Hey all! I hope the new year is treating you well so far! Just a quick post to let people know about a couple of cool initiatives to recently get started in Regina – the Queen City Hub and Regina Advocates for Design. I think that both are going to add a lot of energy and fresh perspective into the discussion about how our city will and should grow in the coming years.
I heard about Regina Advocates for Design from a friend, and I have to say I’m pretty excited! RAD is a group of architects, landscape architects, planners, and design professionals and their mission is “to advocate for the importance of design and innovation in Regina’s built environment”. The group is quite new but they’ve already hosted their first film screening earlier this month (featuring the film Archiculture) as well as a lecture about the work of Arthur Erickson in early December. It’s great to see an active public discussion about design and architecture in the city!
Queen City Hub is a new co-work space in downtown Regina. There are a lot of great co-work spaces in cities across Canada, a number of which we’ve talked about before including the Centre for Social Innovation (Toronto), the HUB (Halifax), and the TwoTwenty (Saskatoon), so I’m very excited to see this starting in our city! In addition to flexible work spaces, they also host community events. This week they hosted Hub Social: Building Cultural Capacity in Regina, examining the role of community organizations, cultural institutions, and citizens in the growth of our city.
It’s great to see more people engaging in these types of initiatives and discussions. I look forward to seeing how both of these initiatives develop this year!
This week on my way home on the bus, I passed through the Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal – a district featuring a number of cultural institutions and located near to the Université du Québec à Montréal. As the bus stopped, I was delighted to see (and hear) one of my favourite playful public installations back in the city for the spring!
21 Balancoires is a very fun installation by the group Daily tous les jours (we covered another one of their projects as a Friday Feature a few years ago) – it’s part street furniture and part game. The project consists of 21 swings that make music while you swing. Whimsical and lovely? Yes! What’s better? The project is meant to encourage participants to cooperate with one another. If you cooperate and communicate with your fellow swingers, new melodies emerge. In this great interview, Mouna Andraos (one of the artists) says, “To make music, you need more than one person. And to make that music evolve, you have to communicate with the other person, in one way or another!” I highly suggest reading the interview to get more info on the artists and their collaboration with a professor of animal behaviour for the project.
The design of the swings is bright and colourful and at night, the lights on the bottom of the seats create fun effects as people swing. The project has been installed in Montreal for a few summers and I can’t wait to make the treck down there (maybe this weekend) to play again!
I’d love to see a project like this installed (even temporarily) in Regina’s City Square Plaza. Something that would provide a passive and fun activity for passersby (seriously who doesn’t like to sit and swing for awhile?) and add a sense of play and joy to such a key central space in the downtown.
A Hackerspace, according to Hackerspace.org ,”are community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects.” A place where people can go and take things apart, work cooperatively and learn from each other in order to complete various projects.
A meeting was held by people in Computer Science at the University of Regina to see what kind of interest there was in having a hackerspace in the city. Around 60 people came out, enough to support the creation of space and thus Crash Bang Labs was born.
Today we have a bit of a treat – I’m sharing the first update from my Masters of Urban Planning (MUP) classmates on how their summer planning internships are going. I decided to start by asking Emma – who is working for the VERY cool Pop-Up City in Amsterdam (dream job, right?)! I thought, since Emma was doing some blogging for her internship, it would be fun to share her experience right away. So, here is the update from Amsterdam!
I am doing my summer internship with Golfstromen in the heart of Amsterdam. The company’s main claim to fame is their blog, The Pop-Up City. The blog covers trends in design and ideas for cities, particularly those that involve a “dynamic and flexible interpretation of contemporary urban life”. Golfstromen is also a regular contributor to other urban-related blogs, the curator for PechaKucha Amsterdam, and consultant for various urban design projects.
The office is small, laidback and fun to work in. We enjoy a communal picnic lunch everyday! On the flip side, I feel that I’m given too much latitude in my work. Being a first-time blogger, I’d really appreciate more guidelines on finding and structuring content for the blog. I’d also like to work on more urban design projects like the one they did for the Rotterdam Police on anti-theft awareness.
That being said, I can’t really complain because I’ve only been in the office a few weeks and it is really fun AND it fits perfectly with my research project on temporary uses of urban space. Being here in the Netherlands, I’m surrounded by really great temporary urban interventions from street furniture to cultural events.
So that’s the news from the ‘Dam, hope to have more exciting stuff to report on by the end of the summer!
This week the city and consultants IBI are holding open houses to discuss Regina’s transportation Master Plan. There are two remaining meetings from 11am to 3pm at the Southland Mall on Friday and again the same time at Victoria Square Mall Saturday. Here‘s the Leader Post’s reflections from the first open house Wednesday.
This is a great opportunity to let the city know that active transportation options must be promoted in Regina. If different planning processes, like the Transportation Master Plan or OCP, continually show that people want improved active transportation resources in the city, its more likely citizens will begin to see changes.
Tuesday there were three design Regina meetings at the Artesian on 13th Avenue to discuss Strategic Priorities from the OCP process. You can view the slide deck for the presentation on the Design Regina website (here).
If you want to participate in the discussion, there is a survey you can fill out(here). Survey’s are due by April 3rd, any submitted by the deadline will be included in the report to Executive Committee on April 25th and then on to City Council on April 30th. If you want to present at Council, contact the City Clerk’s office by calling 777-7000 or submit an Online Request Form, the Clerk’s office will contact you with information. You can find information on presenting as a delegation from the City website (here).
For a review of the meeting, continue past the jump.
I want to share a piece from BBC News’ special Altered States about getting people walking in US cities once more.
The video does a great job of highlighting the problems with sprawl while also providing positive ideas (Matt Tomasulo: city hero) for change. The city in question, Raleigh, North Carolina, has some serious infrastructure challenges to over come, especially in suburban areas.
This video actually makes me feel optimistic about Regina’s chances for suburban retrofit. Comparing our suburbs to featured areas of Raleigh, Regina neighbourhoods have a better foundation to build upon.