Tag Archives: Cities

ANOTHER CITY IS POSSIBLE: Come hear some of the best thinkers in Vancouver and talk about the future of the city

ANOTHER CITY IS POSSIBLE: Come hear some of the best thinkers in Vancouver and talk about the future of the city

A series of coffeehouse events hosted by Matt Hern and following up on his new book COMMON GROUND IN A LIQUID CITY: ESSAYS IN DEFENSE OF AN URBAN FUTURE. Each event will feature presentations by featured speakers and a short reading, with lots of time for conversation, questions and discussion. It’s a great opportunity to meet, talk, argue and consider the future of Vancouver with some compelling thinkers.

These events are all free. Please pre-register. You are welcome to just show up – but if you pre-register we’ll save you a seat – there are only 30 spots and they’ll all be full.

To sign up contact Matt Hern – matt@mightymatthern.com

SUNDAY, JANUARY 17th, 6:00 pm
Rhizome Café (Broadway and Kingsway)
All great cities have a certain flavour and vitality. How does a city get that life and vitality? How does Vancouver get some flavour?
-with-David Beers, Michael Geller, Joan Seidl, Marcus Youssef and Matt Hern

THURSDAY, JANUARY 28th, 7:00 pm
Riddim and Spice (1945 Commercial Dr. – at 3rd)
A great city has to take care of its people. But what does security mean? What is real safety? Who has a right to the city? How might Vancouver be designed so that ‘city air’ really does make people free?
-with-Am Johal, David Eby, Harsha Walia, Lance Berelowitz and Matt Hern

SATURDAY, JANUARY 30th, 7:00 pm
Riddim and Spice (1945 Commercial Dr. – at 3rd)
What is a great city? Should Vancouver even be trying to be one? What would a great city look like here?
-with-Frances Bula, Erick Villagomez, Gord Price, Carm Mills, Dustin Rivers and Matt Hern

SUNDAY, JANUARY 31st, 1:00 pm
The Purple Thistle Centre
(975 Vernon Dr. – at Parker)
A great city has to be an ecological city. What should urban agriculture look like here? What does ‘food security’ really mean? Can a real city feed itself – should it even try? Does ‘greening’ the city undermine its social vitality?
-with-David Tracey, Conrad Schmidt, Cease Wyss and Matt Hern and co-sponsored by COPE’s Freedom of Speech Series.


Matt Hern has a new blog. You’ll be a smarter and better person if you read it.

Mighty Matt Hern is an East Van superhero and the chief Canucklehead fan. He writes about lots of interesting stuff: community, cities, learning, deschooling. He has a new blog. I think you should read it.

Look out for his new book, Common Ground in a Liquid City, from AK Press.

Detroit, America’s most epic urban failure, part 2

Michigan Central Station, Detroit’s main train station, opened in 1913 has not been used since 1988. (Photo by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre)

Earlier this month I blogged about Detroit as America’s most epic urban failure. My buddy Detroit Rich just tipped me off to a depressingly beautiful Time magazine photo essay of Detroit—Detroit’s Beautiful, Horrible Decline—which features the photography of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. Also check out the Marchand and Meffre “Ruins of Detroit” photo essay on their web site.

Detroit, America’s Most Epic Urban Failure

[Above image: “Detroit Industry” – Detroit Institute of Arts ( Diego Rivera ) – View 1, from DetroitDerek’s Flickr photostream.]

Over the past decade or so, I’ve visited Detroit many times, so as I read Mark Binelli’s profile of this dying city in the most recent Rolling Stone (#1073) there was a lot of resonance with my Motown experiences.

The article, of course, focuses on the auto industry, the government bailouts and Binelli uses a visit to the Detroit Auto Show to explore the decline of the industry and the city. But the most compelling part of the article describes a tour of the deindustrial wastelands of downtown Detroit that Binelli takes with Detroitblogger John to see abandoned factories, houses, and office buildings; grassy fields, which used to be crowded working and middle class residential neighborhoods and are now homes to coyotes and other wild life.

Check out photos at DetroitBlog.org or KenTakesPictures “Detroit” Flickr photoset or Derek Farr’s “Detroit Ruins” Flickr photoset to get an idea of what Detroit looks like these days. (KenTakesPictures describes the areas around the old GM factories as resembling scenes from 28 Days Later and Mogadishu)

You can also explore disappeared Detroit here and here.

Binelli vaguely hints at but doesn’t explore Detroit’s spirit of resistance, which is too bad because the history of the city is in many ways a history of resistance. There’s no doubt that Detroit is ground zero of the urban crisis in the US, but it is also home to many people who have and continue to work against racism, labor exploitation, and other inequalities.

Detroit’s also the birthplace of The Rouge Forum, which drew inspiration for it’s name from Detroit’s River Rouge and the River Rouge auto factory, which at one time was the largest factory in the world.

“The Rouge is both nature and work. The Rouge has never quit; it moves with the resilience of the necessity for labor to rise out of nature itself. The river and the plant followed the path of industrial life throughout the world. The technological advances created at the Rouge, in some ways, led to better lives. In other ways, technology was used to forge the privilege of the few, at the expense of most–and the ecosystems, which brought it to life, The Rouge is a good place to consider a conversation, education, and social action.”

Join us at the Rouge Forum annual conference this May, we’ll be meeting at Eastern Michigan University in Yspilanti, close enough for a quick trip to Detroit.

[Rich Gibson has a good collection links that explore the urban, and particularly the educational, crises in Detroit at his web site.]