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Monday News Roundup

Jan 18, 2010

Accessibility vs. Mobility Redux (Planetizen)In planning work, mobility is often wrongly assumed to mean automobile usage. Mobility is just about “moving people and goods from place to place” by any mode. Accessibility means that something is “easily approached, entered, obtainable or obtained.” That’s why we work so hard to provide multi-modal Accessibilty to our Mobility Hub designs.

Obama Administration Proposes Major Public Transportation Policy Shift to Highlight Livability (FTA) Ray La Hood issues a promise at this year’s Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting that the new round of Federal New Starts projects will be judged by their contribution to livability and environmental benefits rather than just shorter commute times (a Bush administration policy), making way for transit projects to better respond to their land use context. Hooray!

Turning sewage into heat in Vancouver (Planetizen) Thursday, the switch was flipped on a generator that will serve the heating needs of 16,000 residents of the Olympic Village in Vancouver. The generator transforms sewage into heat. We are really excited that our early planning work for a sustainable Southeast False Creek has now transformed from vision to reality in the opening of the district’s sewage heat recovery plant.

Amazing photographs of cities (from dangerous heights) (Urbanophile)Stunning photos from an urban photographer, whose site “No Promise of Safety” is aptly named. Although this photographer tends to use graffitti at these sites, here is another link to a photographer who shoots “the often forgotten and abandoned history of the city of …

by Jen Kenefick, VIA ArchitecturePart 1: Pre Olympics

When one thinks of the Winter Olympic Games, Ireland is not a country that would be at the forefront of one’s mind. This is not particularly surprising. We have a more unpleasant version of the weather in Vancouver, where seasons are not so well defined and where most precipitation falls as rain! So it stands to reason: no snow, no winter sports.

Having said that, Ireland has entered a team (small though it may be) in the Winter Olympics ever since the 1992 Games in Albertville, France and this year is no different. There will possibly be up to 8 Irish athletes competing in Vancouver in events such as bobsleigh, skeleton bobsleigh, slalom and cross country skiing.

Since arriving in Vancouver last June, it has been hard to avoid talk of the Olympics. Every time you pick up a paper or watch the news, there is something about it. And why wouldn’t there be? The Winter Olympics is a huge global sporting event.

Being at home for the Christmas Holidays, I was interested to see how much coverage of the Games there would be in the media. During the almost 2 weeks I was home, I cannot recall any. But people were definitely aware of it. Almost everyone I talked to mentioned it at some stage in conversation about Vancouver.

I guess a ‘foreign perspective’ depends largely on said foreigner’s …

Monday News Roundup

Jan 12, 2010

We’re starting a new feature where every Monday, we’ll do a post on news or other blog posts that we found interesting from the past week.

Architecture Doesn’t Hide Bad Planning in Dubai (Planetizen)An article from the Chicago Tribute that discusses the magnificent buildings and creations in Dubai, but the lack of an urban connectivity.

Adobe Headquarters Installs 20 Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (Inhabitat)“The electricity generated from the turbines will eventually power an electric vehicle charging station in the garage below”

Deep Walkability (WorldChanging)“The true test of walkability I think is this: Can you spend a pleasant half hour walking or on transit and end up at a variety of great places? The quality of having a feast of options available when you walk out your front door is what I’m starting to think of as “deep walkability.””

Fed-Up Commuter Fixes Freeway Sign Himself (Planetizen)Great recounting of a Los Angeles commuter/artist who became fed up with poor freeway signage, and designed, constructed, and installed changes to the sign himself.

It takes a community to sustain a small farm (Grist)“as anyone who has ever raised grain or livestock can tell you, the farmer is not the only person in the chain of players from her farm to your fork. In addition to producers, your food chain includes processors, distributors or transporters, and retailers. In other words, to have a truly local food system, we also need local butchers, bakers and millers, local truck drivers, local grocers, and a …

If you only started reading our blog recently, here are the top 10 most popular posts from last year that you may have missed:

  1. The case to abort LRT (in Vancouver) – a newspaper clipping saved from 1982 that talks about the new SkyTrain system coming to Vancouver, and why the government should “scrap” the system and go back to more conventional methods.
  2. Rethinking Highest and Best Use – discussion of cycles of urban decline, the decay of neighborhoods, and how urban agriculture can help.
  3. Uptown, meet your old neighbor, South Lake Union – 3 projects that are changing these two neighborhoods; Mercer Street, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Alaskan Way Viaduct (SR99) Bored Tunnel)
  4. New Meaning to Eating Local – Why low income neighborhoods suffer from higher levels of obesity
  5. How Green is your Transit System? – Architects designing transit systems sustainably have few guidelines to follow today.
  6. Conscious Consumers — one staff members goal to reduce her impact on the environment (after watching “No Impact Man”)
  7. Less Carbon, More Footprints – a discussion of walking in cities and a review of the Walk21 conference
  8. Vancouver Streetcar: We’ve Missed You – The history of the streetcar and the possibilities of reintroducing it to Vancouver
  9. The Salvation of our Environment Lies at the Feet of the Poor – A discussion about giving the poor full rights over the illegal properties they live on (discussion based on ideas of Paul Hawken)
  10. EcoDistricts 101 – the What, Why and Hows …

As we begin 2010, here are some of our memorable moments from 2009: