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Urban Planning

Architecture + Design Film Festival

Winnipeg design fanatics have something new to look forward to next week. Winnipeg’s first Architecture + Design Film Festival will run April 18 -21, with films showing at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Cinematheque.

This inaugural festival will present critically acclaimed films that focus on the importance of architecture and design in everyday life. Many of the films will address art, architecture and urban planning. The Architecture + Design Film Festival is being presented by Storefront MBUrban Idea and Cinematheque with support from the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The line-up includes Urbanized and Helvetica (dir. Gary Hustwit), Koolhaas Houselife (dirs. Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine), How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?(dirs. Carlos Carcas and Norberto Lopez Aamado), How to Make a Book With Steidl (dirs. Gereon Wetzel and Jorg Adolph), My Playground (dir. Kaspar Astrup Schroeder), Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (dir. Eric Bricker) and Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner (dir. Murray Grigor).

Tickets for Urbanized, showing Wednesday, April 18, can be purchased in advance at the Winnipeg Arts Council (103-110 Princess Street) and McNally Robinson Booksellers (Grant Park Shopping Centre), or at the door. All other tickets can be purchased at Cinematheque (100 Arthur Street) at the time of the screening.


Thanks to Jared at UMFM for the tip.

Of course the suburbs are growing..

Recent news about the suburbs being a hotspot of growth activity are exaggerated.. somewhat.

New reporting of the 2011 Census data is showing a good part of Canada’s population growth over the past five years occurred in the suburbs, and car-driving Conservatives are freaking out in joy. They say this supports their cry that highways should get priority over mass transit.

However that belief is misleading and perhaps delusional.

I could not put it better than Frances Bula has here:


First, what people don’t seem to get is that the central city is never going to grow quite as fast because, guess what people — it’s already filled up with buildings.

Saying that the suburbs are growing is like saying people in their 20s and 30s have more kids than people in their 40s and 50s.


Well said. Then Bula continues with a thought I would not have thought of initially:


But there’s also another error people make locally, which is not factoring in the existing area of a municipality when looking at its growth.


It’s perfectly fine that some people are patting themselves on the back for living in the suburbs, some are quite better than the inner city, but believing that the suburbs should take priority is a recipe for failure.


A Swedish-American company called Plantagon unveiled plans for a series of massive skyscraper greenhouses that stood to transform urban farming in large cities. Read more here.

Inside the massive glass walls, vegetables will be grown in pots and then transitioned to trays positioned around a giant central helix. The plants grow as the trays slowly migrate down the central core and are ready to be harvested once they reach the bottom. Plant residue and manure will be collected along the way and transformed into biogas to run the heating and cooling systems of the greenhouse. Scientists want the vertical farm to not only grow food but also help in developing sustainable solutions for energy, heat, waste, and water issues of daily city life.

Design contest for transportation plan

Vancouver is asking its citizens to vote on over 100 design proposals to replace its Georgia & Dunsmuir Viaducts, and the look of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

The city launched a proposal competition last month to redesign the aging bridges as well as the Eastern Core area. They received 104 submissions, most of which were designed by Metro residents.

You can view the submissions here. Voting ends November 25, 2011.

The winner of each part will be decided on December 1st and while there’s no commitment that the winning idea will result in construction, the City says the purpose of the competition is to encourage and foster the larger dialogue about the future of the city’s transportation plan.

The project in full is being introduced in three parts:

The first part is “Connecting the Core”, which is seeking “big picture” ideas for the future of the city’s Eastern Core.

The second part is “Visualizing the Viaducts” which includes conceptual designs for the land currently occupied by the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts and the neighbourhoods surrounding the transit ways and view corridor of the mountains. Some ideas call for the removal of the rail yards while others call for greenway parks.

The third part is what the City calls “The Wildcard”, which called on applicants to focus on one element that would “revolutionize” the way people see the Eastern Core.

When the original viaduct was built in 1915, it was meant to bypass the industrial lands and creek waters that were later drained to make room for the rail yards. There were structural problems however and in the late 1960s, the viaducts were rebuilt with aspirations for a larger freeway network connecting downtown to the Trans Canada Highway but popular opposition rejected this plan.

The current viaducts were constructed in 1972.

I applaud Vancouver for holding an innovative contest to foster dialogue of local residents of the future of its last remaining central ‘dead zone’ and hope more cities take notice.