Park(ing) Day

October 1, 2018 in Community, Design

In North American cities, there are 4 parking stalls for every car. Downtown cores usually devote 30% of their space for parking. And the average car sits stationary for 95% of its life. That’s a lot of space for vehicle storage. Do you ever wonder how all that asphalt could be used differently? How a parking stall could be transformed into a place for people to enjoy? We wanted to talk to someone who makes us rethink how space in cities could be used.

John Bela is the co-founder of Park(ing) Day, an annual event where parking stalls are transformed into temporary public places.

Resources

Fake Estates, Gordon Matta-Clark

The PARK(ing) Day Manual

Gehl Institute

 

Business For The Better

August 20, 2018 in Art & Culture, Business, Community

When we talk about cities, developers are often the only businesses that get discussed. But how can other companies contribute to a city? To explore this question, we wanted to talk to someone that has helped spearhead a purpose driven business with community at the heart of the operation.

Jim Button is the co-founder of Village Brewery, a brewery based in Calgary, AB. Since day one, 10% of the company’s bottom line has gone towards supporting Calgary’s arts and community.

In this episode Jim and John talk about:

  • The importance of finding purpose
  • Calgary’s changing culture
  • How pubs and breweries can catalyze a community

Resources

 

Canada’s Communities

July 25, 2018 in Art & Culture, Community, Politics

Last weekend, two of us from the team went to Winnipeg for the national Canadian Institute of Planners Conference. In collaboration with the Manitoba Professional Planners Institue, this conference attracted urbanists from across the country. The conference covered many topics, from the importance of music venues and motels to why storytelling is key for city building.

We wanted to share snippets of stories about Canadian communities, so we went to the streets and conference halls to ask planners what challenges their communities are facing. We heard a variety of responses.

We recognize the many challenges facing communities across the nation, but we didn’t want to end the conversation there. The theme of the conference was soul, grit and authenticity.

Paul Kennedy, host of the CBC Radio Show Ideas said in his keynote that: “Soul is what you find when you don’t know what you’re looking for. You’ll find it when you listen.” So we thought we’d listen to others and ask: What gives your community soul?

Whether dealing with growth or decline or anything in between, cities from coast to coast to coast face challenges when preparing and planning for change. But when a city encourages social interactions and strong feelings of connection, communities can cultivate soul, which can lead to solidarity and strength.

As Jane Jacobs once said, “There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings that we must fit our plans.” 

We had a great time with the fellow CIP delegates this past weekend. Big thanks to Sheena and CIP for setting us up at the conference. And thank you to everyone who participated in this podcast episode! 

Resources