Experiencing and exploring contemporary conundrums with urban and industrial lands
A most unusually unsexy topic for planning is that of industrial lands. The re-design and re-use of buildings and lands that are most stereotypically associated with pollution and nuisance, however, are soon if not already a challenge for many metropolitan areas.
This is a point that I, along with seven other undergraduate students and a community colleague would better come to understand during a two-week excursion from February 24th until March 11th, 2020 to study urban, industrial lands in Vancouver. Through our visits and interviews, we confronted a changing reality for what we traditional conceive as industrial activities. The grating noises, intrusive smells, and rough surfaces still exist, though toxic emissions are much reduced. Moreover, they co-exist now with glassed laboratories, FOB accessible open-plan offices, smartly branded breweries, and discrete fab-lab storefronts. The emerging and parallel existence of these functions fall under an outdated category of industrial land use zoning. In the meantime, development pressures, especially for multi-family housing, increasingly encroach upon these uses.
Questions at Boundaries and during Uncertainty: A Post-Growth Context
What happens when we reach the boundaries of growth? Do we suddenly confront restrictions and drastic change that are inevitable? Or do we meet these edges with a different way of thinking and also alternative meanings and intentions for growth? Could these alternative meanings help us to live patterns that do not circle our own egos and fears? Could they help us to craft cultures and practices that are thoughtful and curious? Above all, how can we aim for a respectful growth that expands in quality as opposed to quantity? This struggle lies at the heart of a concept that was been recently recognized in the German urban and regional planning discourse, and bodies such as the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL).
Reconciling the conceptual and actual implications of urban resilience is struggle that should not only be taken up in later phases of scholarly discourses, but in early phases of developing academic education. Indeed, the process of epistemological untangling is something that we as educators as well as researchers should better confront. The former more so than the latter, as we might learn a thing or two from the process ourselves. Continue reading →
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