Japan’s Population-“A Demographic Time Bomb”

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wires-japanseniors13rb3The Independent’s Business Insider article via Andy Yan describes the increasing aging population of Japan, called by economists as a  “demographic time bomb.”  With little consumer spending the economy has shrunk and fewer people are having children, while people are living longer.  With a population of 127 million, 26 per cent are seniors, roughly  the same percentage as Canada will experience in the next two decades.

The Insider identifies several  trends in Japan becoming a senior society. More adult diapers are sold annually than baby diapers since 2011. While annual births were over one million since 1899, that number  started to decline in 2016.  “Ubasaute”, the practice of bringing senior family members with dementia to charities or hospitals has commenced, when family members can no longer provide the care needed.  While the numbers of this abandonment are still relatively low compared to the size of the population, it illustrates the…

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A Flood “Utility Pod” New York City Style

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Ny.Curbed.Com describes the interesting “utility pods” commissioned by the New York City Housing Authority and designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) to buffer a large public housing development against a superstorm like Hurricane Sandy that ravaged Brooklyn’s Red Hook area.

These 14 “pods” are multi-purpose-they provide backup power and distribution sources, can house new retail stores for the surrounding buildings, and will provide heat and electricity when the next storm hits this low-lying residential area. They also provide public greenspace through a collaboration with the landscape architecture firm Olin. Here’s the  press release .

The “Lily Pad” design also serve as flood baffles by providing raised earth forms in the centre of the internal courtyards and an active “flood wall” using passive barriers.  “These elements transform the experience of residents and guests by providing vibrant, social spaces in conjunction with the area’s infrastructural needs.”

This Red Hook housing project…

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A Vancouver Special Space? Named After Architectural Visionary, Bing Thom

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Ralph Segal was the senior architect and development planner for the Planning Department of the City of Vancouver. He is a well-respected professional that cares deeply about the city, and who was involved in most of the major planning and design decisions in the City in the three decades prior to his retirement.

Ralph has suggested in the Vancouver Sun letters that a special public place be named after the late Vancouver architect Bing Thom, who was cited by Stephen Hume in his series on 150 Noteworthy Canadians in the Vancouver Sun as a “Visionary artist, calm philosopher who meditated every day — even while juggling complex obligations that involved hundreds of millions of dollars — business wizard, respected by all as a kind, decent man, his stunning architecture marked the world.”

Quoting Ralph Segal  “Thank you to Stephen Hume and The Vancouver Sun for the profile of Bing Thom…

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Feds Not Funding Massey Bridge. Province Not Matching Metro Vancouver Transit.

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The Federal government’s budget came down last week and it was called “Building a Strong Middle Class”. With that sentiment, the Federal Government provided 2.2 billion dollars for Greater Vancouver transportation projects including a Broadway subway, Surrey light rail and replacing the Pattullo Bridge. These are all part of the TransLink Mayors’ 10-year Greater Vancouver transportation plan.

Surprise! As reported in the Delta Optimist by Ian Jacques the Federal government didn’t provide any funding for the single-minded Provincial government support of the Massey Bridge, so the Province will have to pony up the $3.5 billion dollar estimated cost on their own.

The Province had  one more salvo for Metro Vancouver mayors who have universally rued (except for the Mayor of Delta) the placement of this overbuilt Massey bridge in a location that will have dire ecological ramifications  and is quite frankly in the wrong place for the region. The…

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Aging, Design and the City and Why This Matters

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By 2030, one-quarter of all Canadians will be over 65 years of age, which will have profound impacts on Canadian cities, urban life, housing and health services. The City Program of Simon Fraser University hosted a lecture on Friday March 24 on Aging, Design and the City.This well attended lecture was also available on-line and attracted an international contingent of people who joined via the internet.

Director of the City Program Andy Yan brought together a host of speakers from various backgrounds and institutions to commence the conversation of what happens to Metro Vancouverites as they age-do we stay in our houses, or do we go? And where do seniors go to, and what is the housing seniors are looking for?

Elizabeth Tang from CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) noted that in focus groups across Canada, people aged 55 to 75 have a lack of concern for planning future…

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“Global Urbanism” in the New Downtown “Blended” Mall

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The Guardian  comments on the “Oculus”, the  1.4 billion dollar mall linking New York City’s One World Trade Center, the subway lines and trains. Michael Sorkin, an architecture professor at New York’s City College pinpoints the new trend in these downtown shopping malls which he notes “is virtually indistinguishable from Dubai duty-free. The effect is compromising and imperial – a real estate formula.”

The 100 shops contained in this downtown mall are the same multinational shops you’d see anywhere in the world. But what is curious here is that while malls in suburbia are declining, the urban mall contains a commercial mix that   integrates “so seamlessly into its urban surroundings that it can be difficult to draw any line between city and mall whatsoever.London’s Boxpark, Las Vegas’s Downtown Container Park and Miami’s Brickell City Centre are examples of mall-like environments that try to weave into the…

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“Building more Roads to reduce Congestion drives Traffic up”

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Nic Slater posted this excellent three-minute video, produced in Great Britain but with much relevance to the situation with the proposed Massey Bridge. You just can’t build your way out of congestion with roads, and eight out of ten  of these massive projects take out vital ecological habitat, and two-thirds of the projects destroy landscapes that were culturally important.  Road building also means that people move away from town centres where they can cycle and walk.

Sound familiar?

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