The Laws of Settlements

June 24, 2019 in Design, History

From a small Nova Scotia town to booming Barcelona to the mega-city of Jakarta, are there any laws that govern all human settlements? Are there consistent patterns that manage where people live, across scale and time? 

Back in the sixties, an architect and planner named Constantinos Doxiadis explored this question. He sought to understand the complexity and growth of human settlements. In his 1968 book called Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements, Doxiadisspent 527 pages proposing a science of settlements. 

Today I am talking with Erick Villagomez, an urban designer, professor and writer in Vancouver who has revived and expanded on some elements of Doxiadis’ work. In 2017, Erick self-published a book called The Laws of Settlements. 

Resources

Child Scale Cities

May 27, 2019 in Design

One of the trademark elements of cities is their diversity – of spaces, or activities and of people. Yet, when we consider how our cities get built, that diversity can often be forgotten. I’m a middle aged, able bodied, Caucasian male. Cities generally work pretty well for me. But what if you have a visual impairment? What if you are female? Or what if you are a child? We have explored some of the implications of considering diversity in our cities in previous episodes and will continue to do so in the future, but today, I wanted to talk to someone who is examining urban places from the perspective of children. John talks with Vivian Doumpa, who is examining urban places from the perspective of children.

Resources

Vancouverism

April 29, 2019 in Community, Design, History

Vancouver is often cited as one of the most successful cities in the world. Today, Vancouver’s inner city is filled with glass towers, townhouses, pedestrian paths, mountain views, public spaces and sidewalk cafes. The downtown is widely praised as being livable, sustainable and walkable. Now, this isn’t to say the city is without its challenges — including housing affordability, homelessness and social isolation. 

Overall, with both successes and challenges, downtown Vancouver has changed a great deal since the 1980s. 

Today’s episode explores how this city became the renowned place it is today. So, I thought I’d talk to someone who has been at the forefront of managing and instilling change in Vancouver since the 1970s. 

Larry Beasley is the founding principal of Beasley & Associates. Alongside Anne MacAfee, Larry was the co-chief planner at the City of Vancouver from the 1990s to the early 2000s. Before that, he was a community planner with the City. Since leaving the government in 2006, Larry has been practicing planning around the world. He also teaches at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning.

In this episode, Larry and I discuss his experiences as the co-chief of planning, his forthcoming book Vancouverism and some of his key lessons learned over his distinguished career.

Resources