Nice use of polished concrete, twinkling laneway lights.
Do you know where? Answer below.
And the answer is: Calgary! 450 8th Avenue SE
Nice use of polished concrete, twinkling laneway lights.
Do you know where? Answer below.
And the answer is: Calgary! 450 8th Avenue SE
Or, more precisely, Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line station.
HERE are details on the Vancouver Park Board’s conceptual design proposal to renew the pier at Jericho Beach.
Things to note: Accessibility for all to the pier and to boats — in cooperation with the Disabled Sailing Association, including hoists and lifts.
The open house on this project, if you missed it, was lively and busy. More opinions, as usual, than people — a good thing.
The Vancouver Parks Board wants to renew the pier in Jericho Beach Park. It’s another of the lovely treasures that are part of Vancouver’s waterfront DNA.
You’re invited to check out the initial plans and make your reactions known.
The Vancouver Park Board, in partnership with the Disabled Sailing Association, is renewing the aging pier at Jericho Beach and providing an accessible dock for sailors with disabilities.
The reconstructed pier will:
- Provide an accessible floating dock to provide for users of all ages and levels of mobility, accommodating up to 15 sailboats for the Disabled Sailing Association’s adaptive sailing program
- Provide seating and views of Burrard Inlet and English Bay
- Offer recreational fishing and crabbing opportunities
- Accommodate future sea level rise
This looks to me like a cool and spontaneous assemblage of found material where you could sit and watch the sunset over English Bay. Located under the Burrard St. Bridge, north end.
Cycling and Walking: This is what we did and this is what happened. From the City of Vancouver:
It is really no surprise that Vancouver has been named the most walkable city in Canada by Walk Score which looks at population, block length and density to ascertain their “best of” ratings. By looking at the proximity of walking routes to amenities, Walk Score ranks places dependent on amenities within a five-minute walk.
The fact that Vancouver is walkable and has championed the ability to access shops and services within minutes of walking is really the result of a group of concerned citizens who started to meet in the early 1990’s. This group included landscape architects, planners, students and historians that later became the Urban Landscape Task Force, charged with creating walkable connections through the existing street grid, parks and public places. One of the great legacies that came out of this Task Force is the creation of the City of Vancouver Greenway system, that links streets where walking and biking has precedence over cars. These greenways stretch from boundary to boundary across the city, and are streets where there is always a sidewalk, curb cuts at crossings, pedestrian/cyclist activated lights, plantings, and route signage. It was a remarkable piece of work that mandated that every resident of Vancouver should be within a twenty-minute walk or a ten-minute bicycle ride from a greenway.
In the United States New York City was named the most walkable, with Sydney Australia being the most walkable in that country. Walk Score defines walkability as “access to public transit, better commutes, and proximity to the people and places you love are the key to a happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.”
But before everyone gets excited about Vancouver’s ranking-it is not a “walker’s paradise” which Walk Score defines as cities with scores over 90. Nope, Vancouver’s score is 78, with Toronto at 71 and Montreal at 70. There is still a lot of room for improving Vancouver’s walkability with better attention to universal accessibility, sidewalk texture, width and design, benches for folks of all ages to sit on during a walk, and more comfort, safety and priority for pedestrians on the street. The Walk Score also does not take into account Vancouver’s discouraging record of pedestrian deaths, with the majority of those fatalities being seniors legally walking across marked intersections. That’s where more work also needs to be done by the City on slowing traffic and ensuring safer pedestrian experiences.
And here’s Walk Score’s List of Most Walkable Cities by Country;
The British have a developed way of building shaming and have wasted no time saying exactly what they feel about the 380 million pound Nova building located next to Victoria station near London’s Buckingham Palace. As Oliver Wright in The Guardian states this “complex, which lurches outside the station in its bright red costume like a drunken member of the Queen’s Guard, has been crowned winner of the Carbuncle Cup for the UK’s ugliest building by Building Design magazine. It beat some strong competition, from the new entrance to Preston station, student housing in Portsmouth and the first phase of Battersea power station’s residential development, among other lurid crimes against the built environment.”
The Carbuncle Cup is named after unguarded remarks made by Prince Charles who called Ahrends, Burton and Koralek‘s London’s National Gallery new wing a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”. Following up on such eloquence, Building Design magazine launched the Cup in 2006, with voting for badly designed buildings conducted online, and final judging done on a short list of those remarkable buildings.
The Nova building has been described by judges as “one that sets a new benchmark for dystopian dysfunction” with “the bright red prows that adorn various points of the exterior like the inflamed protruding breasts of demented preening cockerels”.
The architects PLP Architecture are described as “serial offenders” for their 22 Bishopsgate building which was following “the vogue for faceted glass office buildings”. A photo of the glass walled Bishopsgate structure is below.
It is unfortunate that PLP Architecture describes the red colour as being a reference to “an important transport interchange” and the use of facets and cross-bracing were “patterns to lighten the effect on your eye, to break up the surface, and create more of a decorative surface”. This development takes up a whole city block with two office buildings, and a residential building. The 2017 Carbuncle Cup was awarded specifically for the office buildings, although the residential buildings also warranted attention, and were called “mangled gobbledygook… far too many influences have been at play”.
The Nova has no strong interactive ground plane and no scale or reference for pedestrians at street level other than the unfortunate triangles which look like A frame huts. What is troubling is how a whole city block in one of the most touristic parts of London could have morphed into such an androgynous design. Even the double-decker buses seem to cower away from it.
The sadness in this “wedge gone rogue” is how a design like this with no reference to the historical streetscape could have been developed. Is there a need for a similar system of awards in Canada for architecture that leaves citizens breathless for the wrong reasons?
Out for a walk on a sunny summer holiday morning. People were all around, doing things, being active, taking advantage of a beautiful place on a spectacular day.
To see ourselves as others see us. Always useful fun, even if the gushy words are a guilty pleasure.
Here’s Suzanne MacNeille in the New York Times undergoing smitification during her 36 Hours In Vancouver.
For locals, it’s no surprise or even a point of interest that the article’s lead illustration shows a bike rider on a bike path. But it’s a big deal to visitors. The city is becoming well-known for its broad and growing bike culture and safe infrastructure. Judging from the busy bike rental shops popping up everywhere, and the earnest material by Mobi on how to decide between Mobi or a rental shop — the tourist bike thing has serious legs.
Other highlights and cultural touchstones for Ms. MacNeille: nature, coastline, multi-ethnicity, public art, especially indigenous art (including murals), the eclectic food scene, architecture and neighbourhoods (like the West End).
It promised a new way of bike riding in New York City — GPS-tracked smart bikes that would rent for as little as $1 and did not have to be picked up or returned to fixed locations.
But before it could even start, the company that operates the bikes, Spin, canceled a demonstration project in the Rockaways in Queens after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from city transportation officials. …
Spin’s unsuccessful effort comes as a new generation of tech-savvy bike companies are vying to make riding less expensive and more convenient, competing with more established bike-share programs in the process. Instead of heading to a docking station full of bikes, riders tap a mobile app to locate the closest bicycle left by a previous rider on a street or sidewalk, or in another public space. They typically scan a code on the bikes or punch in numbers to unlock the rear wheels. Once riders get where they are going, they find a place to park the bike, and lock the wheels again to deter theft.
These so-called “dockless bike” programs aim to let customers ride on their own terms, and are similar to the flexible car-sharing program car2go, which allows drivers to leave cars where they can find on-street parking within an operating area. The dockless bikes can be rolled out more quickly and easily than bike-share systems that rely on a network of docking stations, which are expensive to build and take up valuable street and parking space. In Dallas, which had struggled for years to fund a bike-share system, there are now about 300 dockless bikes. …
There is a changing of the guard in the City of Toronto with head planner Jennifer Keesmaat leaving after five years at the helm. She’s leaving on her own terms, and was asked to stay on by Mayor John Tory. We have to remember what Toronto was like five years ago-Rob Ford was Mayor, and he had been elected on a platform of reducing city taxes and doing away with some major transportation initiatives. It was a time of great uncertainty for Toronto-Mayor Ford was against a $30 billion dollar transit plan that would over thirty years provide for six new subway lines, ten light-rail lines plus new bus and street car lines. The plan was to be funded through property tax increases and grants from the Provincial and Federal governments, and was defeated by Council in June of 2012. It was not one of Toronto’s shining moments.
Three months later in September 2012 with a solid consulting background Jennifer Keesmaat was hired as the Chief City Planner. Jennifer had worked on plans for a range of Canadian cites from Vancouver to Halifax, and was a founding partner of the well-known firm DIALOG. She had a great understanding of the importance of community involvement in her consulting work, contributed generously to conferences, and was a firm supporter of Walk to School programs-she even has a TEDX talk on it.
Keesmaat besides being a planner has a family and she is her kids’ mom. She let people know that her kids biked to school, and other people’s kids could too. With her strong organizational abilities it was no surprise she stepped right in and took on some of the major work that Toronto required. She was pretty fearless and strongly supported the concepts of good density and walkability for placemaking. As Christopher Hume with the Toronto Star states “she has described mid-rise development,transportation, and waterfront as areas of focus. She has also been a strong proponent of a national urban agenda by calling for an expanded role of the federal government in supporting Canadian cities.”
Jennifer Keesmaat felt strongly that the revamping of the Gardiner Expressway, which allowed cars to get into the city more rapidly was a mistake and said so. She raised the debate about what planning was, and she made it something people could understand, and made it okay to talk about the city in a different way. Public meetings held by her were also on twitter and broadcast on the local cable channel. She made talking about the city accessible and cool. As Hume notes “she quickly revealed a talent for making people pay attention to issues that normally left them yawning”.
There’s a lot of discussion about Jennifer’s next moves, which may be into the political arena either municipally or federally. Regardless of that, her plucky take on placemaking, and focus on good city building came at a time when Toronto needed some strong direction, and a person willing to stand up for good planning principles. Jennifer Keesmaat most certainly achieved that.
It’s not often that a restaurant can survive on top of a podium, largely unmarked, up three flights of stairs. But Guu at Nelson Square at 808 Nelson has pulled it off. In addition to the food, another fine feature is the outdoor patio next to a quite wonderful west-coast garden in the Japanese style:
That pine looks like it has had years of nurturing in its own little microclimate. Kudos to the gardeners.
Here’s your chance to be part of the City of Vancouver’s “Arbutus Greenway Design Jam that will involve your participation in two evenings and two days looking at how the newest large linear public space in Vancouver will be designed and developed.
Are you passionate about public spaces? Do you want to make new friends over a fun and inspiring weekend? Would you love to immerse yourself in all things Arbutus Greenway? Apply today to become an Arbutus Champion!
During the Arbutus Greenway Design Jam, Arbutus Champions will participate in a collaborative workshop to help develop draft designs for the future Arbutus Greenway.
Here’s the plan:
October 20, 5pm – 9pm: Set the Stage and Introductions
October 27, 5pm – 9pm: Deep Dive into the Arbutus Greenway
October 28, 9am – 5pm: Deeper Dive and Start to Bring it Together
October 29, 9am – 5pm: Bring it all Together
Who can apply?
There is no experience required. You can be from any part of Vancouver. You must have a passion for the Arbutus Greenway and public spaces, and you must be available for all four days of the Design Jam. Bring your boldest and brightest ideas and we’ll provide everything else!
How will Arbutus Champions be selected?
There are 100 spots available for the Design Jam. Participants will be randomly selected by location, age, and gender to reach a broad demographic.
Interested? Apply here.
The Art Gallery North plaza is really only partly open, but people are already finding usefulness and delight there.
Another delightful outburst of happy transformation. From unloved to attractive; from dark and utilitarian to bright and bustling; from empty to busy with people and fun.
Here is one “before” photo and 5 “during”.
[Click to get a large size slide show]
This summer the Vancouver Public Space Network, with a grant from VIVA Vancouver is transforming two laneways into fun and friendly spaces using upcycled furniture, flea market finds, and pallets. . . .
. . . This activation will use some creatively upcycled materials to turn an urban space into the suburban dream. Think grilled food, lawn games, music, and maybe even a rogue pink flamingo.
Backyard BBQ is the Vancouver Public Space Network’s second Laneway Living Room activation for summer 2017. This tactical urbanism project is designed to highlight the potential of Vancouver’s unloved and underutilized laneways by quickly and cheaply transforming them into people-friendly public spaces. We invite you to come to our Backyard BBQ!
Here’s a proposal to turn part of Columbia Street and several unconnected existing public spaces into something much bigger and more elaborate.
The Youth Collaboration For Chinatown (YCC-YVR) is behind the proposal. Reaction from the City of Vancouver is not clear at this point. But it is clear that this proposal will affect the contentious 105 Keefer development by changing road space into people space on its west side. Not necessarily a bad thing for site proponents Beedie Development Group and Merrick Architecture.
The proposed plaza starts at the intersection of Keefer and Columbia, and runs a half-block north, and incorporates two existing plazas into a new “Gateway to Chinatown”.
The existing plazas are the Chinatown Memorial Plaza and the plaza south of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver (see diagram below).
Part of the YCC-YVR’s idea is to build on and extend the North East False Creek draft area plan, and create a natural pathway into Chinatown for the post-viaduct world, incorporating historical themes. The city’s plan does this via the Carrell St. Promenade, which stops at Keefer.
[Click for a larger version slide show].
Back to 105 Keefer: HERE are some rather congruent thoughts from the proponents (Merrick Architecture)
The subject site is nestled in Chinatown’s natural gathering place, bordered by two significant arterial connectors – Keefer Street along its south edge, and Columbia Street along the west. Located adjacent to the Chinatown Memorial Plaza facing the Memorial to Chinese-Canadian Veterans, and across from the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden and Park, the site stands among many of Chinatown’s most notable cultural landmarks and at a natural apex of pedestrian traffic.
The opportunity to house neighbourhood seniors, provide an activity centre on site, near cultural facilities and in their existing community, has been identified as vital to the success of the project.
With its location at a central node of the Chinatown community, the site presents an excellent opportunity to revitalize the urban fabric and pedestrian experience in the area through public realm improvements and community contributions. It brings a chance to collectively contribute towards a vision that will reinvigorate Vancouver’s Chinatown.
Continuing PT’s public places theme — this is part of the Woodwards complex, and attracts people from SFU and local businesses.
If ever there was a call to seriously reboot our cities and suburbs, this report from The Guardian provides direct evidence that even the simple act of walking for exercise is not being followed by many middle-aged people in Great Britain. There is a direct link between the lack of exercise and several serious health conditions. Quite simply, walking reduces the risk of developing over 41 diseases and boosts the immune system for over 24 hours. But even with this information the British national public health service observed that 41 per cent of adults aged 40 to 60 years of age “walk less than 10 minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace of at least 3mph.”
There have been campaigns to encourage folks to get out of their cars and walk to shops and lunch breaks as a way to add years to their life spans. The evidence clearly shows that increased fitness, better moods, weight control and a 15 per cent reduction in premature death can result. While the push has been on to make suburbs and city streets more universally walkable to encourage sociability and physical activity, that message is not getting the middle-aged moving. The advice from the United States Surgeon General is 150 minutes of active walking a week for every American. The British advice is the same, but the findings are that 25 per cent of the population is doing less than 30 minutes of exercise a week-that’s less than five minutes a day. There have been several campaigns in Britain to try to get people walking briskly for ten minutes a day and there is the “Active 10” app which is available free from the National Health Service.
It is becoming clear that health and planning disciplines need close linkages for walkable, comfortable and convenient links for schools, shops and services. Moving by foot should require no thought and should be the preferred option. How that linkage can be positively reinforced will be the subject of a webinar from Simon Fraser University’s City Program on Monday, September 10th. This webinar will be hosting a discussion with Dr William Bird MBE , founder of Intelligent Health UK who works in the intersection between health and city planning across the globe. Price Tags will be providing further registration details soon.
Can an unloved space become something fun and friendly? Well, people are going to try: VPSN Backyard BBQ Laneway Living Room.
Find out on Saturday. In the alley, north of Cordova, west of Cambie. Noon to 9 pm.
This summer the Vancouver Public Space Network, with a grant from VIVA Vancouver is transforming two laneways (for one day each) into fun and friendly spaces using upcycled furniture, flea market finds, and pallets. After having hosted an outrageously successful event in East Van, Gastown is the second neighbourhood up! Join us for a casual Backyard BBQ – a laneway activation taking place in the diagonal alleyway connecting Cambie and Cordova Streets on Saturday, August 26th. This activation will use some creatively upcycled materials to turn an urban space into the suburban dream. Think grilled food, lawn games, music, and maybe even a rogue pink flamingo.
Here’s the BEFORE photo.