From SFU City Program:
This summer, gain actionable insights from experienced practitioners who have played transformative roles in planning safer neighbourhoods. Our first ever workshop on this topic will equip you with crime prevention strategies rooted in environmental design. Learn more below.
SafeGrowth — Safety Planning in the 21st Century Neighbourhood
SafeGrowth is an integrated method for planning safe neighbourhoods. It incorporates neighbourhood governance, sustainability and safety into planning and urban design practice.
In this course, you’ll first learn 1st and 2nd generation CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design). The SafeGrowth approach then expands to include:
- Neighbourhood wellness and cultural activities to build cohesion
- Overcoming obstacles to conflict resolution using emotional intelligence
- SafeGrowth® planning and community accords
- Co-planning with community groups
- Tipping point effects, such as land use impacts
- Assessing risk and computerized mapping for crime patterns
- Implementation strategies and safety networks
- Safety audits, asset mapping, lighting and landscape analysis
- Real-life project application and feedback
June 8-9, and July 6-7
Instructors: Gregory Saville, Tarah Hodgkinson, Jon Munn
In 2013, City Council passed this:
This community plan was a response to objections over the development of a few highrises (particularly the ones at Comox and Broughton, and at Bidwell and Davie) under a rental incentive program. Opponents objected to the spot rezonings without the context of a community plan. So they got one. Read on >>
Looking back, Looking forward: Reflections on Housing Metro Vancouver
While Metro Vancouver has changed dramatically over the past four decades, many concerns of yesteryear are surprisingly similar to those of today—foreign buyers, rental crisis, dwindling land supply, locals-first policies, and disdain for developers. Using his collection of newspaper clippings, in this presentation Michael Geller will offer a different perspective on Metro Vancouver’s housing affordability challenges and some timeless solutions. Read on >>
Built as part of Expo 86 in Vancouver, this now-decrepit Plaza and its defunct casino are the subject of a renewal proposal under the Northeast False Creek Plan.
Rezoning Application – 750 Pacific Boulevard (Northeast False Creek Sub-area 6B — Plaza of Nations)The City of Vancouver has received a development proposal to amend CD-1 (349) (Comprehensive Development) District for Northeast False Creek Sub-area 6B (Plaza of Nations) at 750 Pacific Boulevard. The proposal is to rezone and develop the 10.28-acre site into a mixed-use development based on the Northeast False Creek Plan, including:
* a variety of terracing buildings up to 30 storeys;
* commercial uses;
* residential uses;
* social housing;
* civic facilities, including a community centre, ice rink, music presentation centre and a 69-space childcare facility; and
* a new community plaza and seawall.
In case you missed the 3 open house events, you can comment ONLINE.
Things to note: 20% social housing, internal street with “.. parking to support retail”.
Thanks to Frances Bula for the heads up.
As the New York Times reports Skopje Macedonia has been completely transformed from a 1963 earthquake that required the rebuilding of 80 per cent of this city. A thousand people were killed and another 100,000 were left homeless. Even though architect Kenzo Tange, “a pioneer of the 1960’s avant-garde Metabolist movement” was hired to create a redevelopment plan, his vision was never realized, resulting in a mix of brutualist concrete buildings and Soviet-style block housing.
“Hundreds of new sculptures were put up across the city, and many new buildings erected in the center of town. Dozens of false facades were added to Communist-era buildings, while scores of plaques appeared, attesting to events with varying degrees of historical accuracy.”
Ten years ago the party in power decided to rebuild the city in a way that would attract tourists, adding in three pirate ships on the Varda River in the city, installing a 47 foot high statue of Alexander the Great, and creating a decadent house in honour of Mother Teresa. In a country where the average wage is less than $500 a month, the 750 million dollars has transformed the city and not necessarily in a cogent readable way.
“The project cost hundreds of millions more than public projections and has been roundly derided by urban planners and architects, who say it was rushed into reality at the cost of structural integrity and functionality. ” A new government came into power in early 2017 which has halted all the projects including a London Eye type of Ferris wheel and “recladding of the city’s tallest glass building in a plastic foam and plaster facade intended to make it look neo-Classical”.
Even though temperatures can drop to 30 below zero in winter on the fahrenheit scale, $600,000 worth of palm trees were installed along the river banks of the city, with only five per cent surviving. While the old traditional bazaar area and its uneven patterns survived the earthquake, they are perhaps the only truth tellers in this redevelopment story. To become a city, you have to listen to and represent the citizens, their hopes and wishes. As one local architect ruefully notes that even though the city is bizarre and came at great cost, it is built “so poorly that it is unlikely to last”.
How does a city cope with extreme weather? These days, urban planning that doesn’t factor in some sort of catastrophic weather event is like trying to build something in a fictional utopia. For Kongjian Yu, one of the world’s leading landscape architects, the answer to coping with extreme weather events actually lies in the past.
Yu is the founder and dean of the school of landscape architecture at Peking University, founding director of architectural firm Turenscape, and famous for being the man who reintroduced ancient Chinese water systems to modern design. In the process he has transformed some of China’s most industrialised cities into standard bearers of green architecture.
Yu’s designs aim to build resilience in cities faced with rising sea levels, droughts, floods and so-called “once in a lifetime” storms. At 53, he is best known for his “sponge cities”, which use soft material and terraces to capture water which can then be extracted for use, rather than the usual concrete and steel materials which do not absorb water.
European methods of designing cities involve drainage pipelines which cannot cope with monsoonal rain. But the Chinese government has now adopted sponge cities as an urban planning and eco-city template. …
Yu, who is based in Beijing, explained the key benefit of sponge cities is the ability to reuse water. “The water captured by the sponge can be used for irrigation, for recharging the aquifer, for cleansing the soil and for productive use,” Yu said.
“In China, we retain storm water and reuse it. Even as individual families and houses, we collect storm water on [the] rooftop and use the balcony to irrigate the vegetable garden.”
When it comes to water, the mottos of the sponge city are: “Retain, adapt, slow down and reuse.”
“One thing I learned is to slow down the process of drainage. All the modern industrial techniques and engineering solution is to drain water away after the flood as fast of possible. So, modern tech is to speed up the drainage but ancient wisdom, which has adapted in the monsoonal season, was to slow down the drainage so the water will not be destructive anymore. By slowing the water it can nurture the habitat and biodiversity.” …
As Yu says, it’s important to “make friends with water”. “We don’t use concrete or hard engineering, we use terraces, learned from ancient peasantry wisdom. We irrigate. Then the city will be floodable and will survive during the flood. We can remove concrete and make a water protection system a living system.”
This week, selected items and observations from a short trip to Victoria.
Back in 2016, Dan Ross reported on Victoria’s first protected bike lane on Pandora Street here. Since then, as reported here, the City has moved towards a complete active transportation network in the core – notably on Fort Street, just now nearing completion.
While I didn’t have a chance to get on a bike and explore it all, here are some shots which demonstrate the commitment the City is making:
Pandora at Government
Pandora looking west to new Johnson Street Bridge
Fort Street lane waiting to open
Frontage lane at 525 Superior Street – a new provincial government office building
Inside the building, there are large bike rooms with lockers – but the designers provided parking capacity based on counts of use in other buildings with departments that were consolidated in this new one. Guess what? With better facilities, the numbers of cyclists so increased that the architects are trying to figure out to repurpose space for the demand.
Another lesson: this nicely designed bike ramp in the centre of the stairs leading to the bike rooms isn’t used all that much. There’s a car ramp immediately to the left, and cyclists use it instead of having to dismount and carry their bike up the stair ramp.
Another city that is really facing the housing squeeze is Hong Kong as reported in this New York Times article that describes five ways to deal with housing shortages. Price Tags Vancouver has already discussed the usage of drain pipe as temporary downtown apartment units in Hong Kong. Besides drain pipe as housing, other ideas such as “the return of the tenements” “building to the sky”, the use of cruise ships and the use of industrial port spaces are also being discussed.
How expensive is Hong Kong? “A single parking spot sold for $664,000 last year. Apartments only slightly bigger, and in much less desirable parts of town, go for more than $380,000. Living spaces have shrunk so much that a new term has emerged: “nano flat,” for apartments measuring around 200 square feet or less. Many Hong Kongers have been priced out of the housing market, including young people forced to live with their parents. Their discontent is said to have contributed to recent street protests like the 2014 Umbrella Movement.”
While the government has charged a task force with considering potential housing options, the return of “tong lau” the tenements that used to exist before the advent of highrises are making a comeback. Renamed and repurposed as “Bibliotheque” tiny bedroom units of 50 square feet per unit share common bathrooms and kitchens, like a college dormitory. With rents at $450 to $750 a month these mini units attract mainly young residents.
Another idea is buttressing existing residential buildings and going higher, changing buildings from 25 stories to much higher buildings. Seoul Korea has faced similar pressure but bureaucrats note that above 35 stories the quality of life and connections for residents seem to decrease. Repurposing cruise ships for apartments and adding artificial islands off Hong Kong is also under consideration as well as repurposing the Port of Hong Kong’s 900 acres to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people. Hong Kong has already constructed port residential developments in the Taikoo Shing housing project built on the former Swire Company dockyards. This development on 8. 5 acres has 61 residential towers and houses nearly 37,000 residents according to 2011 figures. But there is a cautionary tale~the median monthly rent in the rental units in Taikoo Shing is $18,000 to $35,000 Hong Kong Dollars for units that range from 585 square feet to 1,237 square feet.