Design & Development
June 7, 2016

Food In the City

Harvest Urban Farms is underway in Vancouver, with this location at 950 E Cordova. It’s the former site of Pilkington’s Metal Marine fabricating and machine shop.

Harvest are working on growing kale, arugula, cress, beets, radish, ruby mizuna and ruby streaks, using LED lighting and advanced hydroponics, among other technologies.

And Harvest have plans for a piece of a large development now at hole-in-the-ground construction stage at 900 E Hastings. (basically south across the alley from 950 E Cordova).  Harvest plans to eventually incorporate their farm, a market, café and education centre into the complex.

This complex, known to its developers (Wall Financial) as ” Heatley at Strathcona Village” features 283 condos (sold out) with a (baffling) “luxury industrial aesthetic”, and “harbor-container” inspired structure.

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Quite a story here, based on a court action against the Yaletown Business Improvement Association brought April 2, 2016 by local business owners who didn’t like the Yaletown Farmers Market blocking their street (Mainland) and reducing parking one day a week from May to October. But the market now has a new and better location — the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza.

According to Eric MacKenzie in 24 Hours.

VFM had to abandon its previous Thursday location at 1200 Mainland St. earlier this year after several area businesses filed a BC Supreme Court petition requesting the market be moved to reduce negative impacts to nearby storefronts.

I’m pleased to see the QE Plaza as home to fresh fruit & veg, artisan treats, sausages and chocolate — among a wide variety of other things. Including this coffee vendor, who told me that he “…bikes his work to work” (Green Coast Craft Coffee).

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Jane Jacobs, urbanist and author, believed in walkable neighbourhoods, urban literacy, and cities planned by and for everybody.

We celebrate Jane’s birthday every year by leading and tagging along on Jane’s Walks. You create a walking tour of an area you’d like to talk about or celebrate and people sign up for it. It’s less of a lecture and more of a walking conversation. Leaders share their knowledge, but also encourage discussion and participation among the walkers. The whole thing is free.
It could also be a jogging tour or a bicycling tour or a skateboarding tour…
The one hour orientation session is Monday April 25 from 5:30-6:30pm at the Mount Pleasant Community Library.
Jane’s Walks, now in its 9th year, are held Friday-Sunday, May 6, 7, or 8 in 2016.
 

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From the Daily Scot:

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I’ve been keeping my eye on the long-neglected and forgotten rust-belt cities of the U.S. for awhile now.  You know the ones: Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Detroit and the like.  With the trend of Millennials flocking in numbers to inner-city ‘hoods over the suburbs, I figured it was only a matter of time before they seek out the cheaper, gritty, post-industrial cities once considered the powerhouses of the nation.
The draws are many: cheap real estate and rents, great historic architecture, and walkable districts with great bones crying out for some love.  Judging from this article and video, Cleveland is one of those Rust Belt towns enjoying the spotlight once again and it appears Restaurants are the catalyst.

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I think these days you’re finding our developers lead at the ground floor with the restaurant, and everything fills out around it. Retail these days, as we all know because of the Internet, is a fairly precarious proposition ….

Rendering of a new Cleveland restaurant part of a mixed-use infill development.   (The Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties).  Located along a new river boardwalk, the building will spill out onto a massive ground-level patio adjacent to boat-docking areas.  A rooftop-seating area will also provide al fresco dining.

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According to the author, Cleveland has embraced the “foodie” culture as more and more millennials moved downtown. Jobs and apartments are following close behind, spurring a development wave.  Again, it comes back to affordability, something we are severely struggling with here in Vancouver:

The kids that left Cleveland to be educated somewhere else would stay in Chicago, they’d go to San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York. Now those people are coming back to Cleveland. That’s the future,” said Bruell. “Look at what the cost of living in Cleveland is. It’s really affordable, and there is a sophistication here that exists in those markets, so you can practice your craft here and maybe buy a house, save some money and raise a family, which would be very difficult there.

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A pedestrian-only street in Downtown Cleveland home to series of bars and eateries.

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The Lower Mainland seems to be experiencing the opposite flow as young families and professionals are leaving the area for other locales, perhaps the Canadian version of a post-industrial town that can reinvent itself.  Hamilton, Windsor

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Here, from the New York Times, is the latest of several recent articles that report how obesity is leveling off in the States:
Americans Are Finally Eating Less

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Calories consumed daily by the typical American adult, which peaked around 2003, are in the midst of their first sustained decline since federal statistics began to track the subject, more than 40 years ago. The number of calories that the average American child takes in daily has fallen even more — by at least 9 percent. …

In the most striking shift, the amount of full-calorie soda drunk by the average American has dropped 25 percent since the late 1990s.

After rising for decades, calorie consumption has declined in recent years as public attitudes have shifted.

Why?

There is no single moment when American attitudes toward eating changed, but researchers point to a 1999 study as a breakthrough. That year, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association that turned into something of a blockbuster.

The paper included bright blue maps illustrating worsening obesity rates in the 1980s and 1990s in all 50 states. Researchers knew the obesity rate was rising, but Dr. Ali Mokdad, the paper’s lead author, said that when he presented the maps at conferences, even the experts were gasping.

A year later, he published another paper, with a similar set of maps, showing a related explosion in diabetes diagnoses. “People became more aware of it in a very visual and impactful way,” said Hank Cardello, a former food industry executive who is now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative policy center. “That created a lot of attention and concern.”

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Shortly afterward, the surgeon general, Dr. David Satcher, issued a report — “Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity” — modeled on the famous 1964 surgeon general’s report on tobacco. The 2001 report summarized the increasing evidence that obesity was a risk factor for several chronic diseases, and said controlling children’s weight should be a priority, to prevent the onset of obesity-related illnesses….

Slowly, the messages appear to have sunk in with the public.

However …

The recent calorie reductions appear to be good news, but they, alone, will not be enough to reverse the obesity epidemic. A paper by Kevin Hall, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, estimated that for Americans to return to the body weights of 1978 by 2020, an average adult would need to reduce calorie consumption by 220 calories a day. The recent reductions represent just a fraction of that change.

“This was like a freight train going downhill without brakes,” Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, said. “Anything slowing it down is good.”

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From Scot Bathgate:

My buddy Garet Robinson lives in a rental with his partner on the corner of Alberta & 15th in Mount Pleasant.  He decided to convert the front lawn along Alberta into a garden for him and the other tenants.

Here’s what happened.

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Hey buddy, here are  a few pics of the garden as it’s progressed over the last couple months.

I started out just wanting to build a couple garden boxes for myself and Sarah to grow some veggies for the summer. Then my friend Kate (who lives down the street) mentioned she really wanted to grow some veggies but she lives in an apartment and has no space. I offered her some space on our front lawn to have one garden box.

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So Kate’s boyfriend Dave and myself spent a saturday afternoon building three 4′ x 8′ boxes of reclaimed cedar I got from a friend. As we were building the boxes that day, one of our neighbors in a coach house next to us says she doesnt get any light and she would love to have a box on our front yard as well. I then asked all of the tenants in our building (its an old heritage house duplex with six suites) as well and several people were interested in getting involved. It quickly turned into a little local community garden.

I got the go ahead from the landlord and we ended up building a total of seven raised garden boxes with 12 people being involved. And it was everyones first time having a veggie garden!

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It’s been phenomenal, everyone planted seeds about 4-5 weeks ago and pretty much everything has come up.

 

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It’s been awesome getting to know everybody, alot of us didnt know eachother previously. I’ve also met a lot of our neighbors as well, as so many people have stopped to chat when we are working in the garden. The garden has been an amazing catalyst for community connection that I didnt expect.

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I also have signs up for my woodworking business, to build garden boxes for people and we’ve had a couple orders come in from people walking by.

It’s been such an awesome experience starting these gardens!

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From Planning Institute of B.C. Chapters: South Coast & Fraser Valley –
Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation: Planning for the future of food in BC
May 7, 2013 – 6:00pm-8:30pm
SFU Surrey Campus, Rooms 3340 & 3090
250 – 13450 102 Avenue
Surrey, BC
Come hear local experts and stakeholders discuss current and anticipated impacts from climate change on agriculture in BC.  Learn what can be done to adapt and how local government planners are involved.  Recent research findings on this topic from the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative will be presented, followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A.
6:00-6:30pm – Pre-event social, with refreshments and coffee/tea (Room 3340)
6:30-8:30pm – Presentations, panel discussion, Q&A (Room 3090)

  • Angela Danyluk, Senior Environmental Officer, Corporation of Delta
  • Bill Vanderkooi, President of Bakerview EcoDairy and CEO, Nutriva Group
  • Erica Crawford, Adaptation Planner, BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative and Sustainability Solutions Group
  • Ted van der Gulik, Senior Engineer, Ministry of Agriculture
  • Theresa Duynstee, P.Ag, Regional Planner, Metro Vancouver
  • Moderator: Terry Lyster, Planning Consultant; former Director of Planning for the Township of Langley

Attendees must register in advance. Payment at the door.
*Note: All attendees will receive $5 off their entry fee for taking transit or carpooling to the event.
PIBC Members $25 ($20 with transit discount) / Non Members $30 ($25 with transit discount) / Students: $20 ($15 with transit discount). 
CPL / CPD Learning Units:  2.0
To register in advance please call or email April Ternida at the PIBC office at 604-696-5031, toll-free at 1-866-696-5031 or office@pibc.bc.ca

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Better! Cities & Towns features a prototype cottage for “Southlands” – the so-far frustrated proposal for what is still known as the Spetifore lands in Tsawwassen.  The removal of these lands (map here) from the ALR and the subsequent proposals constitute a development saga unparalleled in the Lower Mainland.  The battle even resulted in the removal of planning powers from the GVRD by an annoyed Municipal Affairs minister with the name of Vander Zalm when the regional board refused to allow a rezoning for standard residential subdivision.

However, developer Sean Hodgins’s vision, based on the Duany plan for an agricultural community, struggles on:

A cottage has been built in the Southlands, an “agrarian urbanism” development on a 538-acre tract near Vancouver, British Columbia. The unit is a prototype for pocket neighborhoods — or “cottage courtyards” — clusters of homes gathered around a landscaped common area, to be built in the project, planned in 2008 by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.

The 1,190 square foot cottage is geared towards more affordable housing “that meets the shrinking family household size and lifestyle needs of both starter families and aging empty-nesters,” according to Smallworks Studios, the builder.

Robert Steuteville, in reviewing Garden Cities, Andres Duany’s book on ‘agrarian urbanism,’ reveals how that eight-day Southlands charrette in 2008 contributed to the development of this still-relevant idea – no doubt leading to more chapters to come.

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The burghers of Drummondville, apparently.

It comes down to this simple formulation: Grass good! Vegetables bad. We’ve heard one too many stories in which people decide to use their yards to grow some fresh vegetables, only to have city officials come down hard on them, forcing them to tear out their food or bulldozing the gardens themselves. If building a few bike lanes counts as a war on cars, this is definitely a war on gardens.

The latest skirmish took place in Drummondville, Quebec, where Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp built what supporters describe as “a gorgeous and meticulously-maintained edible landscape full of healthy fruits and vegetables.” …   The town’s given the couple only two weeks to pull out their carefully planted veggies.

Thanks to Matt Foulger.

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Eric Hess at Sightline critiques street food policy in Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.  We have a ways to go before the former catches up with the latter.  For instance, about Vancouver:

Officials credit early success to the minimization of red tape. And it’s true that Vancouver’s regulations are less restrictive than before: the city’s efforts to both designate sidewalk stalls and allow vendors to find their own locations make it easy for carts to launch quickly, while not overly limiting locations. Crucially, city officials have expressed interest in lifting restrictions outside downtown—perhaps even lifting the ban on vending from private property.

But unless the city changes its official plans, in five years, the city will have introduced only 100 carts, fewer than Portland added in 2010 alone. Why limit the number of vendors at all? This year, over 50 applicants sought just a dozen permits. Vancouver can close the cart gap with Portland by lifting the cap and letting vendors hit the streets.

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