COVID Place making
December 1, 2020

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic~Vancouver, San Francisco & the Mask Slackers

What happened in the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic regarding mask wearing regulation?

In the first wave of the epidemic in Vancouver, Dr. F. Underhill and the Mayor of Vancouver advocated for “veils” or masks, made out of gauze. An article in the Daily Province on October 28, 1918 noted that the Japanese community in Vancouver was already wearing gauze veils “under the advice of their three Japanese physicians who have been successfully fighting the epidemic in the Japanese colony.” 

“Rooming house people” and shop keepers were universally wearing flu masks in the Japanese community and Dr. Underhill advised the public to “realize the necessity” of wearing a cheesecloth or gauze veil or a double strip of gause fastened around the nose and mouth. He also said the gauze could be medicated with a good antiseptic, and the cost was small for such veils and masks.

Elsewhere San Francisco had a mask order in October of 1918, which was dismissed in November and then reinstated in the second wave of the flu in January 1919. Fines for not wearing a mask ranged from 5 to 10 dollars, along with a ten day prison sentence.

Becky Little on History.com notes that at the time mandatory mask regulations came to cities, people that did not mask up could receive prison time, fines, or risk “having their names published in the paper, revealing that they were a “mask slacker”.

Hygiene changed at this time, especially in New York City where regulations were enforced to stop people spitting on the streets. There was advice to keep your face turned away from others on street cars, and to cover your mouth and nose when you coughed. Fresh air and exercise were advocated, as well as the tie-in that such good habits could also arrest other diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

There is also a move from individualism to a more collective way of looking at health with citizens being urged to protect themselves and also protect others. One message at the time was a jingle stating

Obey the laws and wear the gauze. Protect your jaws from septic paws”.

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If ever there was a year that threw out most predictions, this is the one. On November 20, 2020, what do we know will happen by this time next year? We are asking readers to let us know.

We are all nine months into living differently and working from home. Everyone knows what a Zoom meeting is. We worry how public transit will survive, keep six feet apart from people we don’t know for physical distancing, and think about wearing masks and washing hands a lot.

Nine months in there are also some surprises. Even though there are less people that have secure salaries, and the borders are closed housing prices in Vancouver have still stayed constant, perhaps reflecting the last flurry of activity before mortgage rates and lending tighten up.

But what will things be like one year from now on 11.20.2021?

That was the subject of conversation at a physically distanced meal  at the legendary Pink Pearl restaurant on East Hastings with the Duke of Data, Simon Fraser University’s  Director of the City Program Andy Yan.

Take a look at the predictive predilections forecast over dim sum at the Pink Pearl Restaurant on East Hastings below.

Agree or disagree?

Now is the time to offer your own predictions in the comments section.

What changes do you perceive will happen by this time next year?

We will of course take a look at all the predictive  predilections, and invite you to a Dim Sum predilection party to discuss what was forecast/what  really happened to be held at the Pink Pearl restaurant in one year.

Here’s our 2020 Dim Sum Predilections for 2021:

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Planning for the Post-Pandemic City by Simon Fraser University Public Square

When Planning Vancouver Together started in November 2019, no one could’ve imagined what was just around the corner. While a global pandemic altered our relationship with our city, it also laid bare and amplified the pre-existing inequalities of our society. COVID-19 has tested the resiliency and adaptability of Vancouver’s social, economic and physical fabric. While certain parts of the city have weathered this pandemic, others have struggled.

What have we learned and experienced in the last eight months that might shape the next 30 years? How can the Vancouver Plan – a long-term strategic citywide plan – course-correct and continue to plan for a future city that is resilient to new and existing shocks and stressors, while striving for a city that truly works for all who live, work and play here?

Speakers
Gil Kelley (GM of Planning, City of Vancouver) Gil Kelley, FAICP, is an internationally recognized urban strategist and visionary, having served as Chief Planner for several West Coast cities and as an independent advisor to cities and governments across the globe. He currently serves as the General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability for the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. In the past, he has served as the Director of Citywide Planning for the City of San Francisco, the Director of Planning for the City of Portland, Oregon and the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Berkeley, California.

Lisa Cavicchia (Program Director, Canadian Urban Institute) Lisa is a Program Director and urban planner with more than 20 years of experience managing city-building initiatives for the Canadian Urban Institute. She is responsible for developing and implementing partnerships with cities and communities across Canada and in almost 20 countries and more than 100 cities across Europe, South-East Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean that connect individuals and organizations in cities to research, plan, fund and deliver initiatives that strengthen local economies, improve sustainable development outcomes, and create jobs for youth, women and men.

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The City of Cleveland is sponsoring this talk by Enrique Penalosa, the past mayor of Bogota, Colombia on Equity by Design – Sustainability, Mobility, and Building the Cities of the Future.
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Mr. Penalosa implemented a massive urban improvement plan for Bogota´s city center which included demolition and redevelopment of severely crime-ridden areas, the creation of a land bank for providing quality low income housing, and the establishment of an innovative urban project of the highest quality for more than 400 inhabitants.

Since leaving office, Mr. Peñalosa has worked as a consultant on urban strategy and leadership advising officials in cities all over the world on how to build quality, equitable and competitive cities that cannot only survive but thrive in the future. He was president of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, a New York based NGO promoting sustainable and equitable transportation worldwide.

Join us for a conversation with Mr. Peñalosa on how he advanced equity for all residents through thoughtful transportation planning and urban design − and what we should all consider when building the smart cities of the future.

 

Date: Friday December 11, 2020

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time

To register please click here.

Here is Enrique Penalosa talking about the historic downtown area of Bogota where public spaces and streets were revitalized during his leadership.

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Cities are the fundamental building block of contemporary society, certainly in Canada where almost 90 per cent of our population lives in a community of 5,000 or more. COVID-19 – and the various measures governments have taken to cope with it – is having a dramatic impact on the future of urban life now, and will potentially alter fundamentally how we plan, design, manage, and govern cities in the future. The non-profit sector will play an important role in this process.

Join Mary W. Rowe, President & CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, and the host of CityTalkCanada, to consider five good ideas for the non-profit sector to build a city, now and in the wake of a global pandemic.

Mary is no stranger to how cities recover from disasters, having worked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and New York City during and following Hurricane Sandy. For several years she worked closely with Maytree Chair Alan Broadbent on Ideas that Matter, a convening and publishing program focused on the core areas of Jane Jacobs’ work: cities, economies, and values. Her work continues to be focused on how cities enable self-organization, cultivate innovation, and build social, economic, environmental, and cultural resilience.

Date: Dec 3, 2020

Time: 10:00 am Pacific Time

To sign up please click this link.

Images: MayTree,Arup

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Three years ago I wrote about the turf of the  iconic Hudson’s Bay store in downtown Vancouver at Granville and Georgia Streets being for sale, and in 2018 I wrote that the store’s property had been bought by an undisclosed Asian buyer for 675 million dollars.

The Hudson’s Bay Company  had previously leased their New York City store location to WeWork, a shared workspace business, setting the stage for a suggested change in the ownership (and purpose) for the Vancouver store. This arguably is on one of the most important heritage sites in the city, a block away from the Vancouver Art Gallery, and right beside the Canada Line.

What a shift a Covid pandemic year makes, where trends that would have taken longer to come to fruition have had a chance for accelerated growth, with less angst expressed by the public.  It was expected that  Hudson’s Bay  was to sign a 20-year lease with the new owner, and have WeWork, the shared office space operator,  leasing  the top floors of the Vancouver and other Hudson’s Bay stores.  That was pre-Covid.

Department store retail  and the demand for downtown shared work facilities has shrivelled during the pandemic. Sadly even though Hudson’s Bay Company has been in Vancouver since 1887, first operating out of a storefront on Pender Street, their way of leaving has not been so glamourous.

As reported by Rachelle  Younglai and Susan Krashinsky in the Globe and Mail HBC have not paying their bills, and they are being a bit obstreperous about it.

The Hudson’s Bay store in Coquitlam  Centre was shuttered on the weekend, because the company did not pay their rent.

Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC)  who also own Saks Fifth Avenue and  Saks Off Fifth department store chains, is “facing legal actions for unpaid rent in at least 20 locations in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, as well as in Florida, according to court documents.”

It appears that rent has not been covered by HBC for many Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada,  with Morguard REIT  alone out $2.79-million in unpaid rent for five locations in shopping centres in Ottawa, Toronto, Brampton, Ont., and Abbotsford, B.C. And there’s more outstanding debt on leased space too.

HBC had privatized pre pandemic, and there had been accusations of the chain not running “first-class” operations, especially at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto which is the flagship store and a top producing mall.

In the “best defence is a good offence” strategy, HBC has responded legally by saying the same thing about the landlords that own the various properties that the stores are positioned on.

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We’ll put this under ‘Walking and Dancing.’

The principle at Xi Guan Elementary School, Zhang Pengfei, introduced his students to shuffle dancing  as a way to both provide some outdoor exercise for his students and to amuse them with a distraction from phones and computers. Undoubtedly Chinese: the principle leads and barks orders, the students are perfectly synchronized, the dancing is both comical and disciplined – and when you look at the kids, it seems charming as well as fun and healthy. (Click on title for video.)

 

“The dance is called the Melbourne shuffle, or shuffle dance, that originated in Australia in the 1980s. With energetic steps, it is becoming a new form of “square dance” occupying China’s urban spaces from parks to plazas and a popular pound-losing exercise for many elderly and middle-age Chinese.

What a blending of cultures.  Very West Pacific.

 

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You have seen it in Vancouver~long lines of vehicles  in the drive-in lanes at McDonald’s in Kerrisdale when there’s no one inside the quick serve restaurant. You may have wondered why there were so many people  idling in a queue, and just assumed it was an anomaly. But apparently it is not, and as News 1130’s Monica Gul reports Dr. Sylvain Charlebois who is the director of Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University is studying this phenomena. Dr. Charlebois has called it “the fake commute”.

It does make sense in that Tim Hortons and McDonalds have been reporting a doubling or tripling of business at some drive-in locations, and the locations that expected a 30 percent drop in revenue quickly gained ground. Sadly the drive-in quick service chains have been able to adapt well to the pandemic and will emerge with healthy profit margins unlike the independent retailers and restaurants that are not set up for quick serve window accessed meals.

There is a psychological reason that people are leaving home to pick up a coffee whether by foot, bike or vehicle. As Dr. Charlebois notes, people don’t just get up in the morning and sit to work at the home office station, and leaving to get coffee elsewhere creates a regularity and a “commute” to the home office.

Which means that even though people aren’t necessarily going to work, physically, or going to some place, people are still basically driving around or busing around to get their morning fix…A lot of people are struggling to physically distance themselves from their work.

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Do you see what NPA Park Commissioner Tricia Barker is doing here?

From a Province op-ed:

In Vancouver, the civic government has a “transportation hierarchy” list. I propose we put compromised seniors and people with disabilities at the top of this list and give them first priority. …

For too long we’ve put seniors and people with disabilities last. The city’s “hierarchy of transportation modes” says it will consider the needs and safety of each group of road users in the following order of priority: 1st walking; 2nd cycling; 3rd transit and taxi/shared vehicles, and 4th private auto (Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 condensed plan, Page 13). Seniors and persons with disabilities aren’t even mentioned.

Of course seniors and the disabled aren’t mentioned.  They’re people, not modes of transportation.

Seniors and disabled people* can be walkers, cyclists, transit and vehicle users.  What Barker implies without having to say explicitly is that they’re all dependent car users.  So in order to give them top priority, motordom must be maintained.

On that she is explicit:

As we move forward, let’s make a promise to never take away something that has already been given. … Let’s enact a policy where you can’t take away a necessity because it’s convenient or others may like it.

What are these necessities that can’t be taken away?  Parking.  Road space.  Motordom: the city designed for the car, which, by her argument, seniors and the disabled see as essential.  Hence, any diminishment of motordom is a sign of disrespect.  Their right to easy access everywhere by automobile must be maintained as a first priority – something to be encoded in policy to be used as the basis for planning.

It’s kind of a brilliant strategy: use the disabled to disable progress towards active transportation, towards progress on climate change, towards safer cities and greater choice – all the policies you don’t want to publicly oppose but can frustrate by out-woking the progressives.

Here’s another example:

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