Rethinking libraries. Surrey is leading the charge in the trend toward building libraries as places for gathering and education, rather than as stacks of books. In addition to this, the Surrey Public Library is launching a 'living books' service, where patrons will be able to take experts on a variety of subjects out for coffee and pick their brains.
Rising oceans. Cities generally prohibit the construction of buildings in areas that are vulnerable to flooding and storm surges, but a new map of Vancouver shows that by 2100 many more areas will be at risk. The entire map can be found here.
Slowing down. A local non-profit shares a perspective from the Downtown Eastside about traffic calming along Hastings Street.
Making Vancouver better. Just ahead of the Design Thinking UnConference, urbanist and architecture critic Trevor Boddy shared some thoughts about making Vancouver a better place. Some issues he cites as areas for concern: the relative lack of office space and business activity in the downtown core, the segregation of social problems into areas such as the Downtown Eastside and the lack of debate over public space in the media.
Coach houses. The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is looking for examples of old laneway houses to show that the idea is not entirely new to Vancouver.
Urban bees. Vancouver Magazine visits the roof of the Fairmont Waterfront where the director of housekeeping maintains six hives of honey bees.
Rubber sidewalk. The city engineering department has installed Vancouver's first rubber sidewalk. It's made from recycled materials and easier to walk on.
Car-free Robson. The Vancouver Public Space Network has launched a petition calling for Robson Square to be maintained as a pedestrian-only space.
Public art. Two public art projects at transit shelters aim to encourage people interact more with public space. Adorno and Nose encourages transit riders to whistle or sing while they're waiting for the bus and A Sign for the City dedicates each firing of the Nine O'clock Gun to a cultural event or historical figure.
Image: squeakymarmot via flickr.
News this week has been unsurprisingly dominated by federal elections coverage, but staying Vancouver arts, culture and history-centric, there was actually a lot of news this week about affordable housing.
We’ve heard a lot about the affordable housing problem from renters and housing advocates, but now the BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association is joining in, calling for new government incentives for purpose-built rental housing.
The remand centre is being converted from a facility to hold prisoners awaiting trial to affordable housing for the Downtown East Side. Council approved rezoning to allow the Coast Plaza Hotel to be converted into rental housing, though no word on exactly when that would happen.
Cambie Corridor. Re:place has an interview with Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s director of planning, about the Cambie Corridor.
One building’s waste is another’s energy. Waste heat from a Vancouver rink is now being used to incubate plants in city-run nurseries and greenhouses, reducing the City of Vancouver’s carbon emissions overall.
Olympic Village. It looks like there’s no end in sight for the situation between unhappy Olympic Village owners and the City of Vancouver.
Earthquakes. This week the world has been witness to the devastating power of a subduction earthquake and it’s aftermath in Japan. But Vancouver is no stranger to earthquakes. What would it look like if it happened here?
While we’re on this topic, are you earthquake prepared?
Casino. Hearings at city hall about the proposed Edgewater Casino expansion began last week with 300 people attending. It seems the tide may be shifting in favour of the opponents, as council begins to ask tougher questions.
Taking aim at parkades. The Canada Line and bike lanes have succeeded in getting many people out of their cars, and fewer people are driving downtown. The result is an overabundance of empty parking stalls. What should we do with that space?
Panoramas. The City of Vancouver Archives is in the process of digitizing it’s photos and has released a set of panoramas from the early 1900s on flickr.
Bottled water. It seems Metro Vancouver’s pro-tapwater campaign has succeeded in convincing some people to ditch the bottle.
Back alley living. Take a look inside Vancouver’s first laneway house.
Music underground. What if we build a concert hall underneath the art gallery?
Image: City of Vancouver Archives, via flickr
MOVments from the week: Vancouver falls behind, Grandview Park divides, and a 220 sq. ft. house inspiresPosted by: Erin Brown John on May 28, 2010 / 10:53 PM
A weekly round up of the local news, events, and cultural happenings we’re tracking.
The answer to Vancouver’s real estate crunch might just be the stackable modular house pictured left. The innovative 220 sq. ft. structure, called L41 (a play on “all for one”), was created by architect Michael Katz and designer Janet Corne. It was previously on view on the Concord Pacific site downtown and is now at 550 Great Northern Way. A typical laneway house of 500 sq. ft. seems capacious by comparison. (Globe and Mail)
Gentrification or neglect? A group of Commercial Drive residents hosted a block party in Grandview Park last weekend to express their opposition to aspects of park’s redesign. The $1.5-million project will take a year to complete and the park will be closed to the public during that time. According to Parks Board documents, another group called the Friends of Grandview Park led the redevelopment out of safety concerns for themselves and their kids. So, are The Drive’s sky-high real estate prices taking the proudly bohemian neighbourhood in a new direction? For so many years the neighbourhood lament was that West Side parks and amenities received preferential treatment. Where’s the line between infrastucture upgrades and gentrification? (Vancouver Courier)
Too pretty to be smart? The Canadian Council on Learning released their 2010 Composite Learning Index scores this week and Vancouver… did not fare so well. Among other things, our high-school dropout rate is above the national average, while our “exposure to reading” and “availability of workplace training” is below it. Our composite score was lower than all other major Canadian cities, including Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Victoria—which topped the rankings with an overall score of 95% (!). We need to turn this ship around. An interactive map with all the scores is here.
How to learn the city’s history in a pinch. Love these “Year in Five Minutes” pieces from re:place magazine that are based on Chuck Davis’ popular History of Vancouver timeline. In the latest installment—1970—there’s a terrific archival picture of Fox & Fluevog Shoes’ old Gastown store. Wonder what happened to that awning? (re:place)
As I post this, we’re in the midst of A Night at MOV with Conor Holler, a live talk show presented by Vancouver is Awesome and hosted in our 200+ seat theatre. Did you attend? We’d love your feedback. Side note: Staff-led tours of Fox, Fluevog & Friends commence June 1 and will be on offer thrice-weekly throughout the exhibition. See our Audience Engagement calendar for up-to-date information. Happy weekend.
Image credit: Simon Scott for The Globe and Mail