Urban agriculture exploding in Vancouver

As our cities grew and our housing settlements changed, we began to separate the places where we live from the places where food is grown. The average North American food item now travels 1,500 kilometres to reach the grocery store shelves.

The quest for a more sustainable way of living is taking aim at this separation of people and food with a commitment to urban agriculture. There are few places in North America where urban agriculture is exploding as fast as it is in the Vancouver area.

The urban agricultural movement promises a new vision where people are living in harmony with the lands and ecosystems around them. Urban agriculture invites food production back into our communities through innovative planning and design.

Source – Vancouver Sun – Urban agriculture exploding in Vancouver by Bob Ransford

Can eco-density be beautiful? – Crosscut Seattle

Can eco-density be beautiful? By Adele Weder

Vancouver, B.C. wrestles with how to make new buildings and greater density produce better, less uniform architecture. It turns out nobody has a very clear image of what that would look like.

…..Nobody has a clue what an eco-dense city will actually look like — or even what we want it to look like. New York? Shanghai? Disneyland?

At this and other eco-density public hearings, presenter and star eco-densifier Peter Busby has brandished a freshly produced, beautiful little booklet entitled mdash; what else? mdash; “Busby on Eco-Density,” as he offered an impassioned manifesto. The booklet contains clear and attractive illustrations of what Vancouver might “look like” under varying degrees of eco-density mdash; but in the abstract.

Source: Crosscut Seattle – Can eco-density be beautiful?.

Editors Note: The article is well written and well worth the read

UIC release Sustainable Urbanism Guide

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s City Design Center has produced a 96-page electronic publication illustrating ideas for green development in Garfield Park as a case study for use by Chicago neighborhoods and individuals.

“Green Schemes: Sustainable Urbanism for Garfield Park” presents 80 concepts such as filtration gardens, narrowed roadways, and an elevated bikeway adjacent to the Green Line tracks. Graduate students and faculty in urban planning, architecture and landscape architecture conceived the schemes in five studios taught at UIC’s City Design Center.

Their designs for urban agriculture, public ways, building technology, manufacturing, transportation and other planning elements address four scales of development: building, street, neighborhood, and the two-square-mile community.

“Green Schemes” shows that planners, architects and landscape architects can make green design feasible by collaborating, said Susanne Schnell, research assistant professor in the City Design Center.

“We generated ideas that we call ‘park-centric’ by working with landscape architecture faculty from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,” Schnell said. “Some ideas might be demonstrated in pilot projects with city departments, and all are intended to inspire greater dialogue about green design in Chicago neighborhoods.”

Source: UIC News Release.

Wheelchairs teach street lesson

 The people who design New York’s streets and sidewalks found out what it’s like to roll on someone else’s wheels Wednesday.

“It was very difficult,” said landscape architect Steve MacAvery as he stepped out of the wheelchair he’d used to travel about a hundred yards up State Street and back. “It’s very hard work on your arms. You feel all the little bumps.”

MacAvery, based at the state Department of Transportation’s regional headquarters in Poughkeepsie, was among about 20 landscape architects from around the state who participated in a training exercise using wheelchairs on loan from the Center for Disability Services.

Read more @ Wheelchairs teach street lesson by Cathy Woodruff 

Source: Times Union – Albany NY.

Weep for Urban Renewal

As fantastic as our annual Doors Open weekend (May 26, 27) has been in giving us a chance to tour a vast number of wonderful buildings, it’s also a reminder of the vast number of wonderful buildings we won’t get to see.

Of the more than 20,000 structures that were demolished during the “urban renewal” of the 1950s and ‘60s, arguably the grandest was Toronto’s General Post Office that at one time stood on Adelaide at the head of Toronto Street.

Source: The Bulletin is Downtown Toronto’s Best Read Community Newspaper.

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