Sunday, April 23, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Site plan elevations

Site plan
Looking south
Looking west
Looking east

Looking north

Further thoughts on the
South Downtown Nanaimo Waterfront

In 1961, Jane Jacobs in her famously influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, observed that for a neighbourhood to be successful economically and socially it needs four essential elements. All four must be present. She called them the generators of diversity. They are:
  1. Primary mixed uses. At least two primary functions that bring people at different times of the day to and through the neighbourhood.
  2. A short block street grid creating walkability, social and commercial exchanges.
  3. A range of new and old buildings. Old ideas are fine in new buildings but “new ideas need old buildings.”
  4. Density.
The South Downtown Waterfront Lands (the portion of the City owned site where the proposed multiplex arena was to be located) potentially scores highly on 3 of the 4.
Three essential questions occur. The answers to these questions, particularly number 1 will determine whether there's any point in going further.
  1. Is what I'm proposing of any interest to the Snuneymuxw First Nation? (Do they see economic opportunity here that recognizes their Treaty rights and might there be grounds for settlement of outstanding land claims?)
  2. Is what I'm proposing of any interest to the marketplace? Investment by the private sector (and the public sector, investment by the senior levels of government.)
  3. Does what I'm proposing meet the principles established by the South Downtown Waterfront Committee?
Primary mixed uses. At least two primary functions that bring people at different times of the day to and through the neighbourhood.
The realization of the potential of the site depends to a great extent on the activities in the areas surrounding it. It's essential that the City of Nanaimo revisit its plan to site the foot passenger ferry at the terminal location originally proposed here. The western section of the site should be held undeveloped until all hope is lost of bringing commuter and tourist rail into the site. The site itself lends itself to a range of residential uses (including live/work studios for designers, artisans, architects etc) and I'm suggesting direct involvement by the Snuneymuxw First Nations and senior levels of government, investing in research and educational and training facilities , innovation incubator campus. I want to know more about a proposed Ocean Discovery Centre. It may be well-sited east of Front St. anchoring a brilliant new waterfront plaza.

Short block street grid creating walkability, social and commercial exchanges. 
An unappreciated contributor to a neighbourhood's social, civic, and commercial vitality. I've imagined 6 blocks of interconnected value-creating walkability approximately where a single use City-owned multiplex arena was proposed.

Range of new and old buildings.
Revitalized urban railyards seldom have old economy bones that invite repurposing. The question arises: Is there sufficient older building stock in the immediate area to supply this low cost element for fledgling enterprises?

Compact urbanism is proving itself again and again to be the key to a city's future success. Nanaimo has famously low-population density and keeps sprawling with a near exclusive commitment to the private automobile. Retrofitting density has proven difficult but we have made progress downtown. The compact clustering of interconnected uses I'm proposing here is unmatched anywhere in the city (with the possisible exception of the Fitzwilliam / Wesley Old City Quarter.)

I've imagined the site developed for different models of urban residences and institutional / educational facilities — • 12 live / work studios 3 x 3 storey rental + market apts mix of non-market, social housing 8 Up-market 3 storey town houses Innovation centre campus 5 storey office / educational / training / research.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

City of Vancouver —
Cycling Routes Design Guidelines
Click the illustration for a link to the City of Vancouver's
Transportation  Design Guidelines: All Ages and Abilities Cycling Routes pdf

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

From ArchDaily
4 Important Things to Consider When Designing Streets For People, Not Just Cars

Go to any medieval European city and you will see what streets looked like before the advent of the car: lovely, small narrow lanes, intimate, and undisputedly human-scale. We have very few cities in the US where you can find streets like this. For the most part what you see is streets that have been designed with the car in mind—at a large scale for a fast speed. In my native San Francisco, we are making the streets safer for walking and biking by widening sidewalks, turning car lanes into bike lanes, and slowing down the cars. We are working with the streets we have; a typical San Francisco street is anywhere from 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 meters) wide, as compared with a medieval, pre-car street which is more like 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) wide... Read more: 4 Important Things to Consider When Designing Streets For People, Not Just Cars | ArchDaily

Friday, March 17, 2017

From Vox — Superblocks: How Barcelona
is taking city streets back from cars

From Connecting Dots . . .
Ten Principles of Great Transit Planning

Some work I’ve been undertaking over the past couple weeks related to a prairie community got me thinking about what the “laws” or principles of transit planning might be. By this I don’t mean the principles of good transit service design: the best practices for designing route networks, schedules, infrastructure, their accompanying plans and so on.  Instead, I’m talking about the pithy statements that act as guides to the practice of transit planning itself... Read more: Ten Principles of Great Transit Planning - Connecting Dots . . .