City Builder Series: The Civil Engineer

March 16, 2020 in City Builder Series, Design, Environment

Jennifer Massig, P. Eng. and Principal of MAGNA Engineering Services, discusses what it means to be a civil engineer, the best engineering can bring to city building and some problematic practices of the profession.


Laneway Living

January 8, 2020 in Art & Culture, Design

For the last few weeks, John and his wife and daughter have been on the road as part of a family sabbatical. They’re exploring 8 countries over the course of about 13 weeks as a way of reconnecting as a family and recharging for the upcoming decade.

The second stop on the tour was Melbourne. Ranked as the second most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global liveability index, John was excited to explore this place he has long admired from afar. 

One of the things that makes Melbourne such a great place to be is its network of bustling laneways. These unique spaces owe their existence to the original survey of the city, dating back to 1837. Back then, these laneways provided rear service access for servants and carts carrying goods to local businesses. Over the last number of decades, however, these laneways have been revitalized as public spaces for people to enjoy. 

Gilbert Rochecouste from Village Well took John on a tour through Melbourne’s bustling laneways. After the tour, they sat down for a chat.

This episode was recorded a few weeks ago. Since then, the bushfires in Australia have escalated considerably. Our thoughts are with the fire fighters, people and wildlife of Australia as they grapple with these catastrophic bushfires.

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Design Justice

December 9, 2019 in Community, Design

City builders often talk about the need for community consultation. Consultation is important as it brings perspectives and feedback from community members. But too often, folks “consult” with a preconceived notion of the outcome or a limited application of what the community has to say. Another approach to involving the community is to co-create. That is, to develop ideas alongside the community.  

John sits down with Brent Brown who leads an urban design practice based around this concept of co-creation.

Brent Brown is an architect, planner and urban designer. He is also the founder of building community workshop, a non-profit community design group based in Dallas, Texas. building community workshop, or bc workshop for short, enriches lives of citizens by bringing design thinking to parts of the cities where resources are most scarce. To do so, bc workshop recognizes it has to understand the social, economic and environmental issues facing a community before beginning work.