Archive for February, 2011

Linked up: Housing and Transportation and Health

Coming up this month:

Announcing on behalf of the Health and Community Design Collaborative**…

HOUSING + TRANSPORTATION + HEALTH:  Making the Links – an interactive workshop.  MARCH 31, 2011

Please save the date – Registration information coming soon

Date & Time:  Thursday, March 31, 2011, 9am to 4pm.   No cost to participate and lunch is included.  Full-Day and Half-Day registration will be available.

Location:  To be announced.  (In Metro Vancouver)

The number of ‘affordable’ neighbourhoods and communities drops when the definition of affordability shifts from a focus on housing costs alone to one that includes housing and transportation costs.  What does this mean in the Lower Mainland?  What are the implications for energy, equity, health, etc.?  What can we collectively do about it?

Morning (9-12): Learn from keynote speaker Scott Bernstein (Centre for Neighbourhood Technology, Chicago) about economic, health, and environmental costs of housing + transportation, and implications for policy and action. Scott led the development of the Housing + Transportation affordability index that is applied to all US metropolitan areas.   A local panel of professionals in the areas of health, transportation and housing areas will bring a local and regional perspective to the issues.  Workshop participants will engage in a practical, lively and moderated dialogue.

Afternoon (1-4):  To create neighbourhoods with housing and transportation affordability we need multiple strategies and collaborative planning among government, various agencies, and sectors.  Learn about some tools and examples, from public health in particular, to help collaboration.  Meet new colleagues and allies.  Work on a group exercise to develop strategies for planning and partnerships that link housing + transportation + health.

Note:   Participants are eligible for PIBC continuing education credits.

**The Health & Community Design Collaborative is a new, growing and evolving group formed to support the development of healthy, low-carbon communities across the Lower Mainland. Includes Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health, Metro Vancouver, Translink, UBC Active Transportation Lab, various municipalities.


February 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

How can businesses help create a better society?

An exciting public forum on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 from 2:30pm – 4:30pm at the Vancouver Japanese Language School Hall, 475 Alexander Street.

It will include a panel discussion with presentations:

Ross Gentleman from Tradeworks Training Society will speak about the RONA Fabshop.

Louise Schwarz from Recycling Alternative will talk about hiring from the inner-city, green jobs and the benefits of values.

Mark Brand from Save-on-Meats will talk about hiring from inner city, supporting community, social enterprise and Business Improvement Associations.

Elizabeth Lougheed Green from Vancity Community Foundation will speak about the role of social enterprise in building a healthy community.

Shirley Chan from Building Opportunities with Business will give examples of how businesses can help create a better society.

Jim Frankish (Centre for Population Health Promotion Research at the University of British Columbia) will present research findings
related to the 2010 Olympics and the private sector.

The Forum will touch briefly on a UBC research study of the 2010  Olympics that focused on the possible impacts of mega-events (like
the Olympics) on community health.  Our findings suggest a link  between the private sector, social responsibility and the health of a community.   The main intent of the Forum is to have a forward-looking discussion of ongoing work, existing opportunities and possible future directions for business involvement in creating a healthier Vancouver.

To register for this free event, go here.

February 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

The 15 Principles of Green Urbanism

Steffen Lehmann has just published a new book – The Principles of Green Urbanism: Transforming the City for Sustainability – that …

… offers a conceptual model and a framework for how we might be able to tackle the enormous challenge of transforming existing neighborhoods, districts and communities, and how we can re-think the way we design, build and operate in future our urban settlements.

Well, the words are well-intentioned. But better than that are the pictures in a slide show featured in Next American City.

And what’s nice about the slide show is that it begins with an example of city that may seem familiar:

For all the images and principles, go here.

February 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

Calthorpe on Urbanism and Climate Change

Architect Peter Calthorpe – who spoke at City Program lecture in 2006 – has a new book out: “Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change”. 

The urban solution involves both technology and design. For example, we will need to dramatically reduce the number of miles we drive as well as develop less carbon intensive vehicles. It will mean living and working in buildings that demand significantly less energy as well as powering them with renewable sources. It will involve the kinds of food we eat, the kinds of homes we build, the ways we travel, and the kinds of communities we inhabit.

It will certainly involve giving up the idea of any single “silver bullet” solution (whether solar or nuclear, conservation or carbon capture, adaptation or mitigation) and understand that such a transformation will involve all of the above–and, perhaps most important, that they are all interdependent.

 Click here for the full interview.

February 18, 2011 at 9:59 am Leave a comment

Origins of Urban Design

Witold Rybczynski, in his latest book – Makeshift Metropolis – explains:

A watershed event in the history of American city planning occurred in 1956 when the University of Pennsylvania inaugurated a joint degree program in city planning and architecture. The goal was to educate professionals who could bridge the gap that had grown up between city planners, who were increasingly concerned with large-scale urban policy, and architects, who tended to focus on individual buildings. 

Henry Wright, the former partner of Clarence Stein and the codesigner of Radburn, helped draft the proposal: “The need, the urgent need, now exists for a designer with a broad vision, with understanding of the life of the city and these times, and above all with unusual skill in composing buildings in relation to each other and to their natural setting and to the activities of the city.”

The new discipline came to be known as urban design. 

Urban designers deal with collections of buildings, such as downtown business districts, residential neighbourhoods, planned communities, town centers, and college campuses.  While they are often architects, urban designers don’t design individual buildings.  Instead, they plan the public spaces between buildings – avenues, streets, squares, promenades, and parks – and establish general guidelines, such as setbacks, heights, and other rules that govern how buildings relate to one another.

February 15, 2011 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

Lecture: Genetically Modified Organisms

Food security has emerged as one of the top items on the sustainability agenda.  So you might be interested in this lecture:

The new SFU Institute for Values in Policy and Science opening event:

“Policy in the Face of Complexity and Deep Uncertainty: Genetically Modified Organisms” 
Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 7pm

Dr. Sandra Mitchell
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh 

Segal Centre, 555 Hastings Street SFU Harbour Centre Room 1400
Light refreshments at 6:30pm. Please RSVP at

How will genetically modified organisms impact biological diversity? How should we set human policies for global climate? The risks, unknown factors, and complexities challenge the traditional ‘predict and act’ models of policy making. This lecture suggests strategies for managing unknowns and setting reasonable policies.

February 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

“I actually was a Canadian”

So begins Mia Birk’s story. 

Mia spoke at an SFU City Program event on January 27 – Joyride – her personal story, her relationship with cycling, and what she’s done to help transform our world.

 She’s a wonderfully engaging speaker and has a very personal and meaningful story to tell.  Mia starts at 12.10.

You can link to it here.

The evening was sponsored by Urban Systems and TravelSmart.

February 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment

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