Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Curbside Haikus:
Poetry to the Streets Via Traffic Signs

Oncoming cars rush
Each a 3-ton bullet.
And you, flesh and bone.

Janette Sadik-Kahn and the New York Department of Transporation succeed yet again in putting the fun in transportation. Bike lanes! Beach chairs in Times Square! Reduced vehicular traffic! Now they've launched Curbside Haiku [PDF], a project that takes poetry to the streets via traffic safety signs throughout New York City.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Garden in the Sky in the Heart of Vancouver
KERRY GOLD Special to Globe and Mail Update
Published Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 4:43PM EST

Until now, downtown Vancouver was known for branch offices, not company headquarters – but that might be about to change for good.

The Telus Garden building, set for completion by 2014, should act as a catalyst to attract more head offices away from the suburbs and industrial parks and towards the downtown core.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Squaring Public Space
With Human Needs
LISA ROCHON | Columnist profile
Paris— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 25, 2011 3:30PM EST

Place des Vosges always draws me to its magnificent truths whenever I visit Paris. But, last weekend under a cloudless autumn sky, the 17th-century square seemed especially ageless – and, for the makers of public space back home in Canada, freshly instructive.

The prototypical European square was packed with children in classic blue cardigans playing make-believe in the sandboxes and with teenaged boys playing raucous games of soccer on the fine gravel. Along the edges of the square – past the geometric lawns of grass – friends, lovers and families were folded into conversations at tiny restaurant tables under the sheltering, arched arcade. Girlfriends peered into the artisan shops and haute-couture boutiques. Tired-looking fathers cradling babies, and elderly couples in stiff woollen coats gathered on the wooden benches near the rows of clipped, leafless linden trees, bathed in the warm rays of sun.

Friday, November 25, 2011

From the NFB — Highrise: The Towers in the World, The World in the Towers

Explore more, including an interactive version at:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Richard Rogers Architects —
Las Arenas, Barcelona

Richard Rogers Architects 
Las Arenas Completed

From —
Las Arenas formally re-opened to the public on 25 March 2011 as a major new mixed-use leisure, entertainment and office complex.

The historic bullring, built at the end of the 19th century, fell largely into disuse during the 1970s due to the declining popularity of bull fighting in Catalonia. However, the strong civic and cultural role which the building played in the life of Barcelona over nearly a century led to a decision by the city council that the façade should not be demolished. The design has created an open and accessible entrance to the new building at street level. In addition, a separate building – the 'Eforum' – in Carrer Llança, adjacent to the bullring, will provide retail and restaurants at ground and first-floor levels, with four levels of offices above.

Monday, November 21, 2011

City of Vancouver Design Competition: Viaducts & Eastern Core

Vancouver Viaducts & Eastern Core

re:CONNECT invites the citizens of Vancouver, to join with local and international designers to ignite discussion and dream new possibilities for the future of the Viaducts and the City's broader Eastern Core. Design ideas have been received and you can now vote and comment on your favourite ideas for this area of the City.

Are Complete Streets Incomplete?

This illustration from Indianapolis's "Multimodal Corridor and Public Space Design Guidelines" reflects how the new wave of street policies specifies Placemaking guidance as well as how to accommodate all modes.

Are Complete Streets Incomplete? « Project for Public Spaces - Placemaking for Communities

The “complete streets” movement has taken the United States by storm, and has even taken root in countries such as Canada and Australia. Few movements have done so much to influence needed policy change in the transportation world. As of today, almost 300 jurisdictions around the U.S. have adopted complete streets policies or have committed to do so. This is an amazing accomplishment that sets the stage for communities to reframe their future around people instead of cars. Read more at Project for Public Places

Michael Geller:
Affordable Housing a Difficult Goal

Michael Geller, writing in the Sun, answers a reporter's question: "Can municipal politicians really do much about affordability or is [Mayoral candidate Suzanne] Anton just blowing smoke?"
"...I will be voting for politicians who have a realistic understanding of the issues and the appropriate role of a municipal government. I will also support those candidates who will spend money wisely. Otherwise, an increasing number of people may be sleeping in tents three years from now." Emphasis mine...
I am also wondering how and why important public health care and social policy (addressing homelessness and its attendant complexities) ended up being developed by municipal politicians and earnest, well-intentioned volunteers. 
Vancouver Sun, Nov 18, 2011 Affordable housing a difficult goal

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Charlie Rose - A Conversation about the
New York City High Line

A Conversation about the NYC High Line with Amanda Burden, director of the New York City Department of City Planning, Diane von Furstenberg, Robert Hammond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line and Joshua David,Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Parking lots are...the best possible way of destroying a city’s soul."

Parking lots are — with only a handful of exceptions — the best possible way of destroying a city’s soul. They’re gruesome, lifeless places, and I’m constantly astonished by the way in which governments and developers are convinced that they’re a great idea. Instead, local government should act as a brake on private developers’ desires to build out new parking: while that might (or might not) be good for an individual commercial operation, it can at the same time be bad for the city as a whole.

More here (Reuters): Parking datapoints of the day | Felix Salmon

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jane Jacobs and the
Power of Women Planners

Fifty years ago this month, Jane Jacobs published Death and Life of Great American Cities and changed the way the world understands cities. Yet even when she's acknowledged as an important urban thinker, the 'housewife' qualifier is invariably included. When we talk about strategies for city growth and economic development, women aren't often offered seats at the table. They hold jobs in the field but few posts as critics. Jane was the exception. But the rules didn’t change a great deal.

Read more
 Jane Jacobs and the Power of Women Planners - Arts & Lifestyle - The Atlantic Cities:

'via Blog this'

Creative Financing |

As they stroll along the grand boulevards of Paris, few visitors understand the creative financial mechanisms that underwrote the city's reconstruction in the 1850s. Between 1851 and 1869, the Prefect of the Seine, Baron Georges-Eugènes Haussmann, oversaw the expenditure of some 2.5 billion francs and took the view that "expenditures on public works were not expenditures at all but investments readily recoverable in rising tax revenues from the growing population and from increased property values that the expenditures themselves created," according to historian David H. Pinkney. In 1918, New York City adopted its own form of "creative financing" to preserve its landmark buildings, by allowing owners to transfer their rights to develop to other sites. Since then, Transferable Density Rights (TDRs) have preserved many historic buildings in New York, with over one hundred municipalities in the United States having adopted similar legislation. Such policy mechanisms are less common in Canada.

Read more: Creative Financing |

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vancouver Sun, Nov 14, 2011
Municipal spending grows four times faster than population

Operating spending by B.C. municipalities has nearly quadrupled in the past decade compared to the rate of population growth and inflation, says a new report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Sun

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eastside Mural Projects

A quartet of four community-based murals sponsored by Britannia Community Services Society and coordinated by Richard Tetrault has been painted in East Vancouver this summer, marking Britannia High School’s Centennial and celebrating its place within the community. These public murals express some of the history, traditions and contemporary life in the surrounding neighbourhoods. Strathcona, Commercial Drive and Hastings/Sunrise are dynamic parts of Vancouver, and home to hundreds of artists, arts events and festivals. These include the annual Heart of the City Festival and Eastside Culture Crawl. This set of murals explore the rich qualities of this area, drawing from events, individuals and narratives found within this community. Eastside Mural Projects

For further information contact: Richard Tetrault

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Portland's Aerial Tram