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.

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Indigenous Design

March 18, 2019 in Community, Design

The conventional professions of architecture and planning portray modernist and colonial ways of thinking. Just consider the concept of land ownership: Land is divided into parcels that can be bought and sold over and over. Land is seen as a commodity for transaction. We build our cities and buildings by drawing straight, hard lines with calculated angles. After everything is mapped out on a piece of paper, construction occurs. This normalized way of working reflects a dominant western worldview.

But there are many other ways to design buildings and create communities. And our westernized forms of design, planning and architecture almost always leave out the voices of Indigenous people. Today, I wanted to talk to someone who teaches and practices Indigenous Design & Architecture.

David Fortin is a Professor of Architecture at Laurentian University. In this episode, David discusses Indigenous design, why design is important for sovereignty, and the work he did to curate UNCEDED.


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Citizen Science in the City

February 19, 2019 in Environment

People often think about cities as being separate from nature, but the reality is that cities are intimately connected to the natural systems that support life. There’s a concept called ‘ecological services’ that is worth understanding when we think about our cities. Basically, ecological services talk about the activities that naturally occur in nature – for example a wetland naturally cleans water; a tree naturally cleans the air – all for free. As more and more people move to cities, it is important to continually improve how we integrate our natural and urban systems. With all that in mind, we wanted to talk to someone who understands the relationship between natural systems and cities. Danah Duke is the executive director of the Miistakis Institute.

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