From Medellin to North Vancouver: World Inspirations

On Wednesday night we heard from Graham Macdonald, graduate associate of the University of Toronto’s ‘Cities Centre’, as he presented his Masters thesis to us on ‘Creativity in Vanuatu and Social Urbanism in Medellin (Colombia)’.  Many thanks to Graham for sharing his insights and time with the group!  While there’s more to come on the lessons learned from his presentation, here are a couple of quick thoughts inspired by the example of Medellin that could have some resonance with North Vancouver:

1) At the stakeholder’s meeting for the development of the Central Waterfront, much discussion was held regarding appropriate forms of shelter for Lot 5.  Indeed, recognising that Vancouver rains for close to 300 days a year (I might be exaggerating….this is what’s called ‘intuitive research’), shelter is all important.  Many of the designs floated thus far look like semi-enclosed warehouse spaces, holding up the stern of the Flamborough Head.  How fabulous is this picture of Medellin’s Botanical Garden however?  When we’re looking for shelter, how inspirational is this sort of design for creating outstanding public space!

2)  Medellin is becoming known for its network of gondolas that link hard to access parts of the city.  These gondolas are not a ride, they’re a part of the public transit network.  In conversation this afternoon we casually asked the question, how amazing would a similar gondola system be running up Lonsdale!  The idea took traction, and led to an exploratory petitition that made the rounds of the very busy Waterfront Park.  People’s curiosity seemed piqued.  No impact to the traffic below, a continuous loop of service, no major destruction of road infrastructure to build it, fabulous views of the city and the North Shore, a tourist draw and an efficient transit alternative.  Interesting….

What do you think?  Feasible?

More on this to come, but please feel free to comment below.