Photosynthesis is the process by which trees absorb CO2 and produce wood, leaves and oxygen. The process reverses at night. Trees release carbon dioxide when the majority of the urban population is asleep. A question has always intrigued me: Do urban trees make a measurable difference in the neighbourhood environment?
Height: 4 stories
Density: 80 units/acre
Supported Quartier Population: 21,000
Last June the Provincial Legislature changed the law making it legal to build row houses for the first time in British Columbia. The photos here are part of a Canada-wide survey completed between 2011 and 2013 of just this building type presented at various conferences and lectures. Two conclusions bubble to the surface. First, it is possible to achieve high-density — in the order of 100 units per acre — using fee-simple, human-scale product. Second, the quartiers or neighbourhoods that result are highly supportive of social functioning. They present values of community and values of place lacking in both the Modern suburbs and tower neighbourhoods.
Toronto at its worst, not Vancouver at its best!
Vancouver’s best suburban mall is proposing towers in a BIG way. This is towerization at its worst! The project is a gigantic set of ‘spaceships’ that really belong in outer space… Or the moon. But not in our neighbourhoods! The profits are so large that they will hack our democratic process. This blow is one from which the neighbourhood will not recover. The streets and the intersection will be lost forever. Continue reading
Are not the parallels with the past century remarkable? While World War does not seem eminent, it is doubtful that one hundred years ago the political meltdown
that ensued in the west was on the (not yet discovered) radar screen.
Participants in MTP (Mount Pleasant) Walking Tour — 6 may 2012
[Photo: Stephen Bohus, BLA]
Vancouver, and North America, are experiencing a shift in planning paradigm from automobile-driven suburban development to human-scale neighbourhoods. One century after the shift to Modernism we are once more in a moment of change. What we all knew as status quo is being replaced by something new. Old places are being renewed through incremental redevelopment. However, other places are experiencing change that is highly disruptive.
Snowy Eve in Mount Pleasant (MTP), Vancouver
Dear Will Lin,
If you want to construct a high-rise [luxury] condo may I suggest you look elsewhere? If you want to build in our vibrant district known for its artists, coffee shops, heritage buildings and leafy street scape, may I suggest you fit-in instead? Continue reading
Broadway & the Lee Building in Snow
In 2009 the giant billboard crowning the Lee Building was ordered removed by City Council as part of a city-wide scrubbing of 300 billboards deemed to be in violation of city by-laws. A previous Council acting in a somewhat different vein had designated the Bowmac sign, 1.5 miles west along Broadway, as a heritage structure. Uneven policy between east and west is an ongoing rift in our city.
It may come as a surprise to hear arguments to preserve the iconicity of an odd-shaped and over-scaled advertising mega-structure. However, in the contemporary world we do well to take our icons of place where we find them, or risk erecting fakes in their place. Why not turn the Lee Building sign into an art installation space instead? Continue reading