The Question – Answer (1)

April 4, 2008 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

Frank Ducote is the first to respond to Jesse’s Question:

Jesse –

Why wait until later? Start now being a critic of urbanism and places right here in one of the best learning labs in the world – Vancouver. Select a few cool and not so cool places in the city and try to understand what makes them good, comfortable and supportive of human use and enjoyment – or not.

Also suggest ideas for improving or repairing such places – before and after diagrams, doodles and thumbnail sketches. You can draw right on photos to show your ideas.

Keep a sketchbook to record your thoughts and ideas. Keep good notes. Learn how to estimate distances and heights by pacing things off. Ask yourself, can people’s feelings and interactions be enhanced through changes to their physical setting?

Also, go to the library and read a few key books on this subject, even if they may seem to be over your head now. I’d start with Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” Then maybe Kevin Lynch’s “Image of the City.”

(Great simple tools for note-taking.) Start a small library of your own. Go online to and Gordon Price’s Price Tags and other blogs to read what’s going on. Read Trevor Boddy’s articles in the Globe & Mail, online for free.

Finally and importantly, attend free public lectures at SFU Downtown!

Last, develop a philosophy about what makes a city, neighbourhood, park or place “good”. Write it down. Keep learning from the world around you and from those who think about this subject for a living, and also from those who don’t.

Good luck,

Frank Ducote



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The Question The Question – Answer 2-5

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