The Health & Planning Innovators~ Dr. John Blatherwick & Dr. Perry Kendall

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In the 1980’s health and planning were never discussed in the same sentence, seemingly separate silos with no point of intersection. It was “socially infectious early adopters” and leaders such as Dr. John Blatherwick  the former Medical Health Officer of Vancouver , and the now retiring  Chief Medical Health Officer of British Columbia, Dr. Perry Kendall that pushed those boundaries illustrating that health matters in planning and in just about everything else.


Dr. Blatherwick was one of the early interveners in the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s, and through the media let everyone know exactly how AIDS was spread, and how it could be stopped. He also wrote a groundbreaking  City of Vancouver Council report thirty years ago that described the case of  84-year-old Olaf Solheim, a retired logger  who died after being evicted from his Patricia Hotel room where he had lived for over 40 years. The…

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Seymour Street Hisses with the Mosquito Anti-Loitering Device

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If you have been walking on Seymour Street between Robson and Smithe you have probably heard it~kind of a high-pitched hissing noise, with a bit of a pulse to it. And no, it is not a heat pump or something related to a building’s air conditioning. That sound is actually a deterrent to keep loiterers and folks that would otherwise chat, sit near, or take up space near the parkade running the noise.

Called the Mosquito, this technology was invented  in Great Britain and has a patented small speaker that produces a high frequency sound that can be heard by people who are 13 to 25 years old. That sound is broadcast at 17 Kilohertz (KHz). For older people, and in this case the Seymour Street sound, the setting is at 8 KHz and can be heard by people of all ages. There’s even a way to put place the Mosquito…

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Meet You for Barbeque in Chinatown~Legacy Business Success Story

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It is in the 100 block of East Pender Street right beside the New Town Bakery and it truly is one of the best places for a host of Cantonese dishes including my favourite, the curried beef.  Chinatown Barbeque at 130 East Pender Street will remind you of the places you frequented a student in Chinatown~clean, packed, and bustling with dishes coming out of the kitchen. Carol Lee is the owner, and she also  chairs the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation and is on the  Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee. You may recognize some of the chefs and servers from the Daisy Garden in Chinatown works hard to support local residents and employees. The servers and chefs at Chinese BBQ used to work at Daisy Garden restaurant at 142 East Pender, a popular place that was destroyed in a fire two years ago.

As Wanyee Li of Metro News observes “Diners at…

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What makes a Town or City Walkable?

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From the Daily Durning comes this gem from  and Alan Ehrenhalt that once again reinforces the importance of sidewalks and street life for walkable places.  Jane Jacobs based her thesis of creating healthy happy communities on the vital necessity of face to face daily contact with residents on the sidewalk, with  every day meetings of neighbours on the sidewalk   as reinforcing social cohesion and safety. “Lowly, unpurposeful and random as they may appear,” Jacobs wrote, “sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city’s wealth of public life may grow.”

Sociologist  Mark Granovetter later found the importance of  “weak ties” to a community, “informal contacts among casual acquaintances who stop on the street to share news, gossip or simple good wishes. A robust array of weak ties gives city dwellers access to jobs, child care and practical advice, and it enhances their overall sense of well-being.”


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Carson City’s Carson Street Revamps for the 21st Century

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Earlier this year Price Tags Vancouver reported on a phenomenon that is occurring in many towns that are reclaiming their historic downtowns back from thoroughfare highway use to more pedestrian friendly sidewalks, bike lanes, and slower vehicular flows more attractive for locals.

Carson City Nevada is 30 miles south of Reno, has a population of 55,300 (2010) and is also the state capitol of Nevada. Despite a downtown that contained a lot of important heritage buildings as well as the grounds for the state capitol, motordom reigned supreme on the main street. Four lanes of traffic went through Carson Street at speed, and pedestrians were hurt and killed trying to cross the street. At one point the City installed fence barriers along the narrow sidewalk to try to separate pedestrians from vehicles. It did not make for an inviting experience on this main commercial street.

With the use of a…

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Twinning the Lions Gate Bridge

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lions-gate-bridge-nvma-photoEve Lazarus photo

In one of those utterly cool moments The Richmond News reports that the historian of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives received a call that there was something that might be of interest in the Burnaby Hospice Thrift Store on Kingsway. That store had received a scale model of the Lions Gate Bridge which was six feet long. The model which was about 24 years old was for sale in the 200 dollar range, and had a unique feature~it was a twinned model of the bridge. 

And it also had the initials of a great Canadian architect~Moshe Safdie. While the original bridge was opened in 1938, the 1990’s had brought discussions about how to repair the bridge. There was also discussion of a complete bridge replacement.  It was the Squamish nation on lands on the north side of the bridge who advocated the twinning of the bridge…

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Make Your Mark in Mount Pleasant

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                       Sandy James Image

The Daily Hive notes that the City of Vancouver is looking for artists and designers  to create “sidewalk stencils” for the sidewalks in front of commercial businesses along Mount Pleasant’s Main Street. There have been sidewalk stamps before, most notably along Heather Street between 49th and 54th Avenues. Those sidewalks stamps were chosen from images created  by the Churchill Secondary School’s fine art class,  and were cut into metal stencils using a plasma cutter at the City works yard. Some of the images have been so successful that they have been used in other parts of the city as well.

Sidewalks were installed on Heather Street from 49th Avenue to Marine Drive and there was the opportunity to imprint the metal stencil directly into fresh cement. In the Mount Pleasant case,  a metal stencil will be…

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