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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]

Posted by: Mitra Mansour on February 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

The Upcycled Urbanism project makes use of recycled expanded polystyrene donated from Mansonville Plastics. We really value the use (and re-use) of recycled and reclaimed materials in public space installations.

As such, we've really been loving 2 recent public art projects.

The first being a collaborative effort between Monash University, Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Grimshaw Architects and Places Victoria, called the Sealight Pavilion. This site-specific installation on the Australian Docklands uses reclaimed timber to pose an alternative urbanism use in scale and experience for the area. We also really love how partners in this project involved the Monash University Architecture students to help them design this new space.

Our second favourite is the Heartwalk project in Times Square, NY, installed just in time for Valentine's Day. Heartwalk is by Situ Studio (link: http://www.situstudio.com/) and was the winner of this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, a contest organized by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance and Design Trust for Public Space challenging designers and architects to come up with a love-inspired installation for Duffy Square. This project stood out as a contest winner because it proposed the use of reclaimed boardwalk boards from the Rockaways in New York and Atlantic City in New Jersey which were damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and not only celebrates romantic love, but the power of love to heal and overcome hard times. 

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 the Vancouver Foundation and Mansonville Plastics.

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

 

 
Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on February 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm
 
A recent survey has revealed that Vancouverites are less trusting of authority than our Eastern Canadian counterparts. Over at MOV, the report had us excitedly asking: does this mean we're finally getting some long-overdue street cred for our anti-authoritarian spirit? Maybe. But while nicknames like "no fun city" still stick, we have a ways to go in the coolness department. Nevertheless, join us this week for an exploration of all things hip, including Surrey (possibly) being the new Brooklyn, maintaining our reputation in China, and the financial and intellectual complexities of hosting a trendy lecture series (we're looking at you, TED). 
 
Whalley Is the New Williamsburg. And Cloverdale is the new Park Slope. Or at least that's what this Vancouver Sun article would have us believe. Comparing our suburb's rough, working-class upbringing and its relatively affordable housing market to the trendy New York borough, Shelley Fralic argues that it's finally becoming cool for young Vancouverites to move to Surrey. Backlash against the article can be seen in the comments on the Vancouver Sun page: "You're joking right? There's no doubt things are improving, but New West or the DTES has a better chance of becoming Vancouver's version of "Brooklyn." Surrey has little character [and] few historic buildings..." For the record, The Tyee seems to agree that it's New West that's the new Brooklyn
 
Cultural Ambassador to Cool. In an effort to gain more of the lucrative Chinese tourism market, Tourism Vancouver has enlisted recording artist, Wanting Qu, to be its first tourism ambassador. As part of her new role, Wanting will be producing videos that combine her music with images of the city and its surroundings. Stephen Pearce of Tourism Vancouver says, “I think the Olympics put us on the radar screen with China, and I think this relationship with Wanting Qu will do that again." In less than two years, China is set to overtake the UK for highest numbers of overnight visitors heading to Vancouver.
 
Money Talks. If we define "cool" as "exclusive" then it looks like attending the TED conference in Vancouver is going to be really, really cool. Set at US$7,500, tickets for the 2014 lecture series are not going to be readily available to most of us. The cost highlights an interesting tension in the TED mandate: it is a public lecture that broadcasts its talks online while also carrying prohibitively expensive ticket prices and a rigorous application procedure. This recent Globe and Mail article articulates some other criticisms of TED including it being derided as repetitive, middlebrow, and "the Urban Outfitters" of the intellectual world. Critic Nathan Jurgenson is quoted as saying, “The role of Urban Outfitters is to find what’s edgy, package it, label it and sell it to the masses and thereby extinguish what’s edgy about it. And so TED has sort of filled that role.” What do you think? TED lovers and critics we want to hear from you!
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Beautiful British Columbia Magazine cover, 1986. From the Museum of Vancouver collection, H2010.2.15]
Posted by: Amanda McCuaig on February 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm

When Viviane, Curatorial Lead of Sex Talk in the City, began her research on vibrators she was a little surprised to find that the Museum already had one in its collection.

But one vibrator does not a vibrator display make. To flesh out the history of the vibrator Viviane connected with Vancouver’s own Womyns’Ware, to see if they would be willing to loan their impressive collection of vintage vibes.

I got to take a field trip out to Commercial Drive where I spent a fun-filled hour with Womyn’sWare director Otter Luis photographing pieces from their collection and laughing about how happy the people depicted on the packaging were (we’re pretty sure that one couple pictured were happily doing their taxes together).

Sex Talk in the City features 11 vibes from Womyns'Ware's collection.

Womyns’Ware is a leader in Canada for designing healthy sex toys and for their innovative way of thinking about operating a sex toy store. A big part of what they do is make asking questions easy – Just a few years ago I went in with my mom and one of her best (male) friends because he was curious as to why a sex store would have such an accessible store front and just HAD to check it out. It was his first time ever in a sex store, and the staff let him ask a million questions. He’s ranted about the great experience ever since.

Andrea Dobbs of Womyns’Ware wrote a post for us last year about society’s fears around sexuality, and it’s a must read if you haven’t already.

This Thursday Womyns’Ware is coming to the MOV to lead a workshop in designing for pleasure! So come, get inspired by vibes from the past 100 years, and design your own while learning about the history of sexual satisfaction by technology historian Rachel Maines (whose research inspired the movie Hysteria).

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on February 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

 

 
With our Sex Talk in the City exhibit opening this week, we've been talking a lot about the history of sexuality and the controversies that have raged around subjects like women's reproductive health and birth control in the city throughout the years. It seems whether in the bedroom, the streets, or the classroom the topic of sex has caused even ordinarily reserved city-dwellers to express some pretty strong emotions. In that spirit, this week we're talking about some other (not quite so sexy) issues that tend to get us all worked up, namely: Surrey's bad reputation, our city's film industry, public transit funding woes, and who could forget, affordable housing.
 
Hating on Surrey? Well, now there's a t-shirt for that. Surrey entrepreneur Don Pitcairn is selling t-shirts with the logos “The future dies here" and “Better safe than Surrey” spoofing the city's official motto and its reputation for violent crime. Not surprisingly, this has angered city officials who have sent Pitcairn a letter asking him to cease and desist the production of the clothing line. However, it looks as though those of you still wanting to buy and sport the controversial tees will be able to, given that parody and satire are protected by our national copyright law. 
 
Film Industry Love. Today (February 12) City Council will respond to a motion proposed by Mayor Gregor Robertson asking for a "national approach" to the film and television industry in Canada. Motivation for the motion comes from observations that Vancouver's tax credit offers for filmmakers have become less competitive, causing some productions to move to Ontario and Quebec. Bill Bennett, the BC minister responsible for film, has said that while the province is certainly on board with supporting film, it is unlikely that it will increase the millions of dollars already subsidizing the industry. Keep your eyes out for developments on this one.
 
Frustrated with Increased Transit Fares? There's good news, they won't be increasing again soon. Well, not exactly, anyways. Metro Vancouver mayors recently converged to propose five new sources of funding for transportation expansion projects such as light rail in Surrey and rapid transit along Broadway. In a letter to Transportation Minister Mary Polak the mayors stated that while "economic and political limits have been reached on the rates of existing taxes and fares" they would like to see funding come from sources such as a vehicle registration fee and a regional sales tax for Metro Vancouver (that could generate up to $250 million per year). The province is currently considering the recommendations outlined in the letter. 
 
Hoping for (Affordable) Homes. Finally, we thought we'd turn your attention to a project dealing with another touchy subject: affordable housing. As this Tyee piece explains, the Housing Matters Media Project is "a series of 11 digital short films produced by Lower Mainland youth who've been affected by the region's ever-growing need for affordable housing." They will hold their second screening of short films on February 20 at SFU. Get out there and check out these provocative, compelling pieces, if you haven't already!
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Quotes above the entrance to the Sex Talk in the City exhibit]
 
Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on February 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Innovators, thinkers, and trailblazers across the city are rejoicing at the news that the ever-popular speaker series, TED, is moving its headquarters to Vancouver in 2014. But that's not the only kind of talk happening around town this week: the city held open houses last week surrounding new proposed bike lanes that may make access to the MOV and Point Grey much safer, complaints are flying around a failed energy-efficiency program, and after much discussion, the city will be responding to a recommendation made by the B.C.’s missing women inquiry. Of course, after all of the talk is done, we're hoping to see some very real results, practical solutions, and measurable progress.

Bike Lane Buzz. Chances are if you've ever ridden a bike or walked the streets near the MOV you've encountered high traffic volumes and at least a couple inconvenient crosswalks. A city proposal shopped around at three open houses last week aims to change this. As the city website states, "The Point Grey Road - Cornwall Avenue Corridor Active Transportation Project proposes creating a safe, convenient and comfortable connection for pedestrians and cyclists between Burrard Bridge and Jericho Beach." You can find the all the proposed solutions here and can join the conversation by taking a survey here.
 
Home Energy Loan Fail. A loan program for homeowners looking to reduce their house's carbon footprint looks as though it will no longer be offered by the city. As The Vancouver Sun reports, "Had the program worked as well as city officials and politicians hoped it could, it would have led to as many as 3,000 homes a year being retrofitted with high-efficiency furnaces, hot water heaters, windows and insulation." But complaints surrounding the loan ranged from interest rates being too high to feeling that it wasn't worth it to extend the maximum amount, $10,000, over a 10-year period. As it stands, it's unclear if the city will continue to be involved in the program. 
 
Sex Trade Liaisons. Meanwhile, the city will be hiring two liaisons to work with the sex trade community following commissioner Wally Oppal's recommendation. As the Georgia Straight explains, the new employees will liaise with the city, community groups, police, and those involved in survival sex trade to prevent and reduce violence. However, another of Oppal's five recommendations is currently being neglected: the WISH Drop-In Centre which provides 24-hour emergency services to women is suffering a lack of funding which Mayor Robertson finds concerning. Task force members and city staff will meet again in June to discuss solutions and their progress. 

 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Burrard Bridge bike lane, 2008. Photo by Ariane Colenbrander]

 

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on January 29, 2013 at 10:17 am

In the aftermath of the Waldorf closing the city is looking into mapping cultural resources like arts venues and spaces that resonate with city dwellers. Over at MOVments, this got us thinking about the other kinds of maps we're making and how they're helping to locate us and more importantly, guide us where we're going. Read on for details on a blueprint for a new food strategy, a development plan for a growing municipality, and how neighbourhood rebranding may (or may not) be helping East Vancouverites envision where they live.

Edible Streets. Imagine a city with more farmers markets, community gardens, rooftop plots, and edible landscaping. These are just a few of the actions outlined in the new food strategy being considered by city council. As the Vancouver Sun blog describes "City council intends the Vancouver of the near future to be a model system of just and sustainable locally-grown food, a city as pretty as it is delicious." This deliciously sustainable city would have at its centre a green economy which would incubate food businesses and create infrastructure for food processing and distribution.
 
City of Cities. And speaking of infrastructure, the City of Surrey has challenges of its own as its six, distinct town centres continue to grow. As the Vancouver Sun reports while the city offers (relatively) affordable housing and a myriad of parks and recreation opportunities, it still does not have a cultural infrastructure in the form of large-scale entertainment venues; for these, many still head to Vancouver. President of the Surrey Board of Trade, Anita Huberman, is looking forward to a city filled with "state-of-the-art elegant spaces for arts, events, [and] theatres" that would keep people working and playing there.
 
The Neighbourhood Formerly Known As...Hastings-Sunrise has recently been rebranded as Vancouver's East Village but residents have been slow to adopt the name, and some are not so sure the reference to the Manhattan neighbourhood is apt. Developers are quick to point out that the new name isn't meant to replace the old one but rather to help build a cohesive identity for businesses in the area. As executive director of the neighbourhood's Business Improvement Association, Patricia Barnes describes, "It’s a marketing and branding strategy for the business improvement area, within the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood. Critics have their own opinions, but it is not a renaming of the whole neighbourhood.” 
 
Spotlight on Vancouver. And finally, if you didn't get a chance to see Marpole and downtown all lit up this weekend, check out these photos of the playful Limelight: Saturday Night art installation. 
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Plan of the City of Vancouver, 1910. Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, MAP 387]
Posted by: Mitra Mansour on January 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

What do you get when you gather some of Vancouver's most talented designers in one room at Museum of Vancouver for the first Upcycled Urbanists meeting? Exploration, play, great questions, even greater conversations, and some amazing ideation. We can't wait to see what our Upcycled Urbanists have planned for our Design Sunday Workshop Charettes!

Workshops start on March 3, so make sure you RSVP and get over here to start building!

Below: Upcycled Urbanism Project Partners from SALA, VPSN, Maker Faire, and Spacing Vancouver

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

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Posted by: Mitra Mansour on January 28, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

Congratulations to Eric, Jessika, Lindsay, and Minnie on having their modular unit designs chosen as the four finalists to be used by our Partners at SALA, Vancouver Public Space Network, Maker Faire, and Spacing Vancouver to help create a collaborative public realm installation!

The above images are work by UBC School of Landscape Architecture and Architecture Students (Left to Right) - Lindsay Duthie, Eric Lajoie,  Jessika Kliewer, Minnie Chan.

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

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