Governance & Politics
January 12, 2021

Free Webinar~Passing the Torch: Lessons Learned from Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Shirin Ebadi


Passing the Torch: Lessons Learned for Future Generations of Women Advocates~A conversation with Shirin Ebadi at Simon Fraser University

Shirin Ebadi is the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The first woman appointed as judge in Iran, she was subsequently barred from her post after the Islamic Revolution on the basis of her gender. Returning to the courts as a private lawyer to defend controversial political and human rights cases led to her own incarceration and 25 days in solitary confinement. Despite these challenges, Shirin Ebadi continues to dedicate her life to fighting for human rights, especially the rights of women, children, and political prisoners. She will join us to talk about the hard-won lessons she has learned, to pass the torch to future generations of women advocates.
A zoom link will be provided to registered attendees via email.
About the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies
The Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies has been established at Simon Fraser University to encourage the academic discussion and public understanding of the cultures and societies of Muslim peoples in the past and present.

Date: Wednesday January 27, 2021

Time: 12 noon Pacific Time

You can register by clicking this link.

Images: VanityFair,

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There’s a Vancouver real estate marketing YouTube video making the rounds of social media that describes a “different way of life” that is “elegantly removed from the hectic pace of downtown”.

You can watch the video below with that calm hushed voice describing the Arbutus Greenway as “one of the longest linear parks in the world” (no mention that it is a rail-right-of-way) and compares it with New York City’s Highline, Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, Avenue Montaigne in Paris and Mayfair and Chelsea in London. The whole point is that you  can live in a “stately greenside manor” “poised in the most distinguished part of the Arbutus greenway”.

This is really selling  the redevelopment of the Kerrisdale Lumber and hardware store in the 6100 block of West Boulevard by Gryphon Developments. This is a five storey mixed use building with 64 units with size ranges from around 800 to 1,300 square feet. There are one to three bedroom units as well as 19,000 square feet of retail for shops and services. The architect is Taizo Yamamoto and you can take a look at the submission to the Urban Design Panel here.

You can also take a look at the heritage designation of the eastern side of the facade here.

The elevations for the building appear relatively unremarkable and similar to other  types of residential development in the city.  There is the retention of the 1930’s facade north of the much loved hardware store.

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There is a large flashy ad on twitter. A new development is being announced in Metro Vancouver. It  is at the crossroads of three different rapid transit routes,  a new transportation hub to everywhere in the region and there are only 176 lots available to savvy investors. There’s a great pre-sale, there are real estate agents available at the development site to sign you up, and even better one of the purchasers of the limited number of lots will also win the lot that has an original farmhouse that had been built twenty years earlier.

This is not a current offer for sale, but one from 110 years ago when “Montrelynview, Greater Vancouver’s Tram Car Centre” was created for property sales. In 1911 the large advertisements started to appear in The Vancouver World newspaper~”Montrelynview! Greater Vancouver’s Tram Car Centre Sale Starts with 176 lots only!”

Charles Gordon, a real estate speculator had acquired Wintermute farm which is at 7640 Berkley Street  in Burnaby near Canada Way and Imperial. He then devised a plan to whip up public interest in selling the subdivided lots from the farm property and created a clever marketing campaign.

Mr. Gordon hosted a competition to name his new development and offered a first prize of $50.00 which is worth about $2,800 today for the winning name.  He wanted a moniker that would reference the mountain view, the fact you could see Burnaby Lake from the location, and that also noted the proximity to the three streetcar lines.

There were over 5,000 potential names submitted in the contest, but none satisfied Mr. Gordon. Awkwardly, he devised  his own brand for the development, calling it  “Montrelynview”which he felt recognized the mountain view, the lake view, and the proximity to transit. The prize of $50.00 went to the person that suggested “Tricarlocheights” which meant “mountains and omit(s) view”.

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Join America Walks for a conversation with Mindy Thompson Fullilove about her recently released book Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All. Main Streets, already weakened by malls and online shopping, have taken a terrible beating because of the need to shelter-in-place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet Main Streets are centers for conviviality which is crucial to creativity and imagination — so important for surviving all the challenges we face. This webinar will investigate how Main Streets work and what they need from us now.

Host: Mike McGinn, Executive  Director Walk America, former Mayor City of Seattle

Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, LFAPA, Hon AIA, is a social psychiatrist and professor of urban policy and health at The New School. Since 1986, she has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health. From her research, she has published numerous articles, book chapters, and monographs. She has also written: The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place, Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It, and Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities. A third edition of Homeboy Came to Orange: A Story of People’s Power, which she helped her father, Ernest Thompson, write, was released in May 2018 by New Village Press. She is co-author, with Hannah L. F. Cooper, of From Enforcers to Guardians: A public health primer on ending police violence, issued by Johns Hopkins University Press in January 2020. Her latest book, Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All, was released in September 2020 by New Village Press.

DATE: Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PST

For more information and to  register, click this link.


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If you have been walking on the Seaside Greenway on the southside of False Creek, you may have noticed that it is a bit of a slime fest  and hard to walk on for several sections. In 2015 the City had a summer drought and cut back on the use of things like pressure washers, according to this CBC story. 

But the story also said that pressure washing could continue for health and safety purposes, and there is no drought now.

What happens when it is a city owned greenway where hundreds of people walk? I had heard that the city was no longer using pressure washers for regular maintenance, but could not find any report or reference to that change of practice on the City’s website. Perhaps PriceTags readers would know.

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Please note that applications close today, January 6, 2020.

The Dutch Cycling Embassy is looking for an intern starting in February/March 2021. Do you have affinity with cycling and international cooperation, and would you like to commit yourself to spread the Dutch cycling knowledge worldwide? Take a look at the vacancy below!

The Dutch Cycling Embassy is a public private partnership that aims to promote Dutch cycling knowledge internationally. Daily, we receive requests from all over the world to share the Dutch knowledge. The Dutch Cycling Embassy offers a broad network of Dutch companies, knowledge institutes, NGOs, and government agencies to adhere to these requests.

The internship can broadly be divided into two parts: international cooperation and marketing. You will support the DCE with the intake of (international) requests, the drafting of programs for international delegations, and the accompaniment of these delegations. Thereby, you will help with the completion of our social media strategy and the development of marketing and communication tasks. You may also be asked you to help with ad hoc assignments.

You can find further information about this position by clicking this link.


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April 1966 was a heady time in Vancouver~it was the year before Canada’s centennial year, and was the City of Vancouver’s 80th birthday. Oddly it was also the  80th anniversary of the so called “colonial” union between Vancouver Island and the mainland, and that’s what the  Provincial government wanted to celebrate.

At the time, Premier Bennett  of the Social Credit party had planned to create a “legacy public work” by building in secret a large water fountain on the north side of  what is now the Vancouver Art Gallery. It was still functioning in 1966 as the Court House. (The building became the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1983.)

The fountain with its very mod mosaic patterned floor and large spouts of water was truly an expression of the 1960’s. The fountain was supposed to be never turned off, and was designed by Alex von Svoboda who was an Austrian count that immigrated to Canada after World War Two.

Twenty years later, visiting  Architect Michael Turner, the  UNESCO Chairholder in Urban Design and Conservation Studies pondered at the UBC architecture school why a city in a pretty damp rainforest climate needed to have a large fountain continually spewing water. The fountain was plonked directly in what had formerly been a large gathering place for Vancouver citizens. The students in his class had no answers.

During the secretive construction of the fountain, the public space in front of the Court House was cordoned off by large wooden hoarding painted green and white, which just happened to be the colours of the Provincial party in power. The Berlin Wall had been constructed commencing in 1961 and the Mayor of Vancouver Bill Rathie wanted to ensure that everyone knew he was not responsible for the usurping of  this much used public space.

There was no love lost between the Premier and the Mayor.

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Smart Growth America believes that  “America’s towns and cities deserve investment, stewardship, and supportive, thriving communities. A smart growth approach to development is about creating the places that make this possible.

Smart growth means reinvesting in America’s downtowns and Main Streets, the economic engines of big cities and small towns alike. Smart growth means creating homes for families of all income levels alongside one another. Smart growth means diversifying our transportation system so Americans have a choice in how they get around. Smart growth means building streets that are safe for people walking, bicycling or using a wheelchair, as well as driving. Smart growth means reimagining the places we have already built, and protecting our open green spaces for generations to come.

Join us for Smart Growth America’s Equity Summit: Improving racial equity, economic inclusion and restorative justice through smart growth

At Smart Growth America, we deeply believe that improving racial disparities is at the core of a smart growth approach. But what does that mean? How does it work in practice? And how can smart growth advocates do it better?

Join us for three straight days January 26th-28th from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Pacific Time for a three-day virtual summit where we’ll convene an exciting group of experts, practitioners and policymakers to discuss how to center improving racial equity in smart growth work. Our impressive lineup of speakers will discuss how to promote equity in housing and land use, why strong Black & brown businesses are key to neighborhood vitality, and how to right the wrongs of past damaging transportation decisions and promote restorative justice. The centerpiece of each day is a discussion between a panel of experts, moderated by a Smart Growth America expert.

Dates: Tuesday January 26 to Thursday January 28

Time: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Pacific Time

To find out more information and to register, click this link.


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MODUS planning, design and engagement  is seeking a full time Senior Urban Designer to join their team.

“MODUS is a mission-driven planning, design and engagement firm based in Vancouver, BC. Our small and powerful team is working on some of the Vancouver region’s most challenging and exciting projects. We primarily work with municipal, development and non-profit clients across Western Canada to deliver urban design, neighbourhood to regional scale community planning, and public and stakeholder communications and engagement consulting services.
We believe in:
• Innovating to provide effective solutions to global and local challenges and issues.
• Building capacity with clients and communities through genuine, meaningful collaboration.
• Having fun while we’re at it!
We’re passionate about having a collective impact on the world, making it a better place to live today and in the future. We also contribute positively to the generational challenge of sustainability by focusing on the places where people live and how they live. “

You can find out more about this opportunity by visiting their website here and clicking on this application.



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A new year and time to remind the Province that some initiatives are simple to make movement around places more palatable for more people during the pandemic and after. There is an increase in people wanting to walk, roll and bike and get outside. Regional parks in Metro Vancouver had a 61 percent increase in visits in June of 2020 compared to June of 2019. Sadly access to most regional parks requires a vehicle.

We saw nimble work in some surprising places with  repurposing roads for all street users, with Winnipeg and Calgary leading the way. The City of Vancouver was a little slower in their rollout of “Slow Streets” which referred to streets where walking and cycling were supposedly encouraged by signage for slower vehicle driver  movement.

Sadly the barriers of choice for Slow Streets were very moveable rather light plastic jersey barriers, which of course were scuttled to the side of many of the designated  streets by vehicle drivers, much the way a spent beer can is kicked to the curb when there’s no deposit on the return.

But  look at what Brussels in Belgium has achieved~they have a metro population of 2.5 million (Vancouver’s metro area is 2.46.)

With the extraordinary statement that motorists “should simply no longer feel welcome” the Transportation Minister for Brussels announced that  in the inner city a new 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limit covers the entire city centre. This applies to all streets except for ring roads and some traffic arteries.

In Brussels fifty people annually  die or are seriously maimed by speeding drivers. The intent is to have more rail use and less vehicular traffic in the inner city for air quality purposes , and to reduce vehicular traffic by 33 percent. The goal within ten years is to have the entire city consisting of traffic calmed zones, with more right of way space dedicated to pedestrians, open spaces and bike lanes.

Helga Schmidt in points out that enforcement will be achieved by the increased use of speed cameras set up throughout the city. By announcing the intended  measures last year, the agency in charge of mobility in the Brussels-Capital area already has undertaken consultations with transportation businesses, transit operators, police and the public.

Extra funding has been allocated for addressing streets that are still dangerous to vulnerable users, as well as for assistance in processing fines for speeding drivers.

Contrast this with the request of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities  (UBCM) in 2019 who unanimously approved the motion to ask the Province to allow municipalities to be able to make 30 kilometer per hour neighbourhood zones.  UBCM wants to make it easier for municipalities in B.C. to follow the leads of other jurisdictions  in slowing driver speed limits to increase livability in neighbourhoods.

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