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Showing posts from February, 2011

Update: Separated Bike Lanes in Vancouver

The City of Vancouver has finally released new statistics for the Hornby and Dunsmuir separated bike lanes. As you can see, cycling has some great numbers in the summer (more than 12, 000 trips during the week of July 26, 2010!) and while the counts are lower in the wet and cold winter months, people are still out using the bike lanes in decent numbers. Since Hornby lanes opened, cycling trips have continually increased in that corridor to an average of 600 trips per day.
It's difficult to assess what kind of change has occurred since before the lanes were installed because Hornby was a one way bike lane and now is a two-way lane. I'm going to also assume than many cycling trips are being pulled from the suicidal Burrard street lane. So far, the new lanes seem extremely promising and have barely affected automobile travel times. The City says:
Preliminary results indicate that vehicle travel times along Hornby Street, between Pacific and Hastings, are unchanged on weekday mo…

Documentary: Urbanized

A friend sent me the link to this great documentary in the making. It's called Urbanized. According to the director: Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design, featuring some of the world's foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. I've teamed up once again with cinematographer Luke Geissbuhler, and we've been traveling around the world interviewing people and filming specific urban design projects that represent the issues facing cities today. The world's population is in the midst of a massive migration to urban areas, and the design solutions our cities implement in the next 20 years will be critical. Currently, they're seeking funds to finish their project. For each level of donation you get some pretty cool things. I'm going to chip in since it seems like a worthwhile venture. Here's their promo video:

Vancouver, 1972: Beware the Freeway Octopus

Here's an article from Windsor Star in 1972 at the opening of the Georgia Viaduct. The Viaduct, though approved by voters, was somewhat sneakily always intended to be part of a larger freeway system. Voters and citizens felt betrayed and they made their feelings shown. Beware the the Freeway Octopus!

Reading

The Tyee has been posting a 'conversation' on Vancouver between author Lance Berelowitz and activist Matt Hern. I suggest you read the whole thing. There's a lot of back and forth and some really good points. Another look at Patrick Condon's book, 'Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities', by Sustainable Cities Collective. I own it - it's a great resource. Here's a great light look at urbanism in North America...in the 1600s. I've been to Quebec City and the old part is like being in Europe: narrow roads, walkable, lively (though mostly for tourists).The Big City has a post on sustainable mobility in future cities: how do we design cities for people and not automobiles? SUBWAY STATIONS and DESIGN and NEW YORK! *head s'plosion*I'm convinced that every city needs a Janette Sadik-Khan: In three years on the job, with her potent combination of smarts, chutzpah and political savvy, Sadik-Khan has made great strides in moving New York City into th…

Events: Not An Architectural Speaker's Series

The Museum of Vancouver (with the help of some friends) is putting on this interesting mini-walk series. I am putting together the Mini-Walk A with the Vancouver Public Space Network. If you're up for it, let me know if you'll be there. Here's the link to the facebook event - you have to register quickly because each walk is limited to 25 people. Afterwards there's a hangout with Gordon Price and we can all be nerds together!


Vancouver: The City That Never Was

Here are some amazing images of a Vancouver that never was. This development, Project 200, was contingent on Vancouver's freeway plans that never materialized and so the project never went ahead in full. Only a few buildings were built. Imagine if this was our city today. Gastown and much of Chinatown would not exist.
From Illustrated Vancouver:

Rendering of Project 200 Rendering of Project 200 Rendering of Project 200 Colour renderings of Project 200 (uncovered by Bob Ripponat the Vancouver Planning Department), Vancouver’s infamous development and freeway mega-project that was not to be, via PriceTags20.


Finding a Place: Beyond Price

Everyone, I’m moving to REAL Vancouver. What I mean by this is, I’m moving from Metrotown (Burnaby) to 14th Ave W. and Burrard Street. I though it would be interesting to write about my choice of place.

Firstly I'd like to talk about the dialogue that currently occurs around real-estate in Vancouver. When people talk about real-estate in Vancouver they usually confine their conversation to just talking about the price. There are abundant articles in our local newspapers about how ridiculously expensive housing is here. Many of these articles only explore the kind of housing you could get for a certain price in different parts of the region (here, here). I’ll spoil the ending and tell you that you can buy ‘more’ the further into the Valley you go.

But there’s so much more to choosing a home than looking at its price tag. Certainly, price is a big issue since one can only buy/rent what one can afford.

Currently, I live in a two bedroom apartment across the street from Metrotown Pu…

Reading

Interesting article on Sustainable Cities Collective on the concept of speed in the city:The concept of speed in our modern city makes one appreciate the idea of a pace-car to offset the rapidity of our contemporary life. This includes the physical (high speed rail, bus rapid transit, more horsepower, higher speed limits), as well as the virtual (rapid access to information via rss, web, smart phones, wi-fi) make just sitting (or strolling) and observing somewhat of a novelty. "An ideal city doesn't exist."National Geographic takes a look Under Paris and shows off some amazing photos. Check out the Gallery - I've actually partied in Chez George (an old wine cellar turned bar). I swear I'm not obsessed with Paris. What good Rapid Bus can look like: EmX in Eugene, Oregon (from Urban Politic):

Lecture: Jan Gehl, Cities for People

On January 24th, Jan Gehl spoke to a packed Vancouver Playhouse about his accomplishments and his latest book, Cities for People. Gehl is well known in his field for his focus on creating vibrant and livable places and his quest to restore life between buildings. Gehl also distinguishes himself by his approach to positive change: Typically he'll tell them to "try something" and if it works, keep going, if it doesn't, change it back. This incremental approach is seen in many of his projects including recently in New York. Though this may seem pragmatic, his concern is clear and focused. He believes there needs to be dialogue on how design and create our cities.
Gehl began his lecture with two important shifts in planning history: the rise of modernism and the 'invasion' of the automobile. He explained that prior to the 1945, cities were not expanding very quickly and that growth was centered around the core. Cities grew in a piece-meal fashion using the same &…