Athens Carter: In My opinion

I really quite enjoyed the Athens charter part in the course.  I may regret saying this but i actually enjoyed reading the Athens Charter.  I like that Le Corbusier actually made realistic guidelines, and there was very specific instructions as to what needed to be done to great the best city, the happiest people and the safest areas.  I really enjoyed the fact that there is a science as to what direction the buildings have to be facing so that the residents get the ideal amount of sunlight to make them the happiest that they can be.  I think that this is so important because of the seasonal affected disorder.  I think that in the dark days if there is still some sort of sunlight that many people would be less affected.  I think that this “master plan” could not only fix the physical community space, it could also fix mental problems.

Also the importance of green spaces.  I think that it is very important to have many green spaces especially with so many people living in high rises.  It is important to have areas that people can just be free and roam free.  It is an area that children can run and be free. But it also looks as if the nature has not been completely destroyed. There is some hope for the area, and it is not just a town of mass amounts of concrete.

For me I really I enjoyed the Athens Charter because of its practicality.

Kelowna and West Kelowna

I have been thinking a lot during this class as to why the City of Kelowna and the City of West Kelowna seem to be so awkwardly planned.  The main reason that I can come up with is the lake.  Everyone wants to be near the lake or to see the lake.  Our lifestyle revolves around the lake, whither we know it or not.  The main reason people migrate to this area is the lake.  So around the lake there are more and more high rises going up so the amount of people that can be near the lake is much denser.  Also the houses near the lake are extremely expensive, and the lots are very small.  It is all about the view and the connivence of living right on the water.  And between the two cities there is one road that connects them, and that highway is really the only way to get around in the cities.  A driver pretty much has to either cross the highway or merge onto the highway to get anywhere.

This is a problem that I have with the urban planning of the two cities.  There is only one way to get around, and over the lake.  This seems like the worst type of planning. How is this convient or practical for anyone. What if the bridge just happened to get crumble and break. How would people get back and forth. There was no back up plan that went into planning that crossing.

Reflection On HIST 461

For me, I took this class because when I went to change my schedule there was no other history courses that looked interesting and that were open.  In the beginning of the course I really did not give this class a fair shot.  I just kept thinking to myself, what is the point of this, there cannot be that much that goes into planning a city, and if there is how come every city that I hate lived in seems to be horribly planned out.  I do not understand how people are paid to make up these plans and either they are not carried out properly, or just planned so poorly.

I was poorly mistaken.  This class has opened my eyes to an extraordinary amount of thought and planning that has gone into planning every city.  The amount of people that have tried to create the ultimate master plan, is so numerous!

This class has 100% opened my eyes to the amount of planning that goes into urban planning.  I now drive or fly into Edmonton, Alberta, my hometown and see all sorts of different topics that we have discussed in class. For example green spaces close to high rises, how dense population is around water, and just in general where pockets of people live and make their homes.  Also I notice the monuments and the building as a monument.  The parliament building in edmonton is made to be a marvel.  Of course, it is older now and not so much amazing.  But you could see when it was built that it probably was this amazing feat.

Reflections on Urban Planning

This course has been really eye-opening in terms of aspects of history I’ve never thought of before. While the events that correlate to a lot of these changes in urban planning are talked about frequently (the London Fire of 1066, the French Empire, the Soviet Union, the GDR, etc.), the study of urban history offers a unique perspective that manages to mash together the public, the government, and the corporate sectors in order to show the experiences of a city from the perspective of everyone.

If this course has taught nothing else, it is that humanity will always strive to better itself by bettering its surroundings. We seem to have an innate need to reflect our changing ideas through our physical presence on the earth, even if the next generation promptly removes all traces of it. I’m sure the people who debate human nature would have a lot to say about rebellion and memorialisation as human characteristics, but it doesn’t change the fact that people strive to do greater in everything they do, and that includes architecture.

I, for one, am grateful for this. The need to do something better than everyone else has introduced great technological marvels: housed thousands of people; changed how we think about motion; facilitated the introduction of the car as the transportation of choice; and created communities in neighbourhoods that would otherwise be condemned. There was a lot of good that came out of striving for the sociologically perfect city. We are quick to condemn the failed planning ventures, probably because hindsight is 20/20 and anything that appeals to the goodness in humanity is seen as naïve in today’s society. But it didn’t stop a lot of people from trying, and it doesn’t stop people from trying today. “The temptation to quit is greatest just before you succeed”, and I think we’re at a point in society where it is tempting to quit. But I think we’re also at a point that, with a little more effort, real change could happen in city planning.

Thanks to Brigitte for doing a wonderful job of teaching this class!

The Athens Charter: Hoogvliel and Bijlmeer

For our second essay assignment we were required to describe the extent of how the Athens Charter was implemented in the (re)construction and development of certain areas in/close to cities throughout Europe. During my research I was surprised and impressed by the extent to which the policies of the AC were implemented into the cities and areas throughout the European nations – particularly in the Netherlands (Rotterdam and Amsterdam). During and after the end of the Second World War, the Dutch naval ports and city transportation hubs were essential for the movement and transport of men and supplies – both military and civilian –  throughout Western Europe. In order to meet the growing demands for its allies, and to provide proper medical and residential aid for the beleaguered Dutch, the Netherlands underwent massive re-development and reconstruction from the destruction left behind by the Nazis occupation forces and Allied total warfare.

In his article about the urban renewal policies in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, Graff provides an in-depth description of the intense reconstruction of the city borough of Hoogvliet in the central area of Rotterdam. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Hoogvliet feel behind its neighboring regions in terms of residential housing and educational infrastructure, resulting in most of its younger citizens leaving to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Consequently, Hoogvliet was subjugated to several reconstruction programs designed to improve its educational and recreational stability. Even today these improvements play a key role in the city’s expansion as a major naval port and trade center for Rotterdam and the Netherlands in a whole.

Graff, P.F. van der (Jan. 2009). “Out of place? Emotional ties to the neighborhood in urban renewal in the Netherlands and the United Kingdoms”. Amsterdam: Vossiuspers UvA – Amsterdam University Press, XV, 313.


Segregation in French Suburbs Leads to the Alienation of Minorities

The French suburbs, or the banlieue, have been the sites for high poverty, crime and unemployment rates.   They also happen to house a large portion of France’s immigrant population (Musterd, 2008). During the years that followed World War Two, the French government encouraged immigration from its former colonies to help the lacking labour market. The Algerian War resulted in many immigrants finding habitation in “shantytowns” on the outskirts of French cities after being released from internment camps (Kjeilen, n.d.). As cities started to become more developed, these shantytowns were abandoned and immigrants moved to apartments that were relatively cheap to rent, which went on to be demolished with no other social housing plans in sight. This forced immigrants to be pushed to the suburbs, leading to the ghettoization of them (Musterd, 2008). As a result, this segregation appears to feed into a sort of neo-colonialism in France.

Second generation immigrants, an alienating term in itself, are feeling the brunt of these racist ideologies. A study done by BBC found that the unemployment was higher among North African university students compared to White French Students (BBC News, 2005). This has led to a feeling of hopelessness among second generation students. Racial profiling proliferates in the banlieue (Valentine, 2005). A 2005 Amnesty International report finding that the judicial system in France appears to condone racially motivated violence by police forces (Amnesty International, 2005). A report four years later by the same organization found that the French government did not appear to investigate racially motivated murders and abuses by the police (Amnesty International, 2009).

Muslims in France have had an extremely hard time being accepted and integrated into the French community, with Algerian Muslims being subjected to a “quasi-apartheid” during the time Algeria was a French colony (Bell and Gaffney, 2000). These feelings towards Muslims, and subsequently Islam, have continued to present day. The lack of opportunities for these people, and a fear created mostly by the media, has alienated a whole population. If these people felt discriminated against and powerless, they may have turned to an organization which offered them some sort of power and control. Since their faith is often attacked, a group that believes in the superiority of that faith would be appealing. This fear of “the Other” and Islamophobia, something that runs rampant in Western Society, has made way for extremists to pick these youths up because they have no one else batting for them. Of course, I am in no way blaming or even suggesting this is the fault of any one of the victims of these serious attacks, but maybe it’s time for Westerners to realize that people of colour are just as entitled to having a meaningful place in Western society as they are. Immigrants and visible minorities should also get the chance to feel patriotic about the countries they live in, not just scared and ostracized. Why humanity always seems to repeat history’s civil rights mistakes, even though we look back at how people were treated with horror and disgust, is a question society at large really needs to attend to.


Works Cited

Bell, D., & Gaffney, J. (2000). Political Leadership: From the Fourth to the Fifth Republic. In Presidential power in Fifth Republic France. Oxford: Berg Publications.

France: The search for justice : The effective impunity of law enforcement officers in cases of shootings,deaths in custody or torture and ill-treatment. (2005, April 5). Retrieved from

French Muslims face job discrimination. (2005, November 2). BBC News. Retrieved from

Kjeilen, T. (n.d.). Pied-Noir. In LookLex Encyclopedia. Norway.
Musterd, S. (2008). Banlieues, the Hyperghetto and Advanced Marginality: A Symposium on Loïc

Wacquant’s Urban Outcasts. City, 12(1), 107-114. Retrieved November 27, 2015, from

Public outrage: Police officers above the law in France. (2009, April 2). Retrieved from

Valentine, V. (2005, November 8). Economic Despair, Racism Drive French Riots. National Public Radio.

Retrieved from



The Social and Physical Effects of Socialist Regime on China

The past few classes, we have discussed how the socialist regime dictated how cities are developed in eastern European countries, and how they have changed in post-socialist times. It was interesting to me that influences of economics and politics have a profound affect on cities. In another class that I am in, I am researching on the Peoples Republic of China and its societal and urban restraints of the Hukou System. The Hukou System is a household registration system that dictates largely where and how people live between rural and urban areas within China. Broadly, the system was designed to not only provide population statistics and identify personal status but to also regulate population distribution. A rural migrant seeking work in an urban area would lose access to services such as health care, employer –provided housing and would not qualify for grain rations (Pines, 344). The Hukou system can be traced back to 1317 (Young, 30), but the modern origins began in the 1950s when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) began to follow a Soviet-style development that promoted heavy industrialization. Urban planning during 1950-1960 in communist China was focused on selecting locations for factories and industrial plants, service facilities as well as design the layout of industrial towns and residential districts. (Tang, 347). Similar to communist Russia, China’s plans included formulistic street patterns, grand building designs and monuments, and large public squares as a way to demonstrate the power of the communist era (Tang, 350). During the Great Leap Forward in the early 1960s, the planning of the socialist city under the People’s Republic of China placed peoples livelihoods second to the socialist principles, resulting in large-scale urban development and little progress of residential facilities and amenities. The Great Leap Forward demanded a large amount of labour and so a great internal migration between rural to urban areas occurred. To fund the rapid industrialization that the PRC sought, the PRC turned to the countryside to extract its agricultural resources. Rural workers moved to the cities to seek work due to a rising famine after the extraction, placing a strain on the infrastructure of the cities. As a result, rural workers lost their social welfare benefits as dictated by the Hukou system. A social order also emerged due to the Hukou system as urban governments looked after urban residents while rural citizens would essentially be left to fend for themselves (Wallace, 81). Socialist policies greatly affected not only China’s urban development, but also rural development as well. Although the PRC sought to match western industrialization growth, the divide between rural and urban citizens grew quite large which affected the country not only socially, but economically.

This is a quick summary of the PRC and the Hukou system, but it is apparent that the socialist ideology has affected many areas, resulting in not only a physical change in China’s city, but a social change as well.


Pines, David. Topics in Public Economics: Theoretical and Applied Analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 1998. Print.


Tang, W.-S. “Chinese Urban Planning at Fifty: An Assessment of the Planning Theory Literature.” Journal of Planning Literature 14.3 (2000): 347-66. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.


Wallace, Jeremy L. “China’s Loophole to the Faustian Bargain of Urban Bias.” Cities and Stability: Urbanization, Redistribution, & Regime Survival in China. Oxford UP, 2014. 73-80. Print.


Young, Jason. China’s Hukou System Markets, Migrants and Institutional Change. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.


Lake Country’s Approach to a Greener Tomorrow: The District of Lake Country’s Hydro Dam Project

Urban Planners often take into consideration the importance of spatial concerns; often these environmental concerns are directly correlated to the city’s design. Aspects like public works, and the city layout are designed to address the immediate environmental concerns. The initiatives that each city takes on are issues that are directly correlation in the municipal area.  During a shift in the twentieth century, urban planners began to look deeper into environmental sustainability. This shift can be seen in sanctuary creation and more environmentally friendly projects within the urban design. This year, the District of Lake Country, a merging of Winfield, Oyama, and Carrslanding turned twenty. The District’s primary goal was to promote a more environmentally friendly region with the introduction of initiatives like wild-life reservations, and the recently completed hydro dam.  The turbine generator project for the district was first envisioned a century ago with the creation of the first irrigation system to supply water to Okanagan orchards.

Lake Country’s water originated from reservoirs at high elevations, a hydro generation system was feasible.  Due to the seasonal instability of water flow, and the lack of financial support, the idea did not receive support until the twenty-first century.  In 2003, efforts were initiated to create a hydro dam with further government funding and technology.  In composed urban plans, in the nineteenth-century, financial concerns are put forward as an obstacle in practical implementation.  Major concerns around the project was the risk involved in investing in such a large plan.  Stakeholders had initially shown concern that the project was too high risk. Upon approaching the water service advisory commission, Utility Manager Jack Allingham, from the district returned with a diplomatic response of ten against at one for it. Despite the negative response, the council in Lake Country pushed for the project and provided a unanimous vote; the project cost four million dollars.  Despite this large price tag, the District of Lake Country received a significant subsidization; “a two million dollar grant from the federal Gas Tax and another half a million through the Community Works Fund”, and “The remainder of the capital was covered through low interest municipal loans and a 10 year production grant from Natural Resources Canada”.  It was predicted that the financial return would provide enough financial support to pay off these small loans.  Along with initiatives to pay for the dam project, the district created a fund that would direct the Dam’s profits to future green initiatives.  The District expects profits to be able to contribute four-point-five million dollars to this fund over the next twenty years.  This August, the micro turbine is able to provide electricity to four-hundred inhabitants in Lake Country.  This project, now twelve-year-old hydro dam project in Lake Country, reinforces that modern urban planners have shifted from a singular approach to public works to more dual perspective.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, you can watch the embedded video:




“An Old Idea Gets New Life: District of Lake Country’s Turbine Generator.” BC Climate Action Toolkit. Accessed November 28, 2015.

incorporating cars into the cities

The reading “Mediator of Modernity” by Per Lundin had me pondering wether the ideas of the American way of life gained hegemony in Europe after the War or were kept at arms length by the Europeans countries not eager to appropriate those notions.
Certain elements of the American culture were picked by the Europeans and assimilated to the re-building of the post-war societies. Ultimately, post-was Europe is best described as a process of selective appropriation (pick and choose) rather than the wholesale acceptance or rejection of American ideals and models.

The post-War Europe was eager for modernity in its post-war reconstruction efforts. The period also fostered an economical growth and a mass motoring in Europe. Unlike most American cities, which had grown with the automobile (and still facing challenges), the Europeans cities are not designed to accommodate this change.

The planners were thus force to innovate in order to address the new challenges imposed on the cities by the automobiles. The automobile as forced to re-think and re-shape the urban image unlike anything else before or after. It also became a pressing problems on European cities that have grown for century without it and very suddenly need to make space for the increasing number.

Should motor trafic be restricted or embrace?

Time as shown us that the European cities were able to adapt to the automobile by creating their own model. They emphasis on alternate ways of transportation and the design of their city is more convenient for the pedestrians and short commute. The relative proximity from everything make owning a car futile for many city resident.
Us Canadian, faced with different spacial challenges, would have a lot to learn from the planning and incorporation of the automobile in European cities. I feel like most European cities are planned for people and adapted for cars were as here we assit to the opposite tendency.

The Church of Bones

If you’ve ever been to Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic then chances are you’ll be familiar with their most famous tourist attraction: The Church of Bones. This is not just a name either The Church of Bones is literally made out of human bones. In the 13th century CE, a priest came home from Palestine with a pocketful of soil that he then sprinkled in the cemetery that surrounded the Chapel of All Saints. From that point on the graveyard was an overwhelmingly popular burial site (especially for aristocrats). In fact it was so popular that they quickly ran out of space so they began exhuming bodies in order to make room for newcomers. The remains that were exhumed from the graveyard were placed in the chapel. The bones grew so many that by 1870 František Rint, a woodcarver, was commissioned to use these bones as decoration for the chapel and to “create a reminder of the impermanence of human life and inescapable death”(site).This is exactly what he did.


web2 2(site)

web3(site)web3 2(site)
Even though this may seem very off topic for a history of urban development class it is a solution to aid in the functionality of this city. By means of being able to store upwards of 40,000 human remains in one chapel. Besides this, it is an undeniably beautiful (albeit creepy) piece of historical architecture that brings tourists in from all over the world. And The Church of Bones is not the only example of its kind.

Paris had a similar problem, it was such a popular city to live and die in that they too needed a solution for the large amount of human remains within the city. Therefore they built catacombs, and between the years 1786-1788 virtually all bodies in Paris were exhumed from their burial spots and placed in the catacombs. It somewhat resembles (to a lesser extent) the Church of Bones in the Czech Republic. However the catacombs hold upwards of an astonishing 6 million bodies.



web1 3(site)


So it is easy to see that the catacombs of Paris are less artistic than the Church of Bones however both places managed to solve the same problem. They needed a new place to store or bury the exhumed bodies that were taking up all of the desirable grave plots so they found ways to not only store the remains but to turn them into points of interest for the cities themselves. Now they are seen as tourist destinations and there are people today who want to be part of these displays when they pass, which is in fact possible. Would you be interested in being a part of one of these displays?


Notes from ANTH 430 Tatiana Nomokonova. Nov. 2015