early part of Vancouver be required to meet all the city and developer’s demands? As Andy Yan notes, Chinatown comprises just one per cent of the city’s fabric. Let’s treat it as the special unique gem it is.
City of Vancouver’s Council will hear a report today from the Independent Election Task Force. Created in early 2016, the 12-member group realizes that most electoral issues are under Provincial control, and have issued a call for “more choice and flexibility in how municipalities manage their elections . . ”
The broad-brush recommendations are:
Adopt a proportional voting system
Reform campaign financing — including closer scrutiny of ties between matters before council involving donors
Increase voter turnout, in part by extending voter rights to permanent residents (roughly 60,000 such people currently can’t vote)
Make detailed balloting data (in anonymous form) available as open data
Conduct an online voting pilot (a contentious topic, studied and rejected by a Provincial Panel in 2014)
From the Executive Summary: Vancouver City Council established an Independent Election Task Force to recommend changes based on Council directives concerning the delivery of municipal elections in the city of Vancouver. These directives all have the potential, if implemented, to contribute to improved public confidence in the electoral processes at the municipal level and increase voter engagement — with a key goal being to increase voter turnout to at least 60 per cent by 2025.
“For some reason, we’ve come to accept this road violence against pedestrians as part of the wallpaper of urban living – even as “walkable cities” are the holy grail of city planning everywhere.”
Peter Ladner in his latest editorial in Business in Vancouver calls it for what it is: we have an epidemic of Road Violence in Vancouver. Peter states in his editorial: “Never mind calling back Mayor Gregor Robertson from Mexico to clear our icy sidewalks. We should be asking him to stay home in January and protect seniors from being killed by cars. Vancouver is the pedestrian death capital of Canada, and January is peak month for pedestrian deaths in B.C. – expect more than seven.
Based on five-year averages, 61% of those killed will be 50 or older. Our pedestrian death rate is twice that of Toronto, where one pedestrian is injured every four hours, and 44 pedestrians were killed in 2016. In last October alone, 10 pedestrians died in five Lower Mainland municipalities. There were as many pedestrians slaughtered by cars in the city of Vancouver (11) last year as there were murder victims.
My son was walking to work across a marked intersection at Pender and Jervis, on a green light, at 7:30 on an October morning two years ago when a car knocked him to the ground. He is still suffering from the concussion he incurred. The driver stopped and leaned out the window to ask if he was all right, then drove off. It turns out his situation is typical: according to a BC Coroners Service report, 40% of pedestrians killed in Greater Vancouver were struck at intersections and in crosswalks and two-thirds were crossing while the light was green. It might also be the case that many of the pedestrians who got hit were, like him, wearing dark clothing. In some Nordic countries the widespread use of reflective clothing has greatly reduced road violence.
But it’s too simple to blame pedestrians. I remember the first time I saw the 30 km/h zone painted boldly on Hastings Street around Main – the most dangerous pedestrian intersection in the Lower Mainland. My first reaction was: “Why should I slow down because impaired people choose to lurch into oncoming cars?” Then I sobered up and reframed the question: “Why should saving a few seconds of driving be more important than killing someone?”
Peter notes that when some European countries adopted laws where vulnerable road users, not road drivers were assumed to be innocent, injury and fatality rates dropped by 70 per cent. HUB cycling recommends a 30 km/h speed limit on non arterial streets-the survival of a pedestrian crashed into at 30 km/h is 90 per cent at that speed, and only 15 to 20 per cent at 50 km/h.
Peter points out that it is the Province-Minister of Transportation Todd Stone-who could implement this and who “is not interested. Nor is he interested in photo radar and red-light cameras. Research in Europe found there were 42% fewer serious injuries and fatalities where photo radar and cameras were installed.” Minister Stone dismissed this as a “tax grab”. Peter suggests this is the same as saying “Seniors are expendable if it gets me votes from car drivers who want the freedom to kill them by breaking the law and letting ICBC pick up the bills.”
Getting to zero pedestrian fatalities needs ” lower speed limits, safer intersection design, better pedestrian signals, tougher enforcement to stop speeding and distracted driving (none of us should be taking calls from people while we’re driving), more reflective clothing, cyclists using lights and more. But mostly it means getting serious about this ongoing car violence against mostly seniors, in every neighbourhood, especially in January. “
The ALR-or Agricultural Land Reserve-is one of the most precious things we as citizens of this province own.This article in the Delta Optimist describes how the Fraser River delta lands which are the most fertile and arable in Canada are being eroded by the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation, Transport Canada and the Vancouver Port Authority. For what? Wait for it-a truck staging area. This seems like a rather strange use of Class 1 irreplaceable agricultural land given that there is plenty of space available in the Tsawwassen First Nations lands which have been already been loaded with sand and can no longer be used for agricultural purposes.
This parking lot will be located at Highway 17 and Deltaport Way and will alleviate “truck congestion as well as queuing and parking along Deltaport Way and the causeway.” Built at a cost of 18 million dollars and leased to the port, this parking lot “would accommodate up to 140 trucks on the east side of Highway 17A and, to the west, a parking area for 40 early arrival trucks, a restroom and an inspection area for B.C. Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement. Only port-authorized trucks would be allowed to access the facility, which would have surveillance cameras monitored by port security.”
To make everyone feel better, the governments and the Port state that “initially” only four hectares or ten acres of farmland will be taken out of the Agricultural Reserve to accommodate 25,0000 square meters of asphalt. Road access for this truck waiting parking lot will also be over arable farmland that is privately owned, and that land is not included in the calculation. This is just the first slice out by the government and the Port, as more truck parking lots will be needed when the second phase of the Delta Port Expansion-which will take out essential migratory feeding grounds for the western sandpiper -is approved.
It’s a bit hard to think what the problem paving this arable land solves. Truck drivers have already done massive protests on the sides of the highways and certainly could line up there, perhaps even slowing traffic so that pedestrians can cross Highway 17 to the Tsawwassen Mills mall. You would think with advanced communications and technology that trucks could be told when to arrive at the port to pick up their load. Somehow taking Class 1 agricultural land from the ALR slice by slice for truck parking seems so 20th century. Let’s hope there is a rethink.
Removing this land from the ALR needs to be approved by the Agricultural Land Commission, but the Province has indicated there is a “big announcement” soon.
Smart Growth America has just released their 2016 edition of Dangerous By Design which examines the epidemic of pedestrians that are killed by cars. Imagine-in the United States between 2005 and 2014 over 46,000 people were killed by being struck by cars. That is the population of Cornwall Ontario or Brandon Manitoba.
Unlike the Canadian Automobile Association that has just released a study breathlessly listing the worst traffic bottlenecks inconveniencing drivers in Canada, Smart Growth USA gets it right-this is not about the inconvenience of vehicular traffic being throttled down by road capacity and so-called “waiting time lost” but about the fact that we are killing off innocent people, whose only crime was to be walking on a sidewalk or a street when their life was snuffed out. But no one is talking about the eleven Vancouver pedestrians that were killed on city streets, or the hundreds maimed, many legally walking with the right of way when crossing in a marked intersection. We had 11 murders in the City of Vancouver in 2016. Please double that number and recognize the people who were also snuffed out by road violence. Where’s the concerned commentary of the Mayor and Council? Per capita, pedestrians are dying at TWICE the rate of pedestrians in Toronto. And no one in authority is addressing this epidemic.
As Smart Growth America states: “In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, 4,884 people were killed by a car while walking—105 people more than in 2013. On average, 13 people were struck and killed by a car while walking every day in 2014. And between 2005 and 2014, Americans were 7.2 times more likely to die as a pedestrian than from a natural disaster. Each one of those people was a child, parent, friend, classmate, or neighbor. And these tragedies are occurring across the country—in small towns and big cities, in communities on the coast and in the heartland.”
Smart Growth America has a webinar yesterday to report their findings. They have partnered with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) as seniors are fifty per cent more likely than younger people to be hit and killed by a car while walking. People in lower income neighbourhoods and different ethnic backgrounds where also disproportionately at higher risk to be killed walking even after controlling for the relative higher walking rates associated in these communities.
Street design, speeding vehicles and poor pedestrian infrastructure also need to be addressed. British Columbia’s Medical Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall notes that vulnerable road users-those without the enclosure of a steel vehicle-were 31.7 per cent of vehicle fatalities in 2009 and are now 34.9 per cent in 2013, the last year there are statistics.In total 280 people are killed annually in collisions in this province, with 79,000 people seriously injured. In a place where the government covers health care, you’d think our politicians would be advocating changes in driver education and behaviour, slower speeds, and road design that makes vehicles slow down. What is it going to take?
When the Price Tags Editorial Board was considering the 2016 “Gordies” award for the most puzzling planning work, the new Vancouver Art Gallery design did come up. There was a quick scuffle online to find that the design was actually revealed in September 2015 and therefore could not qualify for the 2016 most puzzling planning work award.
In 2014 Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron were chosen to come up with a design for the new Vancouver Art Gallery, but not at the current site at 750 Hornby Street. The Hornby Street location is the 1913 Rattenbury designed courthouse that was renovated in 1983 by Arthur Erickson to accommodate a 172,320 square foot gallery. The new art gallery was to be located at 688 Cambie Street on land provided by the city on a 99 year lease. The original report to council in 2013 proposed a new art gallery that was double the size of the current gallery with 85,000 square feet of gallery space.
The project was to cost 350 million dollars in 2013. The Federal government and Provincial governments conditionally pledged 200 million dollars with the remaining $150 million to be raised by private fundraising. It should be noted that this amount of money has never been privately fundraised for one project in Canada. To get people excited about the new gallery, Herzog and de Meuron who have also built the Tate Modern in London and the National Stadium (the Bird’s Nest) in Beijing drew up a conceptual drawing and model.
Herzog and de Meuron-Tate Gallery-London, National Stadium-Beijing
When the new design was released by Herzog and de Meuron, reaction was mixed. This is a firm that likes the grand gesture without scaled interest on the ground plane that would be warm or welcoming to building visitors. Critics noted that there were also plans to fence in the bottom for more exhibition space, and there was no vision on how this space would work with that of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre’s open space across the street.
Herzog and de Meuron proposal for New Vancouver Art Gallery, 688 Cambie Street
This 310,000 square foot wood clad building would be approximately 20 storeys high but have seven floors for the public and two floors below grade for storage and parking. There would be 85,000 square feet of galleries, a new education centre, an auditorium, and library and archival services.
There’s not been much news about the new gallery’s progress at the new location on Cambie Street. The current 750 Hornby Street location with the wonderful lions at the entrance still functions as one of the city’s primary places to meet, greet and people watch. Price Tags is watching too.
Taking out three-story residential walk-up construction in Burnaby–“renters can get a room with a view”
Trump Tower –” what are they thinking low hanging fruit, definitely a huge sore spot.Official opening postponed, although much of the building is in every-day use through the back door.”
Americanization of Vancouver City Hall –“time was the City Manager and the department heads worked at city hall for years, knew the system and everyone’s names, and worked up to their positions. City Managers were also not hires of new Councils, instead managing approved policy over several councils, not immediate Council directives. Now Vancouver folllows the American model of city governance. The Engineering Department still has a head hired from within. Gil Kelley, Director of Planning, Kaye Krishna Manager of Development Services and Sadhu Johnston, City Manager, are all American celebrating their Thanksgiving at the end of November. And they voted in the American election.”
For Day Four of the 2016 Gordies, two awards are being given in the category of “Most Puzzling Planning Work”.
The 2016 Gordies “For Most Puzzling Planning Work” go to:
Jericho and Heather Lands: “Huge potential for city-making on 92 acres of desirable real estate at Jericho and 21 acres at 37th and Heather. The potential is only exceeded by the ongoing silence. Major opportunity for transit-oriented development at Heather Lands; some work required on this for Jericho via Broadway Line extension.”
Provincial Gov’t to give $35,000 interest free to eligible home buyers. “Even as the Feds’ CMHC requires higher down payments to help avoid debt risk to homeowners. How many months until that Provincial election??”
Bill Cunningham who wrote for the New York Times died at 87 in 2016. You may have seen his column-Bill went around New York City by bike and by foot and photographed fashion trends. But he was doing more than that-as The New York Times stated he “ turned fashion photography into his own branch of cultural anthropology on the streets of New York, chronicling an era’s ever-changing social scene for The New York Times by training his busily observant lens on what people wore — stylishly, flamboyantly or just plain sensibly”.
In 2009 he was designated by the New York City Conservancy a living landmark. There is also an excellent documentary on him called “Bill Cunningham New York.” He lived in a tiny apartment in the Carnegie Hall building. And if you saw him in his peasant jacket on a bicycle, you knew it was Bill.
I think Foncie Pulice who took photos of Vancouverites from the 1930’s to 1979 was also a bit like Bill Cunningham, someone who was at ease with talking to people on the street and leaving a cultural gift of all those photographic memories. And until 2006 there was David Cohen, a music lover that went to every symphony concert he could and would always talk to anyone on Granville Mall about music, bus routes, life and living in Vancouver. David always carried books with him and was passionate about music. Bramwell Tovey the conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra played the piano for David at his hospice when he was dying. David Cohen was for me the epitome of a Vancouverite, approachable, kind and just plain friendly.
Do we still have those characters in Vancouver that connect people through photography, music, or conversation on downtown city streets? If you know of one, please let us know in the comments below.
As 2017 dawns, Canada’s 150th anniversary will be celebrated this summer. There are a few folks among us that will remember the 100th anniversary, with Expo 67 in Montreal, and every school child in Canada getting a bronze coin with “1967” on it. There was also musician Bobby Gimby with his song “CAN-NAH-DAH” which seemed to be mandatory for every school child. Here is a link to the official song video, if you missed that party.
School children then had to learn the word “Centennial”. Today its a new word for 150 years, “Sesquicentennial”. While Pierre Trudeau was Justice Minister in 1967, his son Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister in 2017 for this event. At a time where there is a lot of commentary about world politics, governance, and place, there is a lot that we as Canadians can be proud of. As this article in the Globe and Mail states expect to have advertising, as in this Loblaw commercial below focus on what we have done right, and how we can do it a bit better.
“This year’s anniversary is likely to ramp up the national symbolism in ads as an easy way to connect with people. However, there is a need to handle it carefully: at Loblaw, for example, there were lengthy discussions about how to incorporate the anniversary without taking an excessively “flag-waving” approach that might not be appropriate for the brand or appreciated by customers”.
The commercial below focuses not on the Loblaw brand, but on emotional connection. That is a bit of a play on the feelings of nationalism which will surely compound this year with the country’s internal birthday, and external events that will demand focus on who we are and what we do well.
Seasoned journalist Pete McMartin admits in his latest column-“Time to See B.C. for what it is-Paradise” that we are doing some stuff right. As McMartin says”“On the scale of horrible things in this world, real estate, private schools, ICBC, and, yes, even Christy Clark’s smile, are as nothing. You, your children, British Columbians, Canadians, have won the world lottery. Ten thousand kilometres away, a man must get through a corridor of murderous soldiers to get his family to safety: you must get through a tunnel to get home to pizza.”
In one of those inspirational moments, Metro News reports on a pretty savvy campaign by the City of Vancouver to enhance interest in enrolling on the “Talk Vancouver” online consultation panel on all things city.
This program has more than 12,000 participants that were engaged in 50 surveys by the city in 2016. Using the ingenuity of the local Lego Club a design was developed for a miniature duplicate of the City Hall in Lego, complete with a clock and the flag.
There are 50 Lego mini-city halls to be given out.
To qualify, residents can join the online engagement tool Talk Vancouver between Dec. 12 and Dec. 23. Existing members can also qualify for the two draws by responding to an email from Talk Vancouver.
One of the coolest applications of technology is written about in this Atlantic Monthly article-the unveiling of Radio Garden. By looking at a map and clicking on a dot you can “know humanity through its sounds, through its music. It’s an interactive map that lets you tune into any one of thousands of radio stations all over the world in real time. Exploring the site is both immersive and a bit disorienting—it offers the sense of lurking near Earth as an outsider. In an instant, you can click to any dot on the map and hear what’s playing on the radio there, from Miami to Lahore to Berlin to Sulaymaniyah and beyond”.
I have been listening to Radio Izmir Turkey’s local station Radyo Kordelya and Dakar Senegal’s “Allo Dakar Radio Tam Tam”.
“The project, created for the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision by the interactive design firms Studio Puckey and Moniker, was built using an open-source WebGL globe that draws from thousands of radio stations—terrestrial and online-only streams—overlaid with Bing satellite imagery. The result is the best kind of internet rabbit hole: Engrossing, perspective shifting, provocative, and delightful”.
Tuning into these stations broadcasting local music and items of local significance gives a new way of viewing “humanity in the abstract, and also at the individual level”.
In the words of Canadian visionary Marshall McLuhan:
“As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes”.
Vancouver has developed differently from any other city in North America in terms of its civic engagement, strong citizen identity and early adaptation to environmental concerns and social causes. Some of the events coming out of the 1970’s that profoundly changed Vancouver are in Kate Bird’s book Vancouver in the Seventies.
In the Youtube video below, local luminaries including Kate Bird, Shelley Fralic, Aaron Chapman and Michael Kluckner describe some of the key events in the 1970’s which have shaped Vancouver thought, culture and politics.
Kate Bird is also the guest curator of the Museum of Vancouver exhibit “Vancouver in the Seventies” which will be at the museum until February 26, 2017.
At his only public talk since arriving from San Francisco, Vancouver’s new Director of Planning voiced an ambitious agenda. He said that since our city’s glory days of the 1980’s and ’90’s, “planning has shrunk. We need to be leaders, not just regulators.” He reminded us that the purpose of planning is to answer, “Where do we want to go?” and listed strategies, relations with senior levels of government, architecture, streetscapes, housing, jobs, transportation, regulation, public engagement, and a host of key project areas to focus on.
Mr. Kelley will talk about these in greater detail, but he’s new to Vancouver, and to Canada. He wants to hear from you. What are your interests, priorities, hopes and dreams for the look and feel of our city?
Please join us for the first conversation with Vancouver’s new decision maker, key staffer and implementer. Feel free to bring your lunch.
Registration is not required but seating is limited. Please try to arrive early to ensure a seat.
Thursday, Nov 3
12:30 – 1:30 PM
Room 1900 (Note room change) – SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre
The 2011 Stanley Cup riots have been described as one of the largest crime sprees in Vancouver. The riot stripped a sense of safety and security from many citizens. But the next morning, hundreds took to the streets to reclaim our city.
That summer, Prof. Steve Reicher was writing about similar riots in England. He’s a social psychologist at the University of St. Andrews, who studies crowd actions, political rhetoric, and national identity. Ms. Tania Arvanitidis is a PhD candidate in the SFU School of Criminology who has been studying the riots since 2011.
Five years after the Stanley Cup riots, what have we learned about crowd behaviour, and the impacts on those most affected? Will the high cost of prosecution be a deterrent?
Registration is not required. Please try to arrive early to ensure a seat.
City Conversations next topic on October 6: Is Cohousing One Piece of Our Housing Puzzle?
Shared living isn’t for everyone, as attested by multitudes of Lower Mainland houses barricaded behind cedar hedges. But there are now a dozen cohousing projects around BC, and for those who value community over absolute privacy, it’s an option beyond condos and apartments. How does it work?
Later this month, the City’s housing summit targets the needs of those who work and live in Vancouver. Should cohousing be part of the mix?
Our Presenters are Vancouver Cohousing Co-founder and resident Ericka Stephens-Rennie, development consultant and urban planner Michael Mortensen, who is attracted to the concept; and real estate development consultant Herb Auerbach, ‘who likes to look at things holistically.’
Thursday, October 6
Room 1600 – SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings
Registration is not required but seating is limited. Please try to arrive early to ensure a seat.
Special Edition – Vancouver’s Downtown Waterfront: Imagining a place for people
This September 12-18 is Placemaking Week in Vancouver, with a number of conferences and events happening involving placemaking designers and specialists from all over the world.
SFU City Conversations joins them with a tour and conversation to envision a new downtown waterfront.
You can attend both events, or either one.
Join us for a waterfront tour beginning at Jack Poole Plaza (the Olympic torch) at 10 am. You’ll see what has been done right, and learn how it could have gone wrong. We’ll finish the tour at 11:30 a.m at Waterfront Station, learning its history and opportunities.
Our tour leaders will be Tom Phipps and Michael Alexander, Members of the Downtown Waterfront Working Group, Steve Brown, Transportation Engineer, City of Vancouver and Graham McGarva, Architect.
Then at 12:30 pm join us for our SFU City Conversation at SFU Vancouver (directly across from Waterfront Station).
To start the conversation, we have Rico Quirindongo, Seattle architect and planner; Darren Davis, Senior Transportation Planner for Auckland, New Zealand; and Urban Planner and author Lance Berelowitz.
Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Meet at the Olympic Torch at Jack Poole Plaza (dress for the weather)
Wed, 14 Sep 2016 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Room 1700, SFU Vancouver, 515 W. Hastings note room change; look for direction signs in lobby)