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Teaching Tomorrow’s Urban Stewards: National Green Week

From February 1 to 5 , two million American students between kindergarten and grade 12 will be involved in environmental education programs as part of National Green Week. While National Green Week is a great program, sustainability needs to be more than just an addition to the curriculum that is presented by the most progressive teachers!

New video! Jump into the Planning Pool!

In case you were wondering about some ways to use Planning Pool beyond just reading our posts, watch this video! In it, you’ll find out how to comment, how to use SplashUp Map, and how to upload video. We just showed this video at the CIP Conference in Niagara Falls to great response, and now it’s available for everyone!

Home, is where I want to be…

…lift me up and turn me round. So sang David Byrne in the Talking Heads. Here’s a fantastic little film created by Jason Owen for a housing policy class at SCARP on “the meaning of home”.

Home…is where I want to be from Planning Pool on Vimeo.

Shot using a fancy Digital SLR rig and carefully put together in editing, this stop-motion film fits so well with Naive Melody that one could easily be forgiven for thinking that the Talking Heads had Vancouver’s West End in mind when writing this little ditty.

Kudos to Jason for doing such a killer job on this. Watching it makes me warm, fuzzy and well…homey!

Check Your Head!

Last March, as part of the SCARP Symposium on Sustainability, Adam Kumbede Education Programme Coordinator of Check Your Head (www.checkyourhead.org) joined other food activists to share his ideas on the subject of Food Sovereignty, embracing the question, “How are we in Metro Vancouver planning for systems that support the production of healthy and culturally appropriate food using ecologically sound and sustainable methods? What does a just urban food system look like?” Following the session, Adam took a few moments to speak about his work with Check Your Head:

Planning Pool’s Interview with Adam of Check Your Head Youth Education from Planning Pool on Vimeo.

Marpole Grows: Communicating Development Scenarios

Marpole Grows from Planning Pool on Vimeo.

As part of an on-going research project conducted by UBC urban design professor Maged Senbel, students in SCARP’s Digital Video and Planning course prepared a few short films on development issues facing the south Vancouver neighborhood of Marpole. This particular film, created by  An Minh Vu, Silas Archambault and myself seeks to engage the community in a conversation about how they would like to see Marpole address inevitable development pressures, brought about by a new Skytrain station, among other things. 

It was originally screened at a community meeting where students from other classes, mostly design, presented their own projects. Among these was an impressive scale-model of the area around the new station, as well as a series of 3D computer models. … Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Chinatowns (And a Little India)

Just arrived back from a trip to Asia where, among other things, I took part in a short exchange with the National University of Singapore.

This was all part of a History course that took a comparative approach to exploring planning issues in the ethnic spaces (mostly chinatowns) of Vancouver, Singapore and to a lesser extent Malacca, in Malaysia. The students were divided into several working groups, covering areas such as mapping, architectural modeling, real estate marketing, and video (which I helped to facilitate). Each was responsible for creating a final project presentable to university and government officials, professors and local planners.

So as our little group nosed around these two fascinating cities, talking to planners, historians and local residents as we went, we managed to produce this film. Its purpose is to function as a snapshot of life as it’s being lived … Continue Reading

Event: VSPN “City Shorts” Film Night in Vancouver

This Thursday, the Vancouver Public Space Network is presenting a one-night film festival of short films dealing with public space.

When:     Thursday June 18, 2009
Where:   VanCity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St @ Davie St
Time:      Doors open at 7:00, Screening begins at 7:30
Cost:       10$ regular;  8$ students/ seniors (no advance tix, only door sales)

This is the first event of it’s kind in Vancouver – let’s hope it’s a roaring success so that we can look forward to seeing more short films about cities and public space!

VSPN Shorts Poster

To find out more about the festival, check out the Vancouver Public Space Network event page here.

Stuffed to the gills

Bursting with a few cameras, a laptop and a pile of other gizmos, I lugged my backpack onto the bus this morning, where I sat down and pointed my iPhone browser to the New York Times. With embarrassment, I began reading an article on Anne Leonard’s “Story of Stuff”, a 20 minute film that addresses this fetish many of us seem to have for the things that we consume.

One of the first example she brings up is the iPod. Ouch.

Warning the audience against the hazard of depending on linear production and manufacturing systems in a finite world, there isn’t much here that most ecologists don’t already know. But they aren’t the intended audience – the film is spreading like wildfire across grade schools across the US, with educators clambering to get it into their classrooms.

It’s a pretty inspiring use … Continue Reading