MOVments: Thinking Outside the City

Okay, everyone, breaking news: it's really hot outside. So hot, that you probably shouldn't even be reading this. You should be out there enjoying all the park sitting, patio basking, ocean swimming, and beach lounging that your rain-soaked little hearts desire. However, if for some reason you're cooped up in front of your computer, you can at least do the next best thing and read about being outside in this week's MOVments.

Sleeping Out. This week OpenFile gives us the inside scoop on sleeping outdoors. As Jesse Donaldson reports "sleeping out" (in contrast to homelessness) is "a deliberate, conscious decision by otherwise normal, able-bodied folks to forego conventional accommodation (especially in the milder months), to live differently and save money in a very expensive city." Definitely one way of avoiding high rent at least for a little while.

Skinny Streets. The Vancouver Courier makes a compelling and historically-grounded call for "thin" streets in a recent article. Allen Garr explains that many of our wider streets, designed prior to the 1928 Bartholomew plan, were originally meant to be major transportation routes. But in some cases this never came to be, and we were left with unnecessarily wide thoroughfares, little traffic, and what is perhaps a remarkable opportunity to fill in the space with affordable, higher density housing.

Outdoor Art. With City Councillor Raymond Louie calling for an end to the fee for painting murals on homes and businesses, some of us are wondering what a proliferation of Vancouver wall art would look like. Andy Longhurst of The City blog is concerned that the powers that be would restrict the expression of politically-critical public art. As he says, "We’ll have to see where this goes."

Zipping Along. Vancouver was recently voted best car-sharing city in the Northwest by Sightline Daily. Beating out Portland and Seattle, it seems that our fair city stole the show with its three strong car-sharing services and large number of vehicles available for people who want the convenience of occasional access to a car without the high costs of ownership. Read on for the low-down on car-sharing companies like Car2Go, Modo, and Zipcar.

At the MOVeum:
August 16 - Volunteer Information Session
September 20 - Opening Day - Object(ing): The art/design of Tobias Wong

[Image: Ferguson Point Tea House, Stanley Park postcard, c.1960. From the MOV Collection H2008.23.2070]

MOVments: Keeping Insite, creating Stanley Park and too much of a good thing

Insite. Hastings Street erupted into a clebration and pancake breakfast as people gathered to hear the Supreme Court of Canada reject the federal government's appeal to close Insite. This is a landmark decision  - not only does it allow the facility to remain open but it signals a change in attitudes toward addicts and positions healthcare as a higher priority than law and order. The unanimous decision by the court opens up possibility of safe injection sites across the country. Kind of fitting that this happened in Vancouver, the birthplace of Canada's first drug laws.

Stanley Park. While it's now the uncontroversial crown jewel of our city, Stanley Park got off to a rocky start, as the land was not only expropriated from First Nations people but also others who made their homes on the land. The removal of these people took nearly 40 years.

Growing pains. You can never have too much of a good thing. Or can you? In some cities there is a glut of farmer's markets and not enough consumer demand, forcing them to compete with each other for customers. In Vancouver the tight control over the creation of new markets seems to ensure that this will not be the case but in the suburbs it's a different story.

Mural tour. The City of Vancouver has created a cool interactive map and audio tour of murals in the downtown core and East Van.

Places that matter. John Atkin shares more of his findings while researching materials for the Heritage Foundation's Places that Matter project. This week: the Louvre Hotel and Saloon.

Image via Bruce...



Remembering Terry Fox. The Terry Fox monument at BC Place is slated for demolition and will be replaced with a new monument designed by Douglas Coupland. The architect of the original monument is understandably upset, but acknowledges that it was never popular with the public.

Cycling infrastructure. While improving cycling infrastructure in is a priority for many municipalities, they have been having trouble trying to secure funding and support from the province.

Great Beginnings. The City of Vancouver is currently looking for proposals for new murals that “offer new perspectives on Vancouver and represent a range of Vancouver’s diverse cultural communities.” The program is part of an overall plan to reduce graffiti in the city.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Straight has a great gallery of images of the mural on Beatty Street that is nearing completion.

Backyard chickens. The City of Surrey is considering whether to allow chickens on urban lots.

Unsung heroes. An article in Grist calls for more acknowledgement of the roles of women in the sustainable food movement. While the article’s focus is American, it’s good to look around and take stock of all the people, male and female, in our communities that perhaps aren’t being recognized.

Photo credit: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun

MOVments of the week


A round up of things we have been following this week.

Beatty Street wall repaint. Painting is finally underway on the new Beatty Street wall mural. The project is jointly funded by the City of Vancouver and Concord Pacific and depicts figures from Vancouver’s past and present. More information can be found on the project’s Facebook page and Youtube.

Shortly before the Olympics the Beatty Street Wall was painted over by city workers conducting what was apparently routine maintenance. The move sparked the ire of a large number of people in the community. For those of you who may be feeling nostalgic, the original artwork is still visible on Google Street View, here.

Pop-up shop. Douglas Coupland partnered with Roots to open up a temporary store in Gastown stocked with several limited edition signature items. The event has garnered a lot of buzz and is part of a trend in retail and marketing that turns shopping into an event with stores appearing in novel locations for limited periods of time. Pop-up retail and marketing has already been used successfully by several companies. In a sense, the Cheaper Show uses the same model in order to create new markets for local art. I’d love to see this concept used for non-commercial purposes too, like education or community building.

The changing face of Gastown. The Westender focuses on the closure of Biz Books to highlight the pressures on independent businesses as Gastown gentrifies. In spite of the neighbourhood’s facelift, rents are rising and there is a growing number of empty storefronts as people wait for the renewal and residential density ushered in by Woodwards to arrive.

City calls for container housing. City council is considering a motion to explore the use of shipping containers in providing low-cost social housing. The Tyee ran a very positive story about this kind of housing earlier this year, but the comments below reveal that it is a very controversial idea.

Old Spice answers your questions. And a shout-out to Old Spice for launching an excellent social media campaign this week. In short: you send a message to the Old Spice Man via social media and he responds in a video on Youtube. This is in no way a product endorsement, I just think it’s a clever and entertaining campaign and Mashable is reporting some incredible stats about its’ reach and effectiveness.

Image credit: Kris Krüg, via flickr

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