Have you ever wondered how Instagram photos, highlighting curated glimpses of people’s lives, affect our cities and how we think about these places? Do repeated posts about a new library, pretty mural or tasty brunch have an impact on the form of our city?
Researchers from the University of Amsterdam have started to explore the relationship between Instagram and the city.
In 2017, John Boy and his research partner, Justus Uitermark, published an academic paper called Reassembling the City Through Instagram. The goal of this research was to understand how people represent urban areas on social media, and how these representations feed into people’s uses of the city. Based on in-depth interviews and over 400, 000 geotagged Instagram posts in Amsterdam, the researchers analyzed how the city is reassembled on and through Instagram.
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.
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!