Monday, January 30, 2012

Vancouver Planning Chief Toderian Given the Axe

VANCOUVERFrom Tuesday's Globe & Mail
The Vision city council is terminating the contract of former mayor Sam Sullivan’s most high-profile hire, planning director Brent Toderian. According to sources, Mr. Toderian was told last week that his contract is being ended “without cause.”

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hedonistic Sustainability:
Theory Meets Pragmatism Meets Optimism in Bjarke Ingels' Architecture

Theory meets pragmatism meets optimism in Bjarke Ingels' architecture. His big-think approach is informed by a hands-on, ground-up understanding of the needs of a building's occupants and surroundings.
Full bio and more links

Bjarke Ingels' architecture is luxurious, sustainable and community-driven. At TEDxEast he shows us his playful designs, from a factory chimney that blows smoke rings to a ski slope built atop a waste processing plant.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Popuphood: How To Revitalize A
Struggling Neighborhood In Six Months

POPUPHOOD from Eva Kolenko on Vimeo.

Many cities in America are facing the slow decline of their main streets and shopping areas. But a new program in Oakland might be the key to reviving vibrant, local commercial centers. All it takes is a little free rent and some entrepreneurial spirit.

Read more: Popuphood: How To Revitalize A Struggling Neighborhood In Six Months | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vancouver Vanguard: Fred Herzog’s Early Color Street Photographs —

Story and gallery at

Gabor Gasztonyi's Downtown Eastside Photographs "A Room in the City"
Foreword by Dr. Gabor Maté

cover of A Room in the City
A Room in the City
By Gabor Gasztonyi
 A Room in the City presents Gasztonyi’s five-year project of photographing the residents of the Cobalt, Balmoral, Regent, and Sunrise Hotels in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the poorest postal code in the country. They are represented in private moments, with respect and dignity—in their rooms and on the streets—as they wish to be seen. Gasztonyi’s style continues in the great documentation tradition of Anders Petersen and Josef Koudelka, the photographer of the Roma.

Read more at Anvil Press

From Spacing Vancouver
Winter Solstice Beat

Winter Solstice Beat from Kathleen Corey and Brian Gould on Vimeo.

 The HD version is highly recommended and available at its Vimeo page.

 Winter in Vancouver is not quite like winter in other Canadian cities. There is a unique beat that arrives in the city as the days get longer and the nights get shorter.

Even on cold days, Granville Island is bustling with people. Les Finnigan, a regular busker with a gentle demeanour, plays his soothing acoustic tunes as our eyes wander out to sea.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Maleks Buy New Property Listed at
$4.9-Million - The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER— From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 10:43PM EST

The Malek brothers made a place in history in Vancouver after their Olympic village development ran head-on into a financial crisis during the world economic meltdown, which forced the city first to bail them out, then take over their near-$1-billion loan.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

From The Pop-Up City
Starbucks Drive-Thru Container Coffee Shop

Coffee website Dear Coffee, I Love You is critical about the effort of Starbucks to look green with this piece of ‘cargotecture’ (container architecture). Although it implements rainwater harvesting, xeriscaping and reduced signage, the new coffee shop is a drive-thru, which is not that environment-friendly at all.
Starbucks Drive-Thru Container Coffee Shop — The Pop-Up City

Saturday, January 14, 2012

From Gordon Price's Price Tags blog —
The Most Important Thing That
Never Happened in Vancouver

Project 200 along the Burrard Inlet waterfront would have required the demolition of everything from Granville Street, including most of the heritage buildings in the Sinclair Centre, to Cambie Street, including most of Gastown to Woodwards. You can see the remaining W sign at the far left centre. Granville Square was the only part of the project actually constructed – which is the reason there’s a yawning entrance to a parkade at the foot of what was once our most prestigious street.

The main feature though is the waterfront freeway, connecting the Chinatown Freeway with the proposed Third Crossing, off to the right. It would have been part of a loop surrounding the entire central business district. More here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

From Chuck Davis' The History of Metropolitan Vancouver

On May 7, 1907 a Seattle film maker named William Harbeck came up to Vancouver to make a movie. That six-minute, silent, black-and-white movie is the earliest we have of the city. It is a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past.

 Vancouver, 1907

The earliest known film footage shot from a streetcar in 1907 by William Harbeck. More info here. Re-posted from

From Project For Public

Placemaking for Communities
Collaborative, Creative Placemaking:
Good Public Art Depends on 

Good Public Spaces

Santa Marta Favela, Rio de Janeiro. (Haas&Hahn for

“It is difficult to design a space that will not attract people; what is remarkable is how often this has been accomplished.” William H. (Holly) Whyte

During the past two or more decades, communities around the country have fallen victim to the relentless machinations of a group of people with an overdeveloped, overspecialized “creative function,” who see themselves as experts rather than collaborators or service providers. In the face of these experts and their implicit authority, communities have been intimidated and made to feel impotent. The public has been convinced to leave the creative function solely in the hands of the specially trained—namely architects, artists, and designers—and to abdicate its role in nurturing the creative life of the city. As a result, the communal psyche has atrophied and the public realm has suffered. Projects—whether public art, public parks, or public transportation—designed without the community in mind have provoked fierce criticism by host communities. That criticism is based on, among other things, a lack of trust in the motives of the professionals involved, who often serve something other than the public good and whose priorities are often different from those of the community.


Chris Burden's Metropolis II

Chris Burden’s kinetic, large-scale sculpture Metropolis II will be coming to LACMA on long-term loan in the near future.... the mesmerizing and incredibly noisy video of the work, featuring 1,200 toy cars on their roller-coaster ride through the “city.”

A look at Chris Burden's kinetic sculpture, filmed in 2011 at the artist's studio in Topanga, CA.

Monday, January 9, 2012

From The Atlantic Cities — A Plan to
Make Drivers Hate Downtown Dublin

Titled Your City, Your Space, the draft strategy notes that more than 500,000 people access the city centre daily – 235,000 workers, 45,000 students, 120,000 shoppers or other visitors and 116,000 inner city residents.  Notwithstanding the recession, it states that projections for 2020 suggest figures could increase to 350,000 workers, 70,000 students and 180,000 residents. This would “put pressure on the public realm”, requiring reallocation of road space.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Taking Parking Lots Seriously, as Public Spaces -

 A sea of Green? A working lot at Disney World in Orlando, FlaYann Arthus-Bertrand/Altitude
THERE are said to be at least 105 million and maybe as many as 2 billion parking spaces in the United States.
A third of them are in parking lots, those asphalt deserts that we claim to hate but that proliferate for our convenience. One study says we’ve built eight parking spots for every car in the country. Houston is said to have 30 of them per resident. In “Rethinking a Lot,” a new study of parking, due out in March, Eran Ben-Joseph, a professor of urban planning at M.I.T., points out that “in some U.S. cities, parking lots cover more than a third of the land area, becoming the single most salient landscape feature of our built environment.”

Taking Parking Lots Seriously, as Public Spaces -
A parking lot adjacent to the redesigned BC Place stadium in Vancouver September 29, 2011. - A parking lot adjacent to the redesigned BC Place stadium in Vancouver September 29, 2011. | Jeff Vinnick For The Globe and Mail


Vancouver Tax Hike Drives Home Message That Cars Have No Place Downtown - The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER— From Saturday's Globe

Vancouver’s battle against the car downtown has been so successful that parking lots saw sharp declines in use last year.

Thanks to a 35-per-cent tax hike on parking, the seductive appeal of the Canada Line, and a mantra that cars are bad and any other form of locomotion is good, the city’s parking corporation, EasyPark, saw a 9-per-cent drop in lot use.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Warren Buffett on Charlie Rose For the Hour

Warren Buffett discusses his New York Times Op-Ed piece 'Stop Coddling the Super-Rich' which calls on Congress to increase taxes on the Super-Rich like himself.

Monday, January 2, 2012

From Spacing Vancouver
A Vancouver “Extra” Special in Strathcona

"Vancouver Specials were initially targeted for immigrant families looking for an affordable, modern home to enjoy the North American quality of life and designed to optimize the use of a 33 foot wide city lot. The original plans could be purchased at City Hall for $65. Given their stock nature and frequency of use, permits were issued quickly. It was not unusual for a Special to be built in a few weeks time. By 1985, there were an estimated 10,000 Vancouver Specials throughout the city."

A Vancouver “Extra” Special in Strathcona « Spacing Vancouver