Saturday, May 31, 2014

Federation of Cdn Municipalities Conference Live tweets #FCMycm @FCM_online

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Twitter List — Architecture, Design

Twitter List — Global city bloggers
From @guardiancities

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

From CityLab
The Future of Transportation: How Getting From Here to There is Changing Forever

Dealing with disasters, small or large, is all about movement. Getting people away from the danger, bringing emergency response operations toward the danger, transporting casualties to medical services, delivering supplies and materiel to support these operations, and managing this movement through areas with infrastructure that may be either damaged or loaded beyond capacity. Threats like earthquakes and terrorist attacks give no notice, but one thing we know for sure — the water will keep rising. The growing consensus is that while attempts to halt climate change and rising sea levels are necessary, coastal cities have no choice but to prepare for its inexorable encroachment. Read more: The Future of Transportation - CityLab

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan
Goes to Council Monday

How to critique a Transportation Master Plan that says all the right things? All the current urbanist jargon and concepts are here. The first part of the plan could have been written by algorithm mining from on-line content trendy notions of "complete streets", "walkability" and "a good transportation plan is a good land use plan." So, no fault can be found in the introduction and one is encouraged that based on these urbanist concepts, visionary and transformative actions are surely to follow.
But, I'm reminded of the band leader who, when asked to play a dreary old chestnut that both he and his band loathed, said no they didn't play that tune but you'll like our next selection instead — it contains many of the same notes.
Some background. Nanaimo is a small city on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It is often referred to as 5 minutes wide and 45 minutes long. By my estimation its land mass is five times greater than makes any sustainable sense. By comparison, Victoria, the Provincial Capital 100 km to the south with a comparable population of around 85,000 is 7.5 sq miles to Nanaimo's 35 sq miles. This is the elephant in the room in all important planning, economic development and mobility challenges our little city faces.
While brief, passing reference is made to this very low population density, its ramifications are not dealt with here in any realistic manner. The report has some blind spots and this is certainly one of them. To the report's credit the linkage between zoning and land use and mobility in the city is identified but in a way the weather or the city's geology might be discussed. At some point cities have to face the limitations of a real estate driven sprawling development model that was great fun through the boom years but has left us struggling with its consequences. It is possible, though not discussed in this document, that a one-size-fits-all multi modal mobility plan is simply not feasible in a city as sprawling as Nanaimo. Concerns I raised in an earlier post here.

A wise friend said early days in this planning process, "a transportation master plan is about everything", there's nothing in city life that transportation in the city doesn't touch for good or ill. To me the first and overarching question in thinking about transportation planning is "what kind of city do we want to have." Here's two examples of plans that show vastly different approaches. The first is the City of Red Deer, Alberta. They brought in two very high profile urbanists who are in demand around the world: Danish architect Jan Gehl and Gil Penalosa former Parks Commissioner, Bogata Columbia who now heads the Canadian based 8-80 Cities. Link here. The second is a report done for the City of White Rock by the consultant Nanaimo hired, Urban Systems. Link here.

Jeff Speck at TEDxMidAtlantic
The General Theory of Walkability

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spur — a festival of politics, art and ideas
Vancouver May 22 - 25 Live tweets #spur14

The Better Block
Celebrates 4 Years of Re-imagining Streets

from STREETFILMS For a very long time, Streetfilms has wanted to profile Jason Roberts and the amazing work of The Better Block. It was destiny that a few weeks ago we were able to sync up to be present for the fourth anniversary of The Better Block in Oak Cliff. This temporary pedestrian plaza was adjacent to the site where they first debuted their innovative ideas to change a street.
You'll see some of the behind-the-scenes set up and preparation. But I already know the visuals people will be talking about most is their transformation of a dangerous intersection in to a safer one using only temporary materials - especially a really inventive way of re-purposing decals as crosswalks More at: “The Better Block” Celebrates Four Years of Re-imagining Streets on Vimeo

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Twitter List — Neighbourhood, Placemaking

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Twitter List — Walking, Cycling, Transit

Monday, May 19, 2014

Growing An Urban Neighborhood, One Store At A Time @NPR @VibrantStreets

Sunday, May 18, 2014

From Folha de S. Paulo
Junho - The Month that Shook Brazil

"In the month of the World Cup the film "Junho (June)- The month that shook Brazil" will be released in cinemas and on iTunes. In the first feature length film produced by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, the documentary shows how the protests against public transport fare rise in São Paulo in June 2013 achieved a national dimension and reached hundreds of cities across the country.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

From The Atlantic Cities CityLab
New Documentary Highlights
The Reinvention of America's Streets

Filmmaker Todd Drezner was inspired to make a documentary about the future of traffic while stuck in hopeless gridlock between New York and Connecticut. He wanted to know whether it's going to get worse and what cities can do about it.

But once he started digging, Drezner realized the issue is bigger -- it's really about city streets reinventing themselves. Since last June, the director has been filming In Transit, capturing footage of urban planners trying to sell pedestrian and bike-friendly streets to skeptical communities in Detroit and New York.
But streets aren't changing in those two cities alone; it's happening all over the country. That's why Drezner started a Kickstarter campaign to support filming in more cities -- Los Angeles and San Francisco, for example. The campaign, which ends tomorrow, is currently about $2,500 shy of reaching its goal.  Read more: A New Documentary Highlights the Reinvention of America's Streets - Jenny Xie - The Atlantic Cities

Friday, May 16, 2014

Jennifer Keesmaat in the Toronto Star — Fight Congestion: Densify Eglinton Avenue

It’s a well-known fact that it’s not possible to relieve traffic congestion by building more roads in a rapidly densifying city. Research has shown that when we add capacity to our road network, within a very short period of time additional commuters are induced to drive, leading to impassable congestion.
Two University of Toronto professors, Gilles Duranton and Matthew Turner, quantified this phenomena through historical data, showing that road construction goes hand-in-hand with an increase in traffic thanks to the “fundamental law of road congestion.” Read more: By densifying Eglinton, we can fight congestion | Toronto Star

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

#Stroad most unproductive of transportation investments, not good candidate for retrofit @StrongTowns

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Knight Foundation, Centre for the Living City Sponsor English Translation of
Jaime Lerner's Urban Acupuncture

Stephen Goldsmith is director of the Center for the Living City and an associate professor at the University of Utah. Through a partnership with Knight Foundation the center is publishing an English edition of “Urban Acupuncture,” a guide to help civic leaders tackle community challenges written by Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil. Photo credit: Chelsea Gauthier.
Walking from the Bus Rapid Transit stop toward Jaime Lerner’s office a few blocks away last October we were struck by the civility of Curitiba’s streets.
One of Lerner’s many legacies is his attention to streets, their multiple uses, their democracy, and as urban activist Jane Jacobs described them, “the ballet of the sidewalks.” Our observations, magnified by contrast with the auto-dependent North American cities where my students live, were about to become part of our conversation with Lerner. Today, Lerner is an internationally renowned architect, working with a team of young practitioners in an office he refers to as “a clinic.” He consults on projects in cities worldwide, and 15 of my university students from multiple disciplines had been invited for coffee with him to talk about urban ecology. As we rounded the corner to his building, elegant as it was modest, we were about to have a transformative conversation. Read more: Pinpointing areas of change in cities for big impact - Knight Foundation

Monday, May 12, 2014

How Silver Spring, Maryland
Outgrew Its Parking Lots

Photo: Dan Reed for GGwash
In healthy urban areas, people always complain that there’s not enough parking. And they still do that in Silver Spring, Maryland, says Dan Reed at Greater Greater Washington. But they’re wrong. The city’s downtown parking supply is only about 58 percent occupied on an average day. Even as the city has grown, more parking is sitting unused thanks to the efforts of local leaders. Here’s how they did it: Read more: How Silver Spring, Maryland, Outgrew Its Parking Lots |

Saturday, May 10, 2014

— @gwerkca Salon Series: Andrew Yan @BTArchitects Sunday, 11 May 4:00 PM
q's, live tweets #gwerkSalon

Are we learning from our mistakes? asks @SprawlRepairMnl

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

From Planetizen
Mid-Rise: Density at a Human Scale

All growing cities must find ways to develop at appropriate, transit-supporting densities without overwhelming the surrounding context. The human-scaled, mid-rise building can be a solution—but achieving a good neighbourhood “fit” is not easy. Read more: Mid-Rise: Density at a Human Scale | Planetizen: The Urban Planning, Design, and Development Network

From Gabor Maté — Silvaine Zimmermann film "Parked" a window into the life of a homeless man in Vancouver

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Elevador da Bica, Lisbon | Portugal
Via @City_Motions

Market Cities: #Barcelona offers a hopeful glimpse of the future via @PPS_Placemaking

From Price Tags — Transit and Business:
Attracting the Best and the Brightest

Here are Microsoft’s soon-to be new Vancouver offices – basically on top of the Canada Line station, left, in the heart of the city (map here): Right, where Microsoft used to be located – a business park next to a freeway interchange in Richmond, in the heart of nothing (map here): Read more: Transit and Business: Attracting the Best and the Brightest | Price Tags

Friday, May 2, 2014

50yrs after Jane Jacobs cities finally making way for people in their streets. @PPS_Placemaking @AtlanticCities