February 5, 2014

What is placemaking anyway?

Gather Round Roundabout

Gather Round Roundabout at St George St at East 10th Ave. Image from Google Streetview.

A few years ago I wrote about a Mark Lakeman event, which I did not attend, so my interest was piqued when a friend of mine mentioned an upcoming event with Lakeman’s name on it.

“Cracks in the pavement: Placemaking and the remaking of the modern city with Mark Lakeman” (tickets still available at Eventbrite) will be Lakeman’s public talk this Friday evening “on Placemaking and Redesigning The Commons” ahead of a 9-month course on the subject.

Placemaking, the creative reclamation of public space was the brainchild of Mark, an urban designer, and his neighbours in 1996 when they transformed their own intersection into a place for community gatherings and interaction — starting a mini revolution in Portland, OR that has spread throughout the city and inspired the creation of City Repair, an organization that engages citzens in transforming places. (Read more.)

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February 28, 2011

Green thinking in cities, Part 6: Portland

kidical mass southeast portland, august, 2008Photo by cafemama via Flickr

Portland, Oregon has several remarkable traits that make the city liveable and more sustainable.

Portland StreetcarPhoto by contessak via Flickr

The city is well-known for its cycling culture — 3.9% of residents make their trip by bicycle, beating out Vancouver at 3% (we’re not even in second place!). With the city’s investment in expanding its current 300+ mile network, they’re bound to shoot ahead. (Copenhagen still takes the cake by a long shot.) Bicycle transportation planner Mia Birk from Alta Planning + Design was recently in Vancouver to show us the quick and successful improvements she was involved in to bring more and safer bike lanes to Portland. The results? More cyclists, fewer crashes, less traffic. Their process involved community engagement as well, which isn’t easy. The city’s mayor, Sam Adams, was here a couple years ago to talk about active transportation in Portland. They take it seriously.

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May 28, 2009

SFU lecture June 8: Walking Around the World, and Car Free Day

Walking at UBC

I’m going to miss out on this, I think, because it’s also World Oceans Day on June 8 and the World Oceans Day event I’m attending conflicts in time, but I wanted to pass this on for the rest of you. There are a few spots left I think, so register quickly!

Walking Around the World: Innovation and inspiration for Designing, Engineering and Planning our Cities

Dr. Rodney Tolley with Bronwen Thornton, Walk 21

June 8, 7 pm at UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver

Reservations required: Call 778-782-5100 or email cstudies@sfu.ca

“The obesity epidemic, congestion, pollution, peak oil and climate change are just five of the imperatives that demand we walk more — and walk more often. Yet the barriers to walking have intensified in recent years. This presentation will show how streets around the world are being opened up again to people on foot, with spectacular benefits for our personal health, and the health of our cities, our communities and our children.” (SFU City Program | PDF Flyer)

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