Bravo, Roger Bayley!
Roger (principal of Roger Bayley Inc.) is an engineer who works with Merrick Architecture on the Olympic Village project. He is also the spirit behind the Challenge Series – a work in progress that will ultimately tell the story behind and about South East False Creek.
The Olympic Village, of course, is still to be finished, as is this story. And it’s been caught up in the political turbulence and financial volatility of our times. Nonetheless, to a great extent it will be the project that determines how the world sees us in the coming year – a part of the progressive development of False Creek that is indistinguishable from the story of Vancouver itself.
It is also a project of extraordinary aspirations, not always achieved, intended to provide a model of sustainability that can address the great challenge of our time. Hence, I think, the title.
The Challenge Series will ultimately be an eight-part series, published in both web format and print, by a team led by Roger and funded by some of the key players in the development of this city. He has also called upon those involved in the history of South East False Creek (including myself) and, most importantly, those engaged in the creative process whose decisions are shaping the reality we see emerging on its shores to tell their own stories. The result is an extraordinary level of detail, effectively illustrated, that should intrigue both professionals and the general public.
Today, the third chapter arrived – Public Space + Infrastructure.
We explore the question of place and its particular relevance in building sustainable communities. From questions of heritage to solutions coupling stormwater management with play space, from the way the land is treated to the way people interact, this chapter brings forward stories about public areas, infrastructure and heritage. We learn of the phenomenal effort required to ensure the new community’s environmental integrity by cleaning up the toxic residue of its past.
We have lost the opportunity to tell much of what has already happened in our city; so many great figures – Walter Hardwick, Doug Sutcliffe – who were instrumental in creating the South Shore of False Creek, for instance, are gone. Much of the documentation was never saved. Memories fade. The stories of who we are and what we built are eventually lost.
Not, thanks to the Challenge Series, in this case.
UPDATE: Brent Toderian has just done a summary of the Olympic Village’s lessons and learnings. Vancouver’s Director of Planning wrote this piece for his blog on Planetizen.