Wednesday, July 29, 2015

From The National Film Board
City Limits with Jane Jacobs, 1971

City Limits by Laurence Hyde, National Film Board of Canada

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

From Gehl Architects
How do we design healthy cities for people?

In many cities, despite advancements in healthcare and legislative victories, inequities in health outcomes are getting worse. In this slow epidemic, what is the role of urban design?
Cities face many public health challenges, from obesity, asthma, mental health issues, heart disease, to wide disparities in life expectancy, streets that discourage walking and biking, intersections that cause traffic fatalities, and disempowered communities.
Read more: Home - Gehl Architects How do we design healthy cities for people?

Monday, July 27, 2015

From The Guardian/Cities — Santa Monica:
the city that wants to design itself happier

Those who envision themselves living in Santa Monica, the wealthy and politically progressive coastal enclave west of Los Angeles, no doubt envision themselves living happily there. It would seem to have everything: miles of coastline with beaches open to all, the striking Santa Monica mountains just to the north, plenty of equally striking southern-Californian architecture (its many celebrity residents include the illustrious architect Frank Gehry), top-rated schools, police and firefighters, and, of course, that world-famous pier. Read more: Santa Monica: the city that wants to design itself happier | Cities | The Guardian

Sunday, July 26, 2015

How big stadium deals are bad for cities, thoroughly covered by @iamjohnoliver

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Something special about cities with
compact urban places, they stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship,
create opportunities"

—@globeandmail @shanedingman “something special about cities w/ compact urban places stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship create opportunities"

Posted by The Sidewalk Ballet on Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

All fire departments should be tested on their comprehension of this paragraph. #SuburbanNation @JeffSpeckAICP

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Calgary‬ Mayor @Nenshi speaks about the Mayor's Urban Design Awards 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015

New plaza in Vancouver’s gay village
to be named after Jim Deva

New plaza in Vancouver to be named after Jim Deva, the late and beloved co-owner of Little Sister's Bookstore....

Posted by Arsenal Pulp Press on Thursday, July 9, 2015

From Business in Vancouver
City streets are being returned to pedestrians

Peter Ladner ( co-founder of Business in Vancouver. 
He is a former Vancouver city councillor and former fellow at the SFU Centre for Dialogue, author of The Urban Food Revolution.

Something very odd happened when the City of Vancouver recently announced yet another bike lane reducing car capacity on the Burrard Bridge: nothing.
A small furor rose like an angry baby alligator from the swamp, then settled back into the mud. (“Absolutely ridiculous. The amount of bike traffic doesn’t warrant another bike lane,” snarled the most-liked comment under CBC’s story, even as daily bike trips across the bridge were topping 6,000.) The Vancouver Sun printed a widely circulated editorial effectively saying “no big deal.” The NPA stared menacingly and moved on. The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association was in favour. Read more: More steps being taken to return city streets to pedestrians | Transportation | Business in Vancouver

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jane Jacobs / Systems of Survival
A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of
Commerce and Politics
chapters four, five

“…science needs the same values and precepts as commerce. Honesty is the bedrock of science. Moral rules for research are: don’t lie, don’t deceive or cheat under any circumstances; if you’re making reasoned guesses, say so and lay out your reasons.
“Voluntary agreement is the agreement that counts among scientists. Forced agreement to findings or conclusions is worse than useless. Science thrives on dissent for the sake of the task. Any theory is thus only provisionally true in science. It’s understood that theories can’t be proved; they can only be disproved. An accepted theory is merely one not yet proved false—and the possibility always exists that it may be."
The group is unable to disprove Kate's hypothesis of two moral syndromes, the commercial and the guardian, examining the kibbutz in Israel, the Scandinavian welfare states, communist Eastern Europe.  And they prepare in Chapter 5 to take a closer look next at the Guardian System.
Of particular interest to me is Chapter 5's examination of historical cultural expressions of an aversion to commerce. 
In the days of chivalry, a man was unfit for knighthood if he had a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent on either side who had been a merchant or a craftsman, 'in trade', as they said. Shameful, base. contaminating. But why? The doings of craftsmen and merchants are so innocent compared with making wars, pillaging, extorting, persecuting, executing, censoring, holding prisoners for ransom and monopolizing land at the expense of serfs, peons or slavesall honorable activities for people who would sooner have died than sink into trade
Consistent throughout the research that lead to the identification of the two Systems of Survival, as the syndromes are also called in Chapter Four, is the recurrence of the value in the guardian syndrome 'shun trading.' Contemporary examples include class attitudes that, for instance, ascribe a moral superiority to a non-profit enterprise, and class attitudes of distinguishing "inferior new money from superior old money cleansed of commercial taint by the passage of generations and time."

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bing Thom re-imagines downtown Vancouver

Jane Jacobs / Systems of Survival
A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics
chapter three

Armbruster's  group has been unable to identify behaviour systems other than the two presented by Kate. In Chapter Two they get a little help from Plato. In The Republic says Jacobs, or rather her speaker Armbruster, Plato "or rather, his speaker Socrates... takes pains to distinguish between two great, major groups of occupations and their purposes, precisely to disentangle their contradictory virtues from one another... He said both are necessary... the commercial occupations to supply everybody's physical needs and also support the guardians, presumably by taxation.
"The guardians are the Moral Syndrome B people... Police, soldiers, government policy makers and rulers... They're necessary to protect the state from corruption within and enemies outside... I propose you call Syndrome A 'commercial' and Syndrome B 'guardian'."
The chapter continues with the group  discussing in more detail the Commerce Syndrome and it's precepts, their purposes and origins and instances where this system contradicts, or seems to contradict the values listed in the Guardian Syndrome.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jane Jacobs / Systems of Survival
A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics
chapter two

In Chapter 1 Jacobs explores concerns which also surface in her later books Dark Age Ahead and The Nature of Economies. The erosion of the trust and honesty on which so much of our civic life is based, high on her list. In a conversation with a friend in the neighbourhood recently, he was telling me about his aid work in places like Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria and experience in his consulting work with Canadian First Nations. It all comes down to trust, it's all built on trust. It took a long time in Haiti for instance for his group to build trust. After they delivered a couple of hundred houses locals they were working with said, almost surprised, you did what you said you would. They'd seen lots of promises with no results from many others. Here in my small city on the east coast of Vancouver Island there has been an unbroken line of big promises and adrenaline (and testosterone) loaded plans that failed to launch. Trust badly damaged between citizens and their City Hall, by what is widely seen as exclusive secret backroom dealings.  Trust easily broken and extremely difficult to repair.
Characteristically, Jacobs examines deeply and objectively ideas which can be seen as "old fashioned" and have fallen from current favour (more on that later). Ideas like values, ethics, morality that more often than not have been appropriated and manipulated by forces of organized religion, government or by our own unexamined self-government. Without the slightest proselytizing or preaching, she asks with an anthropologist's discipline, how did they come about? What are their origins? How do they contribute to systems that support and moderate human life?
In Chapter 2 Kate delivers her findings. She circulates a mystifying sheet that contains two columns she has titled Moral Syndrome A and B. Under each heading a list of what she calls precepts. Here we get to the heart of it, we begin to see what Jacobs is up to. From the introduction: "This book explores the morals and values that underpin viable working life. Like the other animals, we find and pick up what we can use, and appropriate territories. But unlike the other animals, we also trade and produce for trade. Because we possess these two radically different ways of dealing with our needs, we also have two radically different systems of morals and values—both systems valid and necessary."
From the notes: The precepts are a compilation and refinement of "esteemed behaviour" notes I've made over a period of some fifteen years. Initially I conceived of the two precept groups as embodying "trader" and "raider" morality, and was laggard at recognizing that "raider" precepts are as morally valid as traders', and are grounded in legitimate territorial concerns.
Kate, for the previous four weeks, has been reading broadly and extensively, gathering "three kinds of evidence... behaviour extolled as admirable... behaviour expected or proper... behaviour deemed scandalous, disgraceful or criminal," assigning to each a precept such as "respect contracts" and "exert prowess." These behavioural observations began to be clearly associated one with the other and the two distinct syndromes emerged. Wikipedia notes here.