Friday, August 25, 2023

The victory of the inter-city highway over the urban boulevard. This has been an especially bad time in Nanaimo's history to have had an anti-urban City Hall.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Roger Kemble passed away peacefully on
July 24th at the age of 94

"As much a visual artist as he was an architect, an urban planner, architectural activist, educator, and author, Roger’s impact on West Coast architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts is broad and wholly unique."
Post by @frank_murphy349
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Roger and I had become friends, it was more than fifteen years ago. An odder couple you'd be unlikely to encounter. He had written a letter to the editor about saving the foundry building at Swy-a-lana. I got in touch and we went to a meeting hosted by the City’s chief planner. Over the next several months and more than once we invited ourselves into the Mayor’s office for coffee and a discussion about creating a new performing arts centre at the foundry.
It was a time of great promise for Nanaimo’s downtown. There was a movement at that time opposed to the elimination of the Urban Containment Boundary. A new Official Community Plan looked poised to set Nanaimo on a path very different from the old OCP's commitment to “manage urban growth,” one more committed to near uncontrolled sprawl instead. I had moved our home and business downtown and become involved in what I and many hoped would be Nanaimo’s downtown renewal. Roger and I became eccentric comrades in arms.
Roger was an architect, already retired when I knew him back then, though he was later among the lead architects on the Vivo residential building on Frankly St, a project spearheaded by his family.
He was an urbanist to his bones. He loved the city, he loved the intense messy diversity of the city. From his 1989 book The Canadian City, Saint John’s to Victoria, Ch5 Downtown Spaces : "Of course our cities are in chaos; that's the way we like them... We love the occasional bustle, the competitive pace, the cacophonous din, the opportunity, the risk, the sleaze, glamour, great things happening, new ideas breaking out… “
I learned an immense amount from Roger, especially about the egalitarian importance of public space in the dense urban core. He echoed Jan Gehl when he would say “it’s about the space between the buildings.” Where Gehl and Holly Whyte importantly focused on the life between the buildings, Roger’s focus was on the physical space itself, its design and its equal opportunity access and use.

Around 2005 Roger had been planning a trip south, the direction he said his travels always tended to take him. His ambitions included, in addition to tango dancing in Buenos Aires, meeting with the legendary Brazilian architect and urban planner Jaime Lerner. Lerner, former Curitiba mayor and governor of the state of ParanĂ¡, had famously created the first Bus Rapid Transit system, an innovative above ground “subway system,” but carrying more passengers and for a fraction of the cost.
He intended to invite Lerner to Nanaimo to lead an urban planning symposium. I helped him with the proposal; we were bounced from council to committee and back again and again; our efforts producing in total only a letter of introduction from the mayor’s office to Lerner’s. But Roger did go tango dancing in Buenos Aires.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Post by @frank_murphy349
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Saturday, June 10, 2023

City Space podcast :: Will Canada be able
to house all the immigrants it hopes
to welcome by 2025?

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Monday, May 1, 2023

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Tuesday, February 28, 2023