City Builder Series: The Elected Official

January 20, 2020 in City Builder Series, Politics

We’ve released over 40 episodes of 360 Degree City, covering a crazy range of topics – from cycling to public art to urban agriculture and much, much more. 

While we’ve explored issues and topics related to cities, we thought it would be helpful to spend some time focusing on the different actors that impact city building. 

So, we’ve developed a multi-part series where John talks to different kinds of city builders about what they do, why they do it and what unique approaches and challenges they represent. Our hope is that by the end of the series, you’ll have some new perspectives on these actors and how to work with them – whether you’re a seasoned city builder yourself or you’re just starting to explore the complexity of our cities.

The first episode is about The Elected Official. John sits down with Calgary’s Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, to discuss what it means to be an elected official, the best of what they can bring to city building and some problematic practices of those who hold elected office. 


  • Follow Naheed Nenshi on Twitter: @nenshi

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.