Programs

Blog

Posted by: Erin Brown John on May 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm

How the internet kills great neighbourhoods. More on the demise of Videomatica and other businesses that give our city character.

Viaducts. re:place continues it’s series about the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, focusing this week on the present condition of the structure and a photoessay.

Housing. Vancouver’s real estate is now more expensive than New York and London. A new wave of foreign investment and speculation is driving prices up again, and some fear that there aren’t enough high-paying jobs to support the prices.

Industrial Land. We’ve all heard about protecting farmland and the ALR but demand for housing has put industrial land and the jobs that go with it under threat too.

Olympic Village. The deficiencies are being worked on and the units are finally selling. The City has received it’s first payment from condo sales since taking over the project.

Urban gardens. The Vancouver Sun looks at a couple urban gardens and green spaces around Vancouver.

Urban dance. An SFU student is the recipient of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau scholarship for her interdisciplinary work studying the effects of public dance performance in urban spaces.

Tolls on local roads? It’s under consideration.

A pool at Pigeon Park?

Image: Eryne Donahue and Neil Fletcher via the Vancouver Observer.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on May 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Cambie Corridor. The City of Vancouver approved development plans for five distinct neighbourhoods along the Cambie Corridor. The plan outlines plans for increased density, design of public space and amenities and integration with district energy systems, biomass, sewer heat recovery and geothermal exchange.

Insite. The fate of Insite, Vancouver’s safe injection site went before the Supreme Court this week. The facility operates under a special exemption granted by the federal government that seems unlikely to be renewed by the Conservative Government. The Globe and Mail provides a summary of arguments for and against and OpenFile has compiled a history of the site.

Usufruct. The word of the day is usufruct. It means using empty lots that you don’t own for farming.

SlutWalk. In spite of the rain a thousand people showed up for the Vancouver SlutWalk yesterday. The walk followed a remark by a Toronto police officer that insinuated that victims of sexual assaults are responsible for their victimization because of the way they dress.

Viaducts. re:place has begun a series on the past, present and future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts. The first installments look at the past and photos of the original viaduct, built in 1915.

Gondola. No longer idle speculation, Translink is hosting public consultations about the possibility of building a gondola to SFU’s Burnaby Mountain campus.

Bike sharing. The City of Vancouver is looking for expressions of interest into a public bike sharing program, likely funded through sponsorship or user fees.

Image: eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee, via flickr.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on May 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Expo 86 began this time 25 years ago. The Dependent remembers it’s first day.

Online voting. Vancouver city council approved a motion to allow online voting in the upcoming municipal elections. If approved by the B.C. Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Vancouver will be the first municipality to allow online voting.

Videomatica. The Venerable film rental store, Videomatica will be closing shortly. Since 1983 the store has offered the widest selection of titles in Vancouver but has been suffering from competition from internet downloads. The owners are looking at finding a way to keep their collection available to the public in the future.

Ardea Books and Art is the latest indie bookstore to close.

Goodbye, W2 Storyeum. The Vancouver Film School has replaced W2 Community Arts as the tenants of the Storyeum building. During W2’s tenure the space hosted many arts and cultural events and will be missed in the local arts and culture community. W2 has now moved into it’s space in the Woodwards Building.

The last post. Derek Miller, author of the blog Penmachine succumbed to cancer this week. News of his passing reverberated across the blogosphere and his last post, aptly named “The last post” has had 8 million hits. He will be missed.

Architecture awards. Two buildings by the late Arthur Erickson have been awarded the prestigious Prix du XXe Siècle Award for ‘enduring excellence in Canadian architecture’.

Cambie Corridor. Stephen Rees looks at the difficult considerations surrounding increasing density around Canada Line stations while the Canada Line is already near capacity.

Image: gmcmullen via flickr

Posted by: Erin Brown John on May 2, 2011 at 7:16 am

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.

Bhangra! We’re really excited to be finally unveiling our Bhangra.me exhibit this Wednesday! If you have the chance, check out the City of Bhangra this week and next.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on April 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

 

City of glass. Sometimes loved, sometimes maligned, glass towers are cheap to build and make up most of the landscape in Vancouver. However, new building codes and concerns about energy efficiency and aesthetics are driving the evolution of these buildings.

No-fun city. Mark Lakeman from Portland’s City Repair Project says that risk-adverse planning is stifling free expression and citizen engagement.

Protest. Council passed a new bylaw regulating public protest this week, legislation that some argue will not stand up in court.

Ransack the toolbox. In search of solutions to the growing affordable housing problem in Vancouver.

No casino. After much public debate, the proposed Edgewater Casino expansion was voted down by Vancouver council, stating that a larger casino would not fit Vancouver’s brand.

Taller buildings in Chinatown. Council has approved height increases for buildings in Chinatown but some are still concerned about the potential for gentrification and real estate speculation to drive out low-income residents.

Aww, it’s a mini Vancouver Special!

Image: conceptDawg via flickr

Posted by: Erin Brown John on April 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

Olympic Village. This week the City of Vancouver finally released it’s projections as to it’s financial losses resulting from the Olympic Village. However, while they have stated that actual losses will be $40-50 million, there are reasons for doubt, as the amount doesn’t include things such as the cost of the purchase of the land. Frances Bula has stated her concerns about the way that the numbers were presented to the press, and their accuracy. They are not considering a property tax increase at this time.

 

Public protest. The bylaw proposed last week that would ban all permanent structures built by protest groups on public property has been rewritten to allow protests outside consulates after heavy criticism that it specifically targeted Falun Gong protestors outside the Chinese consulate and concerns about freedom of speech.

Insite. Research results show that since the opening of Insite, deaths related to drug-overdose have decreased substantially in the Downtown East Side.

Save-on-Meats. An inside look and a lot of pictures of the renovations at Save-on-Meats and some of the exciting things planned for the space.

Rapid transit. An overview of the different proposals for rapid transit along Broadway to UBC.

Viaducts. Stephen Rees takes a close-up look at the land underneath the viaducts, and just how underutilized it is.

Sprawl. After taking possession of their treaty land, we get a first glimpse of what Tswassen First Nation has planned for it: a massive mall, larger than Metrotown and lots of low-density housing.

125 places. Vancouver Heritage Foundation has shortlisted 200 sites as it searches for 125 places that matter most to Vancouverites.

Image: unk’s dump truck via flickr.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on April 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Public demonstrations. A proposed bylaw to limit Falun Gong demonstrations in front of the Chinese consulate and place restrictions on structures used in public demonstrations has sparked considerable debate and has some concerned about democratic rights and freedom of speech.Pivot Legal Society has expressed concern that this bylaw may also make temporary structures used by the homeless illegal.

And speaking of free speech, the BC Civil Liberties Association has taken the case of the woman ejected from a Skytrain by police for refusing to remove a button with the F word on it.

First Nations in public art. The electronic billboard beside the Burrard Street Bridge now features selected messages as part of the Digital Natives project. Read about the project here.

Viaducts. This week SFU hosted a forum on the future of the viaducts in Vancouver. Gordon Price provides a round-up of bloggers’ responses to the event.

Casino. The casino hearings continue. PavCo and Paragon Gaming have proposed reducing the number of slot machines planned for the development.

Save-on-Meats. The iconic Downtown East Side building will be renovated and include a new butcher shop and restaurant, rooftop garden, office space and incubator kitchen for new start-up businesses.

Garbage. What should we do with Vancouver’s garbage? There are two options on the table.

Eagle cams. It’s nesting season again and the Hancock Wildlife Foundation has set up a live stream of the nest at the Lafarge concrete plant. The eggs are expected to hatch around April 20.

Image: .mused, via flickr

Posted by: Erin Brown John on March 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Best in the world? City Planning Director Brent Toderian looks at the debate around Vancouver’s recent livability rankings, what they mean and just how hard it is to quantify and rank quality of life.

DTES development. The City may have postponed a decision about towers in the DTES but city manager Penny Ballem made it clear that they are definitely going ahead with other development projects in the neighbourhood.

Next door, new towers for Chinatown are still being hotly debated.

Library housing. Turns out the new Strathcona branch of the VPL will include social housing after all.

Rainwater. The Tyee looks at how Vancouverites could put rain water to better use.

Winter die-off. Some very concerning news about bees in Metro Vancouver.

Remembering Vancouver historian Chuck Davis

Image: runningclouds, via flickr

Posted by: Hanna Cho on March 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

On a bright and sunny Saturday morning in February, 75 Moving Through participants embarked on one of three architectural walking tours organized by MOV, as part of a multidisciplinary exploration of Vancouver's built environment, called "This is Not an Architectural Speaker's Series".  As some of you know, the groups were completely full, so not everyone was able to join.  The good news is, we recorded each walk, and the podcasts are now available for listening and download!

Listen: Moving Through Podcasts

Three concurrent walks and groups set out from Stadium/Chinatown Skytrain, Commercial/6th, and King Edward Stations, and joined together for lunch and an all-group  Q&A and wrap-up session lead by Gordon Price at SFU Woodwards.  Our intrepid guides report:

Mini-Walk A: The Path(s) Not Taken: Viaducts, Expressways, and Almost Vancouvers.

(*Guides: Vancouver Public Space Network, Michael Green, mgb architecture)

Most Vancouverites rarely spend any time in the parking lot across from Rogers Arena, but standing there looking up at the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, it is easy to feel like you've been transported to the overpass wasteland more typical of LA or Detroit.

Demian Rueter and Brandon Yan, transportation coordinators from the Vancouver Public Space Network and Michael Green of mgb architecture have thought a lot about these overpasses and about what could have been if the downtown freeway started in the early 1970s had been completed. Walking through Gastown, it is easy to see what would have been lost. The European style streetscape that was jeered for so long as a tourist trap left behind by Expo 86 has become in recent years a dependably fun spot for a night out and home to some of the city's best restaurants. If the freeway had been built, not only would this be lost, but also large chunks of Strathcona and Chinatown. By passionately opposing this plan, the residents of these neighbourhoods prevented this plan from occurring. A widely forgotten casualty of the project was Hogan's Alley, the neighbourhood Vancouver's Black community called home.

When we start to think about these great neighbourhoods surrounding the viaducts, it's easy to imagine that parking lot becoming something really exciting if the viaducts were to come down.

Mini-Walk B: Speed and the Shape of the City: Vancouver’s Evolving Transitscapes

(*Guides: Andrew Curran/Translink & Graham McGarva, VIA Architecture)

Graham McCarva sees transit stations differently than most people. Graham was the lead architect behind Commercial/Broadway station, it is informative to walk with him through the station and surrounding neighbourhood. "A subway station is a place to buy flowers," he told us, a place where everyone should feel comfortable walking past at any hour. This idea informed the of this station, which responded to neighbourhood concerns of unsavoury characters commanding the intersection. Previously the location of the busiest pay phone in the region, it is now home to the busiest Shopper's Drug Mart. The main action on the Drive used to be north of 1st Ave, but since the station was renovated the neighbourhood has grown right down to 12th Ave.

Andrew Curran, senior planner at Translink, introduced the concept of Marchetti's Constant, and helped put the station into historical perspective, explaining that this, the highest traffic station in the system, serves the same function as did the former streetcar station (now a post office) at 6th and Commercial. Like the streetcar station before it, Commercial/Broadway Station connects two suburban lines to lines bound for Downtown (and UBC), moving thousands of people each day.

Andrew and Graham sparked many questions among the group, making the ride to SFU Woodwards a lively one. We were better able to see the role that transit has played in the development of the lower mainland, and puzzle over the role that the Canada Line and other future lines will play in the area's ongoing growth.

Mini-Walk C: Evolution in Station-Area Planning the Cambie Corridor

(*Guides: Jim Bailey, City of Vancouver & Peeroj Thakre, pH5 architecture & Urban Republic Arts Society)

Tucked beneath the streets at King Edward Skytrain station, Jim Bailey, senior planner for the City of Vancouver's Cambie Corridor Station Area Planning project, led us through an engaging discussion about this interesting, and perhaps under-discussed area of Vancouver. Ranging from the Cambie Village to Marine Drive, Bailey divides the area into 5 Precincts, suggesting each has room for development of a unique character and livelihood. However, while single family homes are currently at a market value of $1.5million near King Ed station, it is clear that increased density will be necessary for more affordable living situations. As we walked through the laneways surrounding the station, Peeroj and Jim discussed with the group, how optimizing transit, cycling, and walking opportunities, as well as increasing public amenities, and opportunities for community engagement will be key for the future of the Cambie Corridor.

See the Moving Through photoset here.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on March 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Hidden stairwell. Scott Billings and Josh Hite are planning an art project that looks inside the unused Burrard Bridge stairwell, and looking for help from the public.

Nuclear threat. Several officials have declared the risk of radiation from Japan affecting BC is low. In spite of this, local pharmacies have sold out of potassium iodide.

Earthquake preparedness. Re:Place looks at what Vancouver can learn about earthquake preparedness from Japan.

Edgewater Casino. The casino hearings continue. The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has condemned plans to expand Edgewater Casino, stating that it could pose a risk to public health. Former city planner, Nathan Edelson has also spoken out against the expansion. Casino employees are understandably concerned about their jobs.

Meanwhile, contrary to what was claimed a couple weeks ago, PavCo does not need the revenue from the casino to complete the roof on BC Place Stadium.

Cargo tricycles. Coming soon to a bike lane near you.

Sweet. The Vancouver Sun ran an interesting story about the history of Rogers Sugar.

Olympic Village. Nearly a quarter of the owners at the Olympic Village have sued, claiming their suites have deficiencies and are not built to the standards they had expected.

Image: Burrard stairwell, via Price Tags.

Pages

Subscribe to Blog