Archive for April, 2008

Leinberger: U.S. Needs Vancouver Model

Chris Leinberger – the Shifting Gears speaker at 7 pm on April 25 at the Segal Business School (Granville and Pender) – has penned an article for The Tyee.

The Vancouver metro area has taken huge steps in showing the U.S. a means by which to build a more sustainable future. The proposed investment in transit over the next decade is yet another sign that you will continue to provide a model. However, there is much more to do. Please do not dawdle; the U.S. needs you to help show us the way.


April 25, 2008 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

Take a tour to 31 countries with Michael Geller….

Geller brings back lessons for Vancouver from his nine-month journey around the world… the video now.

April 22, 2008 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Next Level of Urban Achievement in Vancouver?



The Question – Still More Answers (10-12)

Still more recommendations and responses to Jesse’s question:

Michael Geller:

I would encourage a student in high school and university to study art, geography, and how to think creatively. I order to succeed in the latter, (s)he should read as much Edward de Bono as possible!

Michael von Hausen

Best to take art to learn how to draw, geography and socials to understand the physical and social dynamics of cities, math for basic understanding of quantitative measurement of cities. Science can help too, especially biology to understand nature in the city.

Matt Flynn in San Francisco says:

English – writing of all types, including business writing (spelling, grammar, vocabulary) and (memo, contract, letter, emails, etc)
Drawing – both artistic and drafting ( most people have not developed their hand drawing skills these days)
Computer Programs- Sketch-up, all of Adobe Suite, all of Microsoft Office (or similar) and Auto-cad
Design – Graphic, Photo, and Web
Marketing – Many issues are similar to outreach approaches in Urban Design projects
Travel – Study abroad, learn your area and details, photo library of places you know (this will be useful as you build it longterm)
Study – Take The Simon Fraser “City Program”

April 8, 2008 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

Stanley Kwok, Paradise Maker – the Rees Summary

Once again, Stephen Rees has posted a summary of the interview with architect and developer Stanley Kwok, as part of the Paradise Makers series – April 4, 2008

You can read it here on Stephen’s blog.

April 7, 2008 at 11:53 am Leave a comment

The Question – Answers 6-9

More responses to Jesse’s question:

Harry Harker in Red Deer:

My 2 cents of advice is … Take a fine arts course or two that teach sketching, use of color, and working with landscapes; add to that or balance that with sciences that allow the student to better understand the “hard side” of the urban world; and lastly get a good grounding in history and geography so the meaning and importance of “place” can be appreciated early on.

Terry Crowe in Richmond, BC:

Speed reading, typing, public speaking, negotiating, writing, editing, strategic planning, visioning, urban land economics, planning, statistics.

Marilee Hill:

I think language and public speaking abilities are very important.

Alastair Kerr:

As for high school courses, there are the obvious ones: geography, art and even some construction courses to know how buildings work. Oh, and did I mention English?

Scot Hein:

Focus on the visual arts and learn how to draw (everyone can be taught). Travel and observation (seeing vs looking) through photography and sketching is essential. All towards landscape architecture as the best place to pursue urban design interests (Allan Jacobs has written extensively about this). Also, get involved in civic discussions. Attend charrettes and zoning meetings. Visit an architect. Here is an interesting website by a close friend that may also be of interest (I invited her up for a City Programme event many years ago).
Surf the net on “built environment education” for lots of other stuff.

April 4, 2008 at 4:54 pm Leave a comment

The Question – Answer 2-5

In response to Jesse’s question:

Mark Holland recommends:

– Urban geography or geography of any type
– Economics of any sort
– Governance / comparative government / political science of any typ

Martin Thomas suggests:

Firstly the 15 year old boy/girl needs a few extra English courses, especially report writing, as he /she will be compiling proposals and writing reports for public and municipal councils PLUS get involved with a debating group as public speaking is a great plus as many people today can not stand up in front of folk and talk. If you wish to take this up a notch from basics…

Next 3 years: summer jobs as a “go-for” in an office. Example in a planning department, environmental firm or an urban design /engineering company
University years: planning courses, environmental courses, writing courses, plus any urban design courses, and to top it off a course on the municipal act now known as the community act.

Doug Paterson, UBC, says:

I belive that urban design is an interdisciplinary activity; it requires the knowledge and talents of many different professionals. As such, an individual can come to the table to discuss what makes a “better designed” city from urban economics; sociology; ecology; architecture, landscape architecture and planning; philosophy, etc.

To reduce urban design to the design a pleasant streets, pretty plazas, etc, is little more than a confused, simplistic version of the role of the landscape architects in the discussion – something most landscape architects understand but others apparently don’t.
(This is not a rant)

Lisa Berg, Senior Land Use & Community Planner, has the following to say:

I would recommend looking through the course requirements for the various university programs offered. Look at the prerequisites for first getting into the university, and then look at the specific courses tailored for the urban design/planning program. Core high school topics to match up could include: geography, economics, political science, English, computer studies (GIS), social studies, English, law, etc. It all boils down to having the necessary prerequisites to getting into the planning school in the first place. Once you’re in university, you really start tailoring it there. If possible, attend a career day at a local university or college.

Depending on the type of degree you are thinking of pursuing, you may want to focus on sciences for a BSc (Math, biology, chemistry, geography, ecology) or for a BA you may need things like Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, English, Canadian Gov’t and law, etc. I took a variety of all of these at both the college level (first year university transfer type science courses) and then was able to move right into the planning program at my chosen university. In high school I focused on English, French, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Art, Social Studies and Western Civilization. I ended up with a BSc in Environmental Planning from UNBC, a diploma in GIS from the College of New Caledonia, and the SFU Urban Design diploma. If you are looking specifically at urban design, you should also look at taking graphics courses, art classes or other design or drawing courses. I found having a bit of an art background helped in the planning design courses I

Other tips that I found very helpful during my studies were being able to type well & being a good writer (lots of essays & take home exams to write in university!), being a good reader (lots & lots of reading!) and to be
comfortable speaking in front of an audience (lots of presentations!) and group settings (lots of group work!). Being a good presenter and being able to get up in front of a crowd at a public meeting or a public hearing and delivering information is essential in the real world. If you have a fear of public speaking, conquering it now will benefit you tremendously in the future!! As well, when hiring new planners, we look for people that are confident, good writers, good public speakers and know how to work as part of a team.
Good luck!

April 4, 2008 at 4:41 pm 2 comments

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