Nature & Public Spaces
February 20, 2019

Winter City Walkable Bingo for Kids

 

From the Saskatchewan in Motion program coaching children to walk to school and be more active in their communities is this “Bingo” card designed for children to take out on their winter walks.

And as Wildernook Fresh Air Training enthuses “This weekend we’re taking a break from our regular neighbourhood walking game of I Spy to try out Saskatchewan in Motion’s Winter Walking Bingo Card.

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From Michael Alexander:

First sunny day above freezing, and the newish playground next to Science World is packed as usual, with long lines for every ride including the zip line.

If the city charged $1 a kid (“C’mon Mom, it’s only a loonie!), in a year we could build enough affordable housing to meet demand*.

 

 

* Ed – First rule of affordable housing: demand is never met.

 

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February 14, 2019

Lost Lagoon after a few days of freezing weather.

So what do the ice patterns tell us?  Where the underwater currents flow, producing a frozen map of streams and ponds?  Temperature gradients? Or something else – if we have eyes to see.

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Dianna has been eavesdropping:

Overheard yesterday on the bus. A millennial quite serious and slightly horrified: “Oh, no! I couldn’t go to an English-speaking veterinarian. My cat only speaks French.”

When we got off the bus in the pouring snow we were greeted by a total stranger with a cheery Merry Christmas!

And cycling the seawall:

Department of Good News/Bad News. A few weeks ago as I biked alongside the bank of daffodils on English Bay, I told them that they were too optimistic. It was too early to bloom. They didn’t listen, and so this… which makes the geese happy.

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Join us to learn how local governments are working to achieve healthy, resilient urban forests, and hear highlights about Metro Vancouver’s Urban Forest Climate Adaptation program and New Westminster’s award-winning Urban Forest Management Strategy.

  • Edward Nichol, Senior Policy and Planning Analyst (Environment), Regional Planning, Metro Vancouver
  • Amelia Needoba, Principal & Senior Urban Forester, Diamond Head Consulting
  • Erika Mashig, Manager, Arboriculture, Horticulture, Parks & Open Space Planning, City of New Westminster

Wednesday, February 20

7:30 – 9:00 am – Presentations start at 7:30 am
Continental breakfast available at 7:00 am

BCIT Downtown – 555 Seymour

Register Now

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For all of Vancouver’s history, one thing has been invariably true: we prize our public spaces, our parks and waterfront especially, and we’re prepared to pay well for them.

A recent council motion in December – one of many made by the new council on its first budget – seemed to suggest that funding direction might be changing. Less money for urban improvements, more for affordable housing.

In April, 2016, the previous Council approved the closure of 800 Robson Street to motor vehicle traffic to fulfil the original vision of Arthur Erickson: a permanent public plaza, a seamless part of Robson Square from Art Gallery to Court House.

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From our local correspondents Michael and Dianna:

Recently, in a break between rain squalls, Toronto transplant Himy Syed chalked an urban ‘labyrinth’, featuring our solar system.

With orbits looping across the pavers at the False Creek end of Manitoba Street, the elaborate chalk art includes a mysterious Kuiper Belt object thought to circle the sun, far beyond Pluto’s orbit.

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The January winter is always a time where people evaluate effectiveness and success, and looking at New York City’s High Line is no different. This article by Justin Davidson in the New York Magazine describes the author’s ennui with the place, as it transformed from an old 30 foot high 1.45 mile (2.33 km)  long train bridge to a wildly successful people place.

Davidson minces no words describing the High Line as “an elevated cattle chute for tourists, who shuffle from the Whitney to Hudson Yards, squeezed between high glass walls and luxury guard towers. The views are mostly gone, which is a good thing because stopping to admire one would cause a 16-pedestrian pileup. The rail-level traffic mirrors the congestion overhead, caused by construction so hellbent on milking New York’s waning real estate hyper-boom that any patch of land bigger than a tick’s front yard is considered suitable for luxury condos.”

I spent time with Mitchell Silver, New York City’s Park Commissioner and Robert Hammond, one of the founders of the High Line walking the length of the project, and described that here. Mitchell observed that locals stay away from the High Line during “tourist season” hours, and also stressed that the width of the walkway~fifteen feet~was inadequately narrow, despite best intentions. The reuse of an  old highway overpass in Seoul Korea has resulted in the creation of Seoullo 7017, a fantastic arboretum and linear park thirty feet in the air. When I visited this project last year, designers also said that their walkway~which was also fifteen feet wide~was too narrow as well. This project is well-lit and open 24 hours a day and has a bakery and a daycare on its deck.

Seoullo7017

While it is popular to believe that the High Line has been responsible for the rejuvenation and revitalization of this very old meatpacking district, I beg to differ.

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There is now a three part trilogy in Vancouver where a valued public resource~public trees~have been hacked or poisoned on public lands. Two of the previous public tree mutilations were performed to improve private views. You may have read the latest in the Vancouver Sun where after the December windstorm Park Board staff discovered  at Spanish Banks near Tolmie Street a group of conifer trees had been delimbed and their tops sawed off.

And it wasn’t someone looking for a quick fix to grabbing a Christmas tree, as the  tops and limbs were found in the park. How could someone have done this without anyone seeing? And why has this happened? Howard Norman of the Parks Board minced no words saying “In my experience, this is strictly view-related. That’s the only rational reason I can think of.

The trees were partially sawed through and were then broken in windstorms. The trees will continue to develop, but their  canopies will be significantly altered, suggesting  the involvement of a  nearby view property owner that may not know the wrath of Vancouverites when public trees are sullied. The Park Board is working with the Vancouver Police to ascertain who the culprit is, but finger-pointing is already focused upon the exclusive hilly view properties across from the beach.

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