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Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on March 19, 2013 at 6:55 am

There's no doubt about it, Vancouver is a tremendously, ridiculously talented city. From clever computer engineers, to ground-breaking artists, to innovative entrepreneurs the city is chalk full of people who continue to shape and define our communities in unexpected ways. This week's MOVments takes a look at some of the benefits and repercussions of being such an accomplished city.
 
Virtual Brain Drain. Social media giant Facebook is setting up a new temporary development office in Vancouver and will be hiring 150 of our best and brightest to staff it. Good news, right? Yes and no. As Alex Wilhelm argues over at The Next Web, Facebook may be perfectly positioning itself to snag our talented developers: "In short, Facebook is hoovering up smart kids, and stashing them in Canada until it can transfer them to one of its offices in the United States, such as its headquarters in Menlo Park."
 
The Art of Recognition. Some recent news in the BC art world has hit us very close to home: George Norris, the artist behind the iconic crab sculpture in front of the MOV, passed away in Victoria on March 12. Although Norris' work can be found across the province, he was under-recognized during his lifetime. As his friend, artist Gordon Miller told the Province: "He was probably the most unrecognized and unappreciated talent in BC. He was an incredible artist that never tooted his own horn." Fortunately this isn't true across the board: Vancouver artist Rebecca Belmore has just won one of the prestigious Governor General’s Awards for Visual and Media Arts. The $25,000 award recognizes Belmore for her career achievement as a multidisciplinary artist.
 
Waldorf-Rickshaw Mega-Team. Owners of the Richshaw Theatre and Waldorf Productions have joined forces to purchase and renovate Fox Cinema, the former porn theatre on Main Street. Plans are to re-open the theatre in the fall as a space for everything from live music, to djs, to comedy depending on what kind of liquor license the team is able to obtain. Great news for anyone mourning the loss of the Waldorf Hotel venue (or just excited about having more innovative multipurpose spaces in the city).
 
Visualizing (Un)Affordable Housing. Finally, with spring on its way and the temperature on the rise, here is an extremely effective "thermal" visualization of the city that literally puts Vancouver's most/least affordable neighbourhoods on the map.
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Rent Heat Map courtesy of rentheatmap.com]
Posted by: Mitra Mansour on March 19, 2013 at 12:00 am


[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

Hallucinating in Public: Creating Environments That Are Beautiful and Disruptive, the second workshop in the Upcycled Urbanism March series,  got off to a mysterious start. Bill Pechet of  SALA and Ian Lowrie of  Spacing Vancouver gave a packed room of urban design enthusiasts an introduction to design process: a matter of creating poetry with an "immaculate corpse." They combined images of playful, practical and interactive urban realm installations with fun fur because, of course, it's  fun!

 

Students of Bill's studios at SALA are no strangers to this nouveau-surreal approach to public place making. Those just being exposed to the approach were intrigued by and drawn into the design-making process. By playing with “hallucinatory” systems as a catalyst for more creative civic engagement and participatory place making, participants used design thinking to create potentially richer public realm projects.

 

They brought together the various poetic elements in conceptual drawings and scale models (constructed from modular blocks created by SALA students). Some projects explored possible public spaces which incorporated interactive permeable walls. Others provided communal sheltered spaces with moving bookshelves for an outdoor library. Others played with lighting, while others used sculptures as multi-faceted sensory vignettes to help people better connect with one another.

 

Images by: MOV Volunteer Linnea Zulch

Bill Pechet of SALA and Ian Lowrie of Spacing Vancouver

Participants start to layer their hallucinations onto the site.

 

Collaborative modular forms start to take shape rooted in previous Immaculate Corpse layering process

A week later, Block Talk: Creating Spaces That Connect People ( the third Upcycled Urbanism  workshop) brought together local design enthusiasts with town planning students from the University of Dortmund in Germany.

 

The sold-out workshop was  co-lead by Mari Fujita, a professor at UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Jonathan Bleakley and Zanny Venner from Vancouver Public Space Network.

 

The central challenge? Use a  public feast as a driver for communication and connection between friends and strangers. The concept was inspired in part by the leader’s own innovative projects. In 2005,  Fujita’s Space Agency project (2005) invited designers to reclaim Vancouver’s little-used alleyways. The winner saw giant balloons lodged in a rarely-used Gastown alley. In the summer of 2012, Vancouver Public Space Network’s Lunch Meet initiative used a half-block  long dining table to draw strangers to share their lunches together.

 

Workshop participants were guided to think about innovative models of public furniture and collaborative community activities using blocks designed by students in SALA’s Material Culture Studio.

 

The workshop produced some tremendous ideas. There were prototypes of multi-generational spaces promoting play and performance. There were clustered spaces for napping and “romantic meetings.” Teams used the modular blocks to prototype  flexible and multi-use street furniture at seated and standing scales,  as well as interactive forms which could shift to create solid or permeable structures to allow for human connection through sight and sound. The German students, amused that Vancouverites are not permitted to drink alcohol in public, proposed interesting ‘bar’ tables, sparking  conversation around policiy and cultural differences that shape public drinking.

Mar. 17 images by Kellan Higgens.

 

Zanny Venner of VPSN, Mari Fujita of SALA, Jonathan Bleakley of VPSN

 

Ready, set, charrette!

 

New innovative modular forms emerge to create public feast spaces
 

All Mar. 17: Kellan Higgins - http://www.kellanhiggins.com

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Participate in the LAST Upcycled Urbanism Workshop:

Surprise and Juxtaposition in the Public Realm

with SALA, Spacing, and Maker Faire

 

Design forms and images seem to reappear through life--whether in architecture, nature, or even in the food we eat. How can forms from seemingly disparate realms provide inspiration for imaginative public space interventions that draw people together, hold them, and perhaps even change them?

 

No need to have a design background, just bring your creative and curious mind!

 

Upcycled Urbanism is a partnership between MOV, the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Public Space Network, Maker Faire Vancouver, and Spacing Magazine. With generous support from Mansonville Plastics and Vancouver Foundation.

 

Location: Museum of Vancouver

Date: Sunday, March 24

Cost: By general admission | MOV members and project partners free

Register: http://march24upcycledurbanism.eventbrite.com/

Twitter: #upcycledurbanism

             @museumofvan

[What is Upcycled Urbanism? Learn more here.]

 

Posted by: Guest Author on March 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

by Craig Scharien

Founded in 1983 by a small group of men in the West End, AIDS Vancouver is now celebrating their 30th anniversary. The founders took initiative despite the fact that only six cases of HIV/AIDS had been reported in the city at the time. The group began attending health conferences, distributing information, and planning local action and forums, thus laying the groundwork for AIDS Vancouver. In the 30 years since, the organization has evolved into a vital component of Vancouver’s health care system. They offer numerous services – case management and support programs, a supplemental grocery service and fundraising, just to name a few. Perhaps their most crucial role is raising awareness about a disease which is now often seen as chronic rather than fatal.

The evolution HIV/AIDS awareness can be seen in posters like the ones on display in Sex Talk in the City. Initially posters were aimed primarily at gay men and focussed on prevention: like reminders to wear condoms. Today, posters are far less direct and are more broadly focussed. The priority has moved from prevention to knowing your status and getting tested. One of the more recent posters features a man of Asian descent with the slogan “Get Tested” showing insight into the population demographics of Vancouver and their focus on testing.

Evolution can also be seen in treatment; the cocktail of drugs has been streamlined and has become far more effective. Viviane Gosselin, curatorial lead for Sex talk in the City was keen to show this progression, but finding ‘vintage’ pills was not easy.

“I had not anticipated that the most difficult artefacts to acquire for Sex Talk in the City would be the HIV/AIDS pills," explained Gosselin. "I talked to several organizations and representatives from drug companies and the responses were either: ‘we don’t keep old pills’ or ‘we are not allowed to let drugs circulate in the public’. We had dedicated people at the BC Centre for the Disease Control who investigated on our behalf and located a researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Research who ‘collects’ old HIV/AIDS pills, starting with the first pill regimen from the late 1980s. After reassuring this researcher that public access to the pills would be limited to seeing (not touching or tasting!) we were able to proceed with a loan.  This process took several months!”

The evolution of piles of pills to today’s doses can be seen in Sex Talk in the City thanks to her sourcing.

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Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on March 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

In this week's instalment of MOVments we explore a few developments related to Vancouver's winding roads, busy intersections, thriving bike paths, and the conversations and interactions that are happening alongside them. There's a food cart that some would prefer to see driving away from its current Commercial Drive home, a cold weather shelter that some want removed from its Yaletown neighbourhood, and finally a cycling culture that some hope will spread to every street in the city.
 
Commercial Controversy. It turns out that the first food truck on Commercial Drive is causing a bit of tension with its neighbours. After paying to be stationed at Grandview Park, the neighbourhood BIA has asked The Daily Catch truck to move to a costly on-street parking spot. This comes after neighbouring businesses complained of the truck blocking views of the park, generating unwanted noise, and well, unwanted competition. It's becoming clear that the situation may have broader implications for the future of food trucks on the Drive. 
 
Street HEAT. A small group of Yaletown residents are complaining of the impact of a cold-weather shelter on what they perceive to be the safety of the community. While some are attacking the increase of public rowdiness and discarded needles in outdoor spaces near the Seymour Street shelter, Councillor Kerry Jang points out that the diverse area has actually been undergoing needle sweeps for the past 20 years. He also told Global News that the possible problems associated with the shelter's location are outweighed by the benefits:"We had to make a hard decision between saving lives and inconveniencing an area, and our choice was to save lives."
 
Cycling Culture. Lastly, we wanted to say that we love this Vancouver Magazine piece on Jinhua Zhao and Chris Bruntlett, two outspoken cycling activists in the city. Both are calling for innovative strategies to increase ridership in Vancouver and for a pervasive cultural shift in how we see cycling. And that's not all: the BC Cycling Coalition and its affiliates are also working to raise the profile of cycling issues before this spring's provincial election. However, it looks like car use downtown may also be getting a boost with the possibility of this new five-storey underground parking lot
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: West Pender. Photo by Ashley Fisher via Flickr]
Posted by: Charles Montgomery on March 12, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

As we head towards our third round of design play, Upcycled Urbanism has been turning heads 'round town. First came a great story by the Georgia Straight's Stephen Thomson:

Museum of Vancouver program invites public to reimagine public spaces

Ready, set, design! Our first Upcycled workshop: image by Kellan Higgens.

Bill Pechet told Thomson that "he hopes the design-and-build day will provoke thought about how the urban landscape can be transformed. 'We hope that it leads to a greater conversation about the use of imaginative ideas in the public realm that aren’t just classic benches or trees, and the occasional bike rack, Pechet told the Straight." Amen!

Next came a thoughtful piece by CP reporter Rebekah Funk, accompanied by great shots by photographer Eric Dreger.

In Photos: Leftover Port Mann Bridge materials reused in Vancouver art

SALA student Minnie Chan shows off scale model of block she designed for Upcycled. Hundreds of giant versions of this block will be used in our design-build event. Metro News image by Eric Dreger.

There are two more chances to join design teams this month. Join us on Sunday, Mar. 17 or Sunday, Mar 24, and to explore how we can transform a public space using giant polystyrene blocks!

 [What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

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Posted by: Guest Author on March 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

(Guest post by Arleigh McKerlich)

Children’s book “Asha’s Mums” was one of the first books written for elementary age children that portrayed a family with same-sex parents. Written by Rosamund Elwin and Michele Paulse and illustrated by Dawn Lee, it was first published in 1991.

In the book, Asha is told by her teacher that she can’t go on a field trip because her permission slip is filled out incorrectly and that it is not possible to have two mothers. After her mothers meet with the teacher to explain their daughter’s family situation, Asha is allowed to go on the trip. The other children learn of Asha’s mums and a discussion is had about whether this is a good or bad thing. The conclusion offered by the teacher is that it is just fine, as long as your parents take good care of you.

In 1997, kindergarden teacher James Chamberlain applied for approval of this book and two others (“Belinda’s Bouquet” and “One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads”) for use as teaching aids in his classroom. In response, the Surrey School Board issued resolutions that stated resources from gay and lesbian groups were not approved for use or redistribution in the school district.

After these resolutions were passed, resources like library books, pamphlets, and posters that promoted sexual diversity and tolerance were removed from all Surrey schools. Chamberlain — supported by teachers in other school districts in the Lower Mainland where these materials were allowed — launched a court case to challenge the ruling of the Surrey School Board. After much publicity and appeals by both sides, the case was considered by the Supreme Court of Canada and judgement handed down in 2002. The Court found that the Board’s decision was unreasonable and that the Board had acted contrary to provincial statute as well as its own regulations regarding curriculum materials, both of which stress tolerance and inclusion. The Court directed the decision to be reconsidered by the School District, with Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin noting that “tolerance is always age-appropriate.”

(full text of the decision available at http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2002/2002scc86/2002scc86.html)

After revisiting its decision in 2003, the Surrey School Board still found “Asha’s Mums”, “Belinda’s Bouquet”, and “One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads” to be inappropriate for use as curriculum material. The Board was critical (among other things) of the books’ depiction of men, problematic and inconsistent grammar, and of the issue of dieting being inappropriate for kindergarden age children.

While 18 of the province's 60 school districts have policies in place regarding anti-homophobia, Burnaby and Surrey School Districts have not been able to develop a policy because of push-back from parents. Recently, protest and submissions from students have led the Surrey School District to say last summer that they would begin developing an anti-bullying policy in the fall that includes anti-homophobia strategies, as well as racism and physical disability

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on March 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm

We here at the museum have been enjoying the sunshine and warm breeze that have been rolling in the last couple of days. Spring is in the air (probably, almost?) and with the slight rise in temperature, we've noticed other warm currents flowing through Vancouver. There's some literal hot air like the kind that will be used to heat the new Telus development downtown or like the exhaust from cars that will be driving over a new downtown overpass. Then there's the heated conversation surrounding the possibility of a new, expanded VAG building. And finally, there's a look back at some figurative steam, a boiling point in Vancouver's history: the 1887 Race Riot. 
 
Hot Ideas Downtown. Telus' downtown data centre produces a lot of hot air. Luckily, this will soon be harnessed and used in the company's new Telus Garden development. According to Andrea Goertz, Telus’s senior vice-president for strategic initiatives, “Currently … the heat from that data centre is being exhausted. So rather than have that heat exhausted, we recapture it so that it really can become part of the ecosystem of the entirety of that block development.” Not a bad idea. And in news that will surely excite downtown drivers, construction will start next month on an overpass that will take Powell Street over the railway line in East Vancouver
 

Art Speak. Vancouver artists like Roy Arden and Ken Lum are voicing their support for the movement of the Vancouver Art Gallery to a new location near the current Queen Elizabeth Theatre. As this Georgia Straight piece explains, "In early March, Vancouver city council will consider something different: whether to allow the Vancouver Art Gallery to develop a new $300-million gallery on the old bus-depot site, a city-owned parking lot known as Larwill Park, just east of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre complex. It would replace cramped, inappropriate exhibition spaces in an adapted courthouse." Artist support for the move comes amidst opposition from the likes of Bob Rennie (who would like to see VAG's collection split between multiple new locations) and those dubious of the VAG's ability to fundraise the $300 million required to build the new gallery. 

Race Riot. As The Tyee points out, last week marked the 126th anniversary of Vancouver's very first race riot. Tracing the beginnings of an incident that saw white males run Chinese labourers out of the city, the article also delves into the long-term implications of the riot. As interviewee David H.T. Wong explains, although the extreme xenophobia of Vancouver's early years has dissipated, there is still conspicuously little Asian representation at events like the commemoration of the CPR's Last Spike. 

Hot Air Hipsterism. And finally, it turns out that contrary to popular belief, being a hipster might be a "real job" after all (if you consider acting on a reality TV show a real job, that is). 
 
At the MOVEUM:

March 7 - Special Curator Talk & Tour: A Clandestine History of Contraception 
March 10, 17, 24 - Design Sundays: Upcycled Urbanism

[Image: Unidentified Chinese family in Western style dress, c. 1914. Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 287-17]
Posted by: Charles Montgomery on March 6, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism? Learn more here.]

Upcycled Urbanism is off to a roaring start on our journey to design and build new public space interventions, together!

Your block, my block

On March 3 we unveiled prototypes for the building blocks we’ll be using to create our designs. These unique prototypes were designed by Minnie Chan and Jessika Kliewer, students of UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Congratulations, Minnie and Jessika! Your work will be transformed into hundreds of big blocks of expanded polystyrene by our friends at Mansonville Plastics.

SALA students Minnie Chan (left) and Jessika Kliewer (right) introduce their building block prototypes. Image on right: Kellan Higgins.

Designing together

Last week’s workshop was a blast. After a primer on participatory design by Vancouver Design Nerds Marten Sims and Kim Cooper, participants came up with some wild and wonderful ideas for animating moribund spaces in our city. A giant slide. A waterfall from the Burrard Bridge. A giant Pac-Man board on Granville Street. Check out their ideas here

Participants at March 3 workshop present their ideas, including...Human Plinko! (Kellan Higgins image.)

Hallucinating in public

Now it’s time to figure out just how we’ll use these blocks to transform public spaces in Vancouver. This Sunday, March 10, join SALA and Spacing Magazine for the first of three workshops. Workshop leaders promise to lead participants into what they call the hallucinatory state needed to imagine new designs. The mind reels. Join us!

RSVP: http://march10upcycledurbanism.eventbrite.com/

Upcycled Urbanism is a participatory project that invites students, artists, designers, makers, and anyone with a even a smidgen of creativity to reimagine and rebuild parts of Vancouver’s public realm. Working together, teams of participants will design and build prototypes using modular blocks of expanded polystyrene containing material salvaged from the construction of the Port Mann Bridge. 

Upcycled Urbanism is a partnership between Museum of Vancouver (MOV), UBC's School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA), Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN), Maker Faire Vancouver, and Spacing Magazine, with generous additional support from SALA, the Vancouver Foundation and Mansonville Plastics.

Twitter: #upcycledurbanism

[What is Upcycled Urbanism? Learn more here.]

Posted by: Charles Montgomery on March 1, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism? Learn more here.]

This winter MOV and our friends decided it was time to invite everyone to redesign and rebuild part of Vancouver's public realm. The fun starts this Sunday.

Upcycled Urbanism is a participatory project that invites students, artists, designers, makers, and anyone with a even a smidgen of creativity to reimagine and rebuild parts of Vancouver’s public realm. Working together, teams of participants will design and build prototypes using modular blocks of expanded polystyrene containing material salvaged from construction sites around the Lower Mainland. 

The first step for many of us will learning just how we can work with others to imagine our future city together. Hence our first workshop:

Designing Together: the first workshop in MOV's Upcycled Urbanism series

This kickoff event focuses on how to hold a design charrette: a fun, engaging, and inclusive workshop in which experts and community members work together to turn their ideas into pictures and plans. If you've ever wanted to get people together to work on a new idea for your neighbourhood or your city, then this workshop can give you the tools. With guidance from the Vancouver Design Nerds, we'll brainstorm how to bring an underutilized public space to life.

Bonus: Sneak peak of spectacular Upcycled Urbanism building block designs created by students of UBC's School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

Mar. 3 Workshop leaders are Vancouver Design Nerds Marten Sims and Kim Cooper.

 

Kim Cooper is a multi-media artist, designer, and creative community facilitator. She is the owner of Kale Creative and a director for both the Vancouver Design Nerds and Vancouver Community Lab Society.

Marten Sims is a trans-disciplinary designer, artist, curator, researcher, facilitator and design faculty member at Emily Carr University. Over the past decade Marten has produced design work with and for a broad range of social, environmental, cultural, media, health, advocacy and science organisations. He was selected this January to City of Vancouver's 'Mayors Citizens Engaged City Task Force'.

Join us!

2:00PM - 4:00PM @ MOV (1100 Chestnut St) 

Please register at:

http://march3upcycledurbanism.eventbrite.com

Twitter: #upcycled urbanism

Upcycled Urbanism is a partnership between Museum of Vancouver (MOV), UBC's School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA), Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN), Maker Faire Vancouver, and Spacing Magazine, with generous additional support from SALA, the Vancouver Foundation and Mansonville Plastics.

[What is Upcycled Urbanism? Learn more here.]

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on February 26, 2013 at 7:05 am

This week in MOVments we explore some of the recent narratives, numbers, and neighborhood games top of mind in the ever-present world of Vancouver real estate. We have the on-going and multi-layered tale of gentrification in the DTES, some new research that tackles the oft-cited cause/effect relationship of of foreign-buyers driving up condo prices, a playful chronicle of one conceptual artist selling the smallest pieces of real estate in the history of Vancouver, and an online game that tests your knowledge of local city neighborhoods.

Pidgin Protesters. By now, you've probably heard about the protests happening outside of a newly opened restaurant called Pidgin in the Downtown Eastside. Anti-poverty activists are arguing that the intrusion of another high-end restaurant in the neighbourhood means that there is not only less space for low-income housing or organizations providing community services but that it is also disrespectful to the culture of the community. On the other side of the argument, people like city councillor Kerry Jang see the mixed nature of the area as a positive and restaurant co-owner Brandon Grossutti sees his efforts at hiring DTES residents as a path to a more integrated community. And while we're on the subject, check out a couple other perspectives that range from accusations of a kind of reverse NIMBYism to biased media coverage of protestors.

The Myth of the Foreign Buyer Boogeyman? Chances are that if you've lived in Vancouver for any length of time you've also heard about the people who come from overseas to buy up our real estate, drive up prices, and then leave the residences vacant. This Globe and Mail piece suggests that there may be less truth in the story than we previously believed. Although exact statistics are tricky to obtain the article states that "2012 figures from Landcor Data Corporation show that only 0.2 per cent of people who bought residential properties in Metro Vancouver last year are currently living outside of the country" In other words, hardly enough to drive the market. The article also says that many foreign investors are in fact also residing here, coming from China and other countries in order to support their children's educations.

Cube Living. Looking for some affordable real estate in the city? Then look no further than artist Alex Grunenfelder's Cube Living project at 221A Artist Run Centre. Last week, Grunenfelder was selling one cubic foot units of space to interested buyers for as little as one dollar. In this interview for The Tyee Grunenfelder explained the project: "I'm not necessarily advocating living in smaller spaces," he says of Cube Living. "It's about looking at the discussions that are happening around all of this, and maybe looking at things from a different point of view, and also trying to project, where is this going? Where is this process of urban densification going to end up?"

Know Your 'Hood. And finally, get to know your Vancouver neighbourhoods with this cute little app (helpful for the next time that you buy real estate?).

At the MOVeum:

March 3 - Design Sundays: Upcycled Urbanism                                             March 7 - Special Curator Talk & Tour: A Clandestine History of Contraception March 10, 17, 24 - Design Sundays: Upcycled Urbanism 

[Image: Screenshot from Click That 'Hood game by Code for America]

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