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Showing posts from May, 2010

Older can be better!

Steve Mouzon on Learning from Old Buildings from Lloyd Alter on Vimeo.

Great video interview from Treehugger on old buildings. Key point: Older buildings (pre-1940s) were designed to create an positive/healthy internal environment (windows for access to fresh air/ventilation) but now with modern technology we get a designed 'shell' and let engineering deal with the inside environment (air conditioning, thermostat - energy intensive stuff!).


If people know me at all, I'm a professed transit nerd. Transit maps, I suppose are transit nerd candy. I've really enjoy the newer transit maps in the Skytrain stations since the Olympics. They're clean, colourful and effective at mapping out the trains' connections to other rapid services such as the B-lines. I only wished that the bus lines were rail lines. . .

Bizarro History: The Car built Canada!

I read a few similar articles in the last few days basically saying a few common things. I'd like to respond to a few points and maybe share a few of my ideas.

One article is "People drive their cars because it's better than Transit" written by Adrian MacNair for the National Post. His post is actually a response to a WWF/Montreal Gazette article that states that:
Nearly eight in 10 people (78 per cent) claim to be concerned about the environmental impact of their wheels, as transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in this country. But even when walking, biking or public transit are viable options for them, three-quarters of Canadians (75 per cent) will still choose to drive.He then explains why this is so - for him at least. He complains that there is no reliable transit from the suburbs to the centre of the city and mentions GTA's GO Rail Transit as a model system (Skytrain?). MacNair also says that people don't necessarily want to…


My friend, Jake, brought this article in last month's Walrus to my attention. The author, Chris Turner, takes a 'Grand Tour' of Europe and highlights the many wonderful and sustainable things Europe is doing.

I particularly liked this quote from his Copenhagen leg about public space:

Gehl believes urban public space is the lifeblood of democracy, the essence of humanism, and the sine qua non of green-minded livability. “Throughout history,” he told me, “public space had three functions: it’s been the meeting place and the marketplace and the connection space. And what has happened in most cities is that we forgot about the meeting place, we moved the market space to somewhere else, and then we filled all the streets with connection, as if connection was the number one goal in city planning, in public space.” What he means is that we replaced public squares with parking lots, enclosed and privatized our marketplaces as shopping malls, and then turned over our streets almost e…

Seven Rules and Street Talk

Last week I attended Prof. Patrick Condon's book launch for Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post-Carbon World. In point form, his 'rules' are:
Restore the streetcar city.Design an interconnected street system.Locate commercial services, frequent transit, and schools within a five-minute walk.Locate good jobs close to affordable homes.Provide a diversity of housing types.Create a linked system of natural areas and parks.Invest in lighter, greener, cheaper, and smarter infrastructure.Condon's first point has received a lot of criticism - you can find a lot of the debate on this great blog: Human Transit (under the Vancouver tag).

I don't have any criticisms of my own at the moment but I do have some points of interest to make regarding rule number 2 about designing an interconnected street system. While reading this particular chapter, I recalled my childhood in Langley and my current distaste for it now.

Langley, like most growing sub…


My Masters Plan

It seems like I'm creating a blog every other week these days. This one, however, will be different. This one has a purpose.
I intend to use this blog as a vehicle for expressing my fascination with Urban Planning and my desire to enter a Masters of Planning program at one of Canada's many fine universities.Why? I am doing this for several related reasons. Firstly, I failed to get into a program for this coming academic year. Secondly, I want show that I'm engaged with the topic and the 'community' and perhaps, lastly, I want to prove to myself that this is really what I want to do. In this blog I will write on any topic related to Urban Planning. I hope to update it on a weekly basis.