Saturday, May 31, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
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.
@neil21 @spirit_of_urban There is a salvageable, city in #Nanaimo’s core. 1st rate walk/ bike infra, modest transit are doable today...
— TheSidewalkBallet (@1sidewalkballet) November 6, 2013
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
"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
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.
Friday, May 16, 2014
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.
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
Monday, May 12, 2014
|Photo: Dan Reed for GGwash|
Saturday, May 10, 2014
— @gwerkca Salon Series: Andrew Yan @BTArchitects Sunday, 11 May 4:00 PM
q's, live tweets #gwerkSalon
Tweets about "#gwerkSalon"
In 2010 8 of 16 lots around this cul-de-sac were foreclosed; other 8 - underwater Are we learning from our mistakes? pic.twitter.com/voWEdCTMLF— Sprawl Repair (@SprawlRepairMnl) May 10, 2014