Sunday, November 3, 2013

What is Urbanarium? Study Notes, Links, Video & More....

Blog post by Tina Winterlik © 2013!/zipolita @zipolita Google+

Can we change the World? Where do we start? What can we accomplish? What is Urbanarium? And what does it have to do with Vancouver? These are some of the questions proposed here and a small collection of data to support it? Where it goes....we will find out...won't we....


So there's alot of info below but here is a very important video that I think you should watch. I was really excited about this when it started a couple a years ago. People tried really hard but I think it's energy has fizzled unfortunately. The idea was to change the world in 4 years.

 So this is a great idea, sort of based on the principle in Pay It Forward, that if we motivated ourselves and did our part...WE COULD CHANGE THE WORLD!!

What is Urbanarium? That's a question I am exploring for a project we are working on in a class I am taking at Emily Carr. Hmmm? It's a really big topic and it's been around since the 80's. So I'm going to post a bunch of link and bits of material here to try and understand this topic better.

What is Urbanarium?

"An urbanarium is an idea that Ray Spaxman and a group of private planners and architects conceived in the early 1980's that was unfortunately never followed through. The idea was to build a scale model of downtown Vancouver, including False Creek and extending to the East False Creek Area. When a development is proposed, the applicant would be required to replace the existing scale buildings on the model with the new proposal so everyone could see the context."
Brandon Yan

Ray Spaxman
The city's planning department, under the direction of Ray Spaxman in the 1980s, began to expand on the concepts, many of which were brought into fruition with the development of the former Expo 86 lands along False Creek and Yaletown.

 The Panorama of the City of New York-An example of a scale model in New York-

Panorama of New York City- Wikipedia

How can museums reorient outwards to join civic life? 
I think that is an important question – and let me tell you why by giving you a sense of how I do what I do.  My profession is an unusual one – it is part science and part politics but a big part of it is art.  Now, having said that, I also have to emphasize that it is a somewhat peculiar art – city planning is a politicized art, it is a collective art.  Everyone shapes the city every day with almost everything they do.  It would be like if a painter picked up his brush to dab the canvas and a thousand hands grabbed the brush with him to decide just where the paint is to go.  The city you experience is created by millions of independent actions.  A City Planner is a choreographer of urbanism, working with people who have their own ideas and take their own action – and generating through interaction with people the plans and the management mechanisms for how the city or parts of the city should grow and change or, sometimes, be protected from change.-renowned urban planner Larry Beasley

But, it may shock you to hear, that in almost all cities there is actually no agent to convene the discussion and education and experiences that fosters an urban connoisseurship.  Planning departments go out and talk to people when they have a specific job to do – they call it public consultation.  Politicians go to the people at election time.  The media covers issues from moment to moment.  But there is no constant force for an ongoing engagement and dialogue and interface between people and the diverse realities of city life.  And cities are certainly worse off because of that. -renowned urban planner Larry Beasley

There is one concept that has long been afloat in Vancouver that would be a perfect format for the museum as city.  It is called an “urbanarium”.  The idea of this is to have a place where everything about the city can be collected and explored and where people can get together to talk and work toward better city forms and processes and images and institutions.  Usually it has a physical focus in a grand model of the city, such as the wonderful one in the Shanghai Planning Museum.  This model has to be big enough so it really thrills people to see it and so they can really understand what they are seeing.  This model has to be always changing and being updated so it is current to the state of the city and to the agenda of change in the city at any point in time-

"The BMW Guggenheim Lab occupied an empty lot in New York City in 2011."

 The BMW Guggenheim Lab is a mobile laboratory about urban life that began as a co-initiative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the BMW Group. From 2011 to 2013, the Lab traveled to New York, Berlin, and Mumbai. Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space, the Lab’s goal has been the exploration of new ideas, experimentation, and ultimately the creation of forward-thinking visions and projects for city life. Through the lens of the themes Confronting Comfort, Making, and Privacy and Public Space, this global project has explored how people relate to cities and public space today.

VINTAGE AIR PHOTOS- Photos of what Vancouver looked like before! Super interesting. For 4 years I worked scanning aerial photography like this. This website is by my friend Mark Prenter, his dad Harold worked in mapping as a photograph developing many of these. It's a wonderful resource to see how the city has changed.  

Life Begins in the 'Hood
By Michael Jessen

"We need to recognize that vibrant neighbourhoods consist of a range of people, of different ages, with different interests, activities, and incomes," says Kalke. "We need to pull our growth together -- to densify from within -- instead of expanding out." He cites single family developments targeted specifically at first-time homebuyers as problems in the making. "In 15 years, such a development will not meet the needs of teenagers, which leads to both family and community conflicts," he says. 

Kalke was in Nelson to speak at the first of four lectures in the Nelson and the Kootenays Designing Community Project cosponsored by Selkirk College and the Nelson and District Community Resources Society. "It's all about fit" was the title of Kalke's talk, but it's also the heart of his development credo. 

His most famous structure is the Capers Building in Kitsilano -- another Vancouver neighbourhood -- where Kalke built a four and five story building comprised of 75,000 square feet of commercial space plus 78 condominium residences. It was the first complex in Western Canada to use the earth's geothermal energy to heat and cool the office and retail space as well as provide all of the hot water in the condos. Kalke praises geothermal for its energy efficiency. "As a society in general, we should start to take stock of the energy we are using." 

Known simply by its address "2211 West Fourth", the project has been recognized as a direct demonstration of conservation and civic responsibility and Kalke was awarded VanCity's Ethics in Action Award for his efforts. Other environmentally friendly features of the building include ample natural light, openable windows, and a double exterior wall system that achieves outstanding thermal, acoustic, and moisture performance. Carpets made of recycled plastic bottles were installed. 

Participate in building the future of Bogot√°

Apps that could help our city! This is a great idea! 

Do we really need a physical scale model or could it be created digitally??

 This model cost millions to produce? Shouldn't we be helping the homeless? Or do we need this to help the homeless? 


Tongue and Cheek Video about Vancouver

Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape is a multi-year initiative of Van Alen Institute to explore the experience of escape in the urban environment.

Elsewhere is comprised of competitions, public programs, and research that investigate key questions of the contemporary urban experience: How and why do we escape from urban life? What prompts us to escape to the city? What forms of escape can we find within the urban environment? And how might the experience of going “elsewhere” contribute to our well-being? The Institute will use this process to expand its focus to the patchwork of suburban, semi-urban, and rural landscapes around cities to better understand the complexities of the extended urban environment, acting beyond the confines of the city and across regions. Runs November 12–17, 2013

Other resources to look at for ideas are:

Vancouver Public Space Network
The VPSN is a grassroots collective that engages in advocacy, outreach and education on public space issues in and around Vancouver, British Columbia.
This includes challenging the increase of advertising ‘creep’ in public places, promoting creative, community-friendly urban design, monitoring private security activities in the downtown core, fostering public dialogue and democratic debate, and devising creative ways to re-green the neglected corners, alleys and forgotten spaces of the city.
We also like to devise ways to have fun in public space.
*formed in early 2006
*1500 members

Laboratory of Housing Alternatives = LOHA

The Laboratory of Housing Alternatives (LOHA) is a non-profit organization that is focused on exploring and building housing alternatives for creative and emerging professionals.

LOHA operates through a collaborative model that with allows us to engage diverse stakeholders, inform policy, develop adequate financial models and generate design solutions that respond to the needs of the ‘creative community’.


Never stop learning, sharing, and innovating
Contribute to healthy lifestyle and sustainability
Always have fun
Be open  (open to new ideas, open minded, open for business)
Be socially responsible, maximize positive social impact

Vancouver Design Nerds ‘re:THINK Housing Idea Jam’ seeds winning ideas in City of Vancouver’s housing competition.
The Vancouver Design Nerds Society was excited to host and facilitate a Design Jam bringing together 125 people to brainstorm new housing ideas for the City. The diverse group, including designers, architects, and a panel of judges, jammed for three hours leading to the submission of several proposals, two of which came out among the City of Vancouver’s re:THINK Housing competition winners. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of the whole re:THINK Housing process and to witness what happens when individuals come together to make their great ideas heard, and seen.

Organised in collaboration with Gen Why media and with support from the Vancouver City staff, the re:THINK Housing ‘Idea Jam’ aimed to engage members of the public in a lively and creative dialogue to advance the City-initiated re:THINK Housing Competition. The jam was to be a springboard civic engagement exercise in the larger re:THINK Housing competition and exhibition.

Livable Laneways Vancouver

City alleys are a forgettable part of Vancouver’s urban landscape, often marked by garbage, filth and the acrid stench of urine. It’s a scene Mount Pleasant’s Sam Cameron knows all too well after spending months roaming local alleys. Yet despite what his senses took in, it was tempered by a bright vision.

“Alleys are secondary spaces that are treated as such,” he said. “There are used mattresses, broken televisions… The idea is to change that perception of what space is.”
- See more at:

City Living: Livable Laneways group transforms Vancouver alleys - See more at:

There’s no better way to make a point than to prove it, which is what Cameron and the Livable Laneways group he’s a part of did this past Sunday afternoon. The Laneway Market transformed the unremarkable alley between East Seventh and Broadway, just west of Main, into a vibrant pedestrian walkway lined with tents and vendors selling everything from silver jewelry made out of cutlery to handmade clothing, robust potted plants and leather wallets. - See more at: 
Something to consider---MAYBE THE CITY NEEDS A WOMAN'S TOUCH!! If women don't feel welcome in the architectural world or they are occupied helping care for their child(the most important job in the world) perhaps this is what is wrong with the whole scheme of city development. A women perspective is needed and must be highly regarded her and with out being included at every step of the way surely the outcome can not be balanced.

The Mother- our Earth- we must take care of her. Including women in every process is critical to the project - the cities success.

Women in Architecture- Recommendations

Spread over five years and set in a series of consultations and roundtables across the country, we asked a broad spectrum of women to tell us their stories, and then, to make suggestions how to make the profession more attractive to women - to enter and to stay.

Recommendations to professional organizations (national and
provincial) include these key points:
• celebrate the achievements of women through exhibitions,
books, lectures, etc.;
• establish a national equity policy to create a profession-wide
zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination;
• provide an independent ombudsperson;
• create sub-organizations that deal with women's issues;
• publish salary grids to help achieve pay equity;
• provide more flexibility for institutional requirements,
including reduced fees, recognizing parental leave, part-time
employment, etc.
• encourage women to chair and be members of boards and
• examine a broader definition of 'architect' to recognize those
who are active in 'non-traditional' roles.
The workshops also put forward recommendations to women in
architecture. Some of the key points were:
• be leaders in environmentally and socially responsible
• be more involved in your community affairs, boards;
• argue for respect of alternate choices in life-styles;
• organize support groups for mentoring, networking, business
• define success in your own terms.

Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 to promote architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises. It creates opportunities for architects and designers from around the world to help communities in need. We believe innovative, sustainable and collaborative design can make a difference.

Around the world, designers are coming together to volunteer their time and their talents and solve issues in their own communities. Local chapters of Architecture for Humanity take many forms depending on the size of the chapter and its location. Each chapter operates autonomously and is engaged in its own projects and activities.
The Vancouver Community Lab is an open and accessible workshop where makers, hackers, artists and tinkerers can create, destroy and re-build.  We believe that everyone has the desire and ability to create things and can be trusted to develop the skills needed to do so.  VCL members work on personal, group or community projects.  Funding to pay for our space, tools and consumables comes primarily from membership dues.
Urban Republic is a registered non-profit composed of architects, artists, and writers. We develop and implement projects that use the tools of art and design to cultivate a sense of place and opportunities for social engagement. Our work operates at the intersection of art, architecture and urbanism. Urban Republic is also open to collaboration with artists, designers, communities and cultural institutions.
Heritage buildings are important community assets. They give each neighbourhood their own identity. They attract tourists, provide some of the city’s most affordable housing and are popular places to live, work and play. They pay tribute to the colourful history of the city and their reuse and rehabilitation diverts tons of debris from the landfill.

Through lectures, workshops, granting programs and tours, Vancouver Heritage Foundation promotes the conservation of heritage buildings that encourage sustainability and preserve our sense of place

It was back in the late 90's I started realizing the beauty of the architecture on Hastings and W.Pender and I did a series of photos. These photos were created on film and then cross-processed.

 The Changing City’ was published in December 2010. It includes thirteen history and architecture walking tours in Central Vancouver.
 This blog features before and after photographs, mostly from the Vancouver Archives, BC Archives and Vancouver Public Library collections. The older images are all in the public domain. It’s a companion blog to the Changing City blog which tracks contemporary development projects in Vancouver BC and buildingvancouver a blog that looks at who built some of the heritage buildings that are still standing in the city.

Generation Rent: Urban Facelifts Serve the Well-Heeled

Vancouver is a self-consciously pretty city. And like a teenager counting the brush strokes through her hair in the morning, it strives daily to become even more so. Perhaps it should be careful what it wishes for.

The City of Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan set the ambitious goal of becoming “the greenest city in the world” in just seven years. Like a personal fitness program, the effort is having secondary benefits: while expanding bike paths, food-producing gardens and composting, green initiatives are adding grace notes to the face of the city, like public gathering spaces called parklets where parking spaces used to be.

Once voters elected former farmer, Happy Planet juice company entrepreneur, and avid commuter cyclist Gregor Robertson to the mayor’s chair in 2008, the 2010 Olympics shot the city down a rabbit hole of compulsive civic introspection to reassure itself that yes, Vancouver was indeed the world-class city of its own advertising.

But even as it prepared for its close-up in the world’s spotlight, Vancouver worried about its poorer citizens being displaced.

Those tensions didn’t deter international accolades. Vancouver celebrated its ranking in the Economist magazine’s international list of the world’s most livable cities — scaled on stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

But after topping the ranking’s “livability” scale for almost a decade, Vancouver recently slipped to third place. Like runners-up in a beauty pageant, civic leaders and business improvement associations are now redoubling their efforts to restore livability to under-toned neighbourhoods.

The two-year-old Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association is Vancouver’s newest civic group with ambitions. Led by 33-year-old Wesley Regan, it seeks to balance the business and social interests of an area spanning the eastern fringe of upscale Yaletown and the heart of the hard-luck Downtown Eastside.

One neighbourhood further east, the 12-year-old Hastings North Business Improvement Association has rebranded what used to be known as Hastings Sunrise as the new “East Village” — drawing some controversy for its effort to appropriate the cachet of the Manhattan neighbourhood of the same name.
Such initiatives aren’t housing providers, but they do influence who can afford to live where.

 Retooling the Downtown Eastside and Hastings Sunrise, both historically working-class and immigrant neighbourhoods, to appeal to wealthier new residents can, like the lovely, eco-friendly “parklets” budding across the city, foster both a greater neighbourhood appreciation for some, while leaving others feeling pushed to the door.

A little bit older, deeper in redevelopment
In looks, as in so much else, San Francisco is our American doppelganger city, just a little bit older and further along some of the same paths Vancouver is following.

San Francisco’s Hastings Sunrise neighbourhood is the Divisadero Corridor. The historically African- and Japanese-American neighbourhood is northeast of the famed bohemia of Haight-Ashbury, next to the predominantly African-American Western Addition.

Until recently the Divisadero was a hotbed of crack cocaine sales and use, sex work, and associated violence. Remy Nelson, a lifelong San Franciscan and owner of the neighbourhood’s Mojo Bicycle Cafe, remembers the early 2000s, when at least once a month he heard gunshots, and every few months someone was shot down.

The view of across the street from the Mojo Bicycle Cafe offers a glimpse of Divisadero Street’s blue-collar roots. Photo by Jackie Wong.

He remembers the summer he opened his bike repair store and coffee shop, in 2007. “Up [Divisadero Street] at the barbecue joint, guys got an automatic and went and hosed down the entire joint, the street, the cars, everything. There were bullet shells everywhere,” Nelson says. “That was one of the last [big shootings]. That was a moment when something had to happen. The supervisor [San Franciscan for city councillor] came through and demanded foot patrols. And really that changed a lot of it, having a police presence.”

The movement for crime-free streets coincided with the arrival of new residents. “A largely Caucasian crowd,” as Nelson describes it, “bought property and was going to have kids and wanted to send them to school. They wanted their property values to go up. And that blight — of unemployment, people shooting each other in the middle of the day — it was kind of taking away from their money.”

It’s no surprise to Nelson that rents continue to go up in San Francisco. “No one ever said it was affordable,” he says. “It was always crazy. We live in a very desirable place.”

“I feel like the locals have been a little bit drowned out, just because there’s so many more people coming to this neighbourhood,” he says. “With a new wash of people coming in, a certain number of those are going to have higher incomes than people who currently live here. Those people are going to want to move in, to take over the apartments that are made available, and raise the rents.”
This blog site features sketches and often equally colorful stories behind the scenes by 100 invited artists correspondents in more than 30 countries around the world. Some are architects and illustrators, others are graphic designers, web developers, painters or educators, all sharing the same passion for drawing on location. If you are interested in purchase or usage of any of their sketches, please contact each artist directly.

I'm not an Urban Sketcher member but now I see this I may become one. Here are some of the paintngs I've done of Vancouver
 The Urban Development Institute is a national non-profit association (with international affiliations) of the development industry and its related professions that is non-partisan in its activities. With over 600 corporate members, UDI Pacific represents thousands of individuals involved in all facets of land development and planning,
ULI’s mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. The Urban Land Institute is an independent, nonprofit research and education organization connected to nearly 30,000 members worldwide representing the entire spectrum of the land use and development disciplines. ULI British Columbia offers an unbiased and non-partisan exchange of ideas between private and public agencies to help provide solutions to local and regional issues. It continues to be the leading place for cross-disciplinary dialogue on land use in British Columbia.  Initially founded in 2006, ULI British Columbia has over 300 members from across the Province.

Neighbourhoods for Sustainable Neighbourhoods.

Video fro 2011 - Makes some great points about people being ignored by City Hall. We need Real Democracy! This is a wonderful video that raises important questions on how city hall is run and it's not in the interest of the people of Vancouver and also how media plays a role in how some issues are covered while others are not.
Greenest City Action Plan

To become the greenest city in the world, City staff are working with Council, residents, businesses, other organizations, and all levels of government to implement the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

Goals of the Action Plan

The Action Plan is divided into ten goal areas, each with a specific 2020 target.
Together, these address three overarching areas of focus:
  • Carbon
  • Waste
  • Ecosystems
These goals will take time and effort to reach, and we are committed to reporting our progress on an ongoing basis.

Ideas we've been asked to come up with in our class are:
What are our priorties?
How can we maximize designer engagement?
How can we maximize public engagement?
What are the key aspects of our location?
Are we an umbrella for multiple others or a more narrowly focused organization?
What should we not do?
Who could or would we want to share space with?
What must be part of our space?
What should not be part of our space?
What should be our priorities the first year?
Do we have the right name?

So basically our cohort at Emily Carr has we've been approached by a group of architects and other people from all walks of life and we've been asked to come up with ideas to brand their identity and design a website for them. It's a huge tasks and we will be working in groups. I could go it alone but this is huge and so I'm quite sure I'll join a group but there's alot I want to tackle on my own. 

I love Vancouver, my grandparents immigrated here , my mom was born here, .....I've lived in BC my whole life, and since 97 I have lived mainly in Vancouver with brief stints away living in the Kootenays and Mexico. 

I see my neighbourhood in Kitsilano changing. Beautiful old character homes torn down to be replace with ugly boxes.  :( It maddens and saddens me.  Housing is so expensive most Vancouverites can't own a home and the city is being gobbled up by foreigners, many who only live here on a part time basis. (Nelson has the same issue by the way.) Poverty is huge and it's Vancouver's dirty little secret that no one wants to address.

There are no laws to protect our city from the skyrocketing housing prices. In Singapore for example, I have heard you can not buy land/houses or cars- you can only rent. Rarotonga only lets you stay a month and then you pay extra. Now these are extremes but what measures need to be in place to help people born and raised here actually be able to remain here and raise children here with out feeling then need to move away- Escape the rat race!!

We are blessed, I am, but even as I write this a chain of events has left me wondering what will happen to me, where will we we want to stay, how long? If we move away, will we ever be able to move back. 

Where to start? It's really an incredible opportunity to be able to have some input here but will it be adapted and implemented or will it just be some grand ideas...and nothing will become of it like what happened to Urbanarium in the 80's? These are the questions we must deal with?
Here's 2 more video for you and then some links

Do you want to share your opinions. You can, go to my Facebook page.

Other related links:  .

No comments: