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.
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.
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.
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.
Bell, D., & Gaffney, J. (2000). Political Leadership: From the Fourth to the Fifth Republic. In Presidential power in Fifth Republic France. Oxford: Berg Publications.
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.
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. http://www.toolkit.bc.ca/success-story/old-idea-gets-new-life-district-lake-countrys-turbine-generator.
I have been thinking a lot about the applications of city planning in Kelowna. However, when we briefly discussed it in class, I felt there was a very large and important component missing. British Columbia is unceded land. Indeed, we attend school on the the unceded land of the Syilx Nation. So what are the implications of this for settler society and city planning?
In this TedTalk, Dr. Jeannette Armstrong speaks about Indigeneity. Dr. Armstrong is an Okanagan knowledge keeper, Indigenous scholar and head of the Indigenous Studies department at UBC Okanagan. During her talk, Dr. Armstrong calls into question our ethics of development.
What motivates city planning in Kelowna? In short, resource exploitation, exploitation of the land, and depletion of natural capital are driving many mechanisms of planning in Kelowna. Dr. Armstrong suggests moving beyond this form of human-centric sustainability.
Re-Indigenization is about reconnecting to a specific place. Dr. Armstrong explains, Indigeneity occurs over a long period of time in a specific place, where people and organisms adapt and become interrelated. Living in a particular place, or being Indigenous, means participating in relationships that help regenerate the land and systems of that place. This idea stresses relationships or relationality. We have come across relationality and connectedness in urban planning through several different avenues. (Animation in the grands ensembles, systems rationale, and Jane Jacons emphasis on community relationships to place).
Vine Deloria, Jr. examines the place and power based conceptualization of American Indigenous people in “Power and Place Equal Personality” (2001). For Deloria, Western paradigms are unable to describe dynamic relationships (2001). Western knowing is based primarily on taxonomic identification and nomenclature, where objects are sorted out through a system of binaries (Deloria 2001). These naming hierarchies are viewed as infallible, however; they also accrue anomalies that cannot be explained by simple naming (Deloria 2001). Deloria writes, “American Indian knowledge of the world does not suffer this structural handicap” (2001:21).
Power is the animate energy that makes up the entirety of the universe while place is the “relationship of things to each other” (Deloria 2001:23). When these two concepts are understood in tandem, they create a sense of personality (Deloria 2001). That is to say, a person’s identity and role in the universe is equivalent to the energy of the universe combined with place or relationship. For many Indigenous people, these relationships have a moral component (Deloria 2001).
Furthermore, the moral component extends to prescriptive frameworks. Deloria postulates, “Thus, the Indian people were concerned about the products of what they did, and they sought to anticipate and consider all possible effects of their actions” (2001:23). This is extrapolated to create a sense of what is appropriate: How will relationships be impacted by actions and what is the appropriate respect and protocol (Deloria 2001)?
Relationships can be further defined and understood by examining Yale D. Belanger’s Ways of Knowing: An Introduction to Native Studies in Canada.
“To better understand the personal, interrelated nature of Creation, the oft-used example of the spider web is instructional. The web and all of its beings-be it the fly, the strands of the web, or the spider itself-merge to create one living organism. From a personal perspective, it may seem possible to travel to any part of that web without coming into contact with other relations such as the spider. From a distance, however, the web is an organism composed of a network of relations, and just like you the spider is itself an intrinsic part of the environment-it represents a relation within the web of life” (Belanger 2014:13).
Belanger goes on to explain that relationships exist as part of an interrelated whole, where constant change and interactions define “each person in relation to the surrounding environment and all of the beings inhabiting that territory” (2014:13). When considering city planning in Kelowna, perhaps Indigenous epistemologies should also be considered.
Belanger, Y. (2014). Ways of knowing: An Introduction to Native studies in Canada. Toronto,Ontario: Nelson Education.
Deloria, V. (2001). Power and Place Equal Personality. Power and Place: Indian Education in America. (21-28). Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing.
Mustafa Dikeç’s article “Police, Politics and the Right to the City”, one of the assigned readings, describes the issues involved with the Grand Ensembles in Paris, and how although they had their social issues, they were not a “crisis of the suburbs”, rather a social issue that faced the city, and not just the suburbs. Dikeç begins with an explanation that although the Grand Ensembles were social housing, they differed from the North American thought picture of social housing. However there is a direct correlation between the Grand Ensembles and slum like areas in North America, not specifically areas assigned to social housing but areas that the poor could afford to live in. This similarity is in the ability to find transportation, and the lack of basic necessities in that specific area.
The Grand Ensembles were on the outskirts of Paris and lacked many basic necessities and rights for people to access within walking distance or within walking distance from public transport. Which is similar to many poorer areas in North America. Many areas lack good grocery stores within walking distance, or near a bus route, so many of the people that live in these areas are forced to buy groceries from expensive stores, or simply eat out (at fast food restaurants). This problem occurs because purchasing groceries at reasonable price is simply not an option as there is no way to get to a store. Or in the case that schools may be too far from home to commute to for young students to attend. The problems go on about the issues caused by a lack of access to quality transportation. And this problem becomes the largest issue that is not currently being addressed.
In recent classes, we covered how the ideologies of certain regimes influenced the landscape of urban spaces. I found it interesting how the physical city is affected due to governments in power, and how this also impacts the people living within it. In December of 2013, I visited Cape Town, South Africa and explored what is a beautiful city and the surrounding areas. The city was impacted significantly by the rule of the apartheid regime. The ideology of apartheid was focused on the desire of the ruling party for racial segregation, to protect the privilege of the white minority and subordinate less-advantaged groups. (Turok, 244). As a result, many cities in South Africa, including Cape Town, developed unequally, and were divided socially and economically. Townships developed on the periphery of the cities, with the economic wealth and white population living within the city core. Urban planning was used as a means of social engineering and control in an attempt by the apartheid regime to maintain their idea of a social order. As a result of this racial segregation, the “states hostility to black urbanization deprived townships of essential services, housing and economic opportunities” (Turok, 243), resulting in high levels of poverty, marginalization and crime. Although the apartheid ended in 1994, the urban design of the city still defines the social and economic realities of modern Cape Town.
Before visiting Cape Town, I was aware of the history of apartheid in South Africa, but was naïve about how expansive poverty was in the townships. I was in South Africa visiting a friend who grew up in the area surrounding Cape Town, in a town called Somerset West. The high way drive from Somerset West to Cape Town is a straight road and before entering the city, the urban sprawl of the townships is visible. Stretching for miles on either side of the highway, the housing plots could not be described as adequate for modern housing relative to Canadian standards, with tin slates for walls and many having no doors. Numerous attempts have been made to improve the townships, such as the 2001 National Urban Renewal Programme although very little improvement has been made. The power of an ideology to shape the urban design of a city is incredible. Apartheid affected not only the physical look of the city, but also Cape Town’s social and economic realities, with poverty being just one example of a serious outcome that has developed within the townships. Similar to the Italian Fascist regime use of urban planning for propaganda to promote their ideas, the apartheid city planning has influenced not only how Cape Town was built, but how and where people, classes and races settled and continue to live.
Donaldson, Ronnie, Danie Du Plessis, Manfred Spocter, and Ruth Massey. “The South African Area-based Urban Renewal Programme: Experiences from Cape Town.” Journal of Housing and the Built Environment J Hous and the Built Environ 28, no. 4 (2013): 629-38. Accessed October 24, 2015. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.1007/s10901-013-9348-3.
Swardt, C. De, T. Puoane, M. Chopra, and A. Du Toit. “Urban Poverty in Cape Town.” Environment and Urbanization 17, no. 2 (2005): 101-11. Accessed October 24, 2015. doi:10.1177/095624780501700208.
Turok, Ivan. “Urban Planning in the Transition from Apartheid, Part 1: The Legacy of Social Control.” Town Planning Review 65, no. 3 (1994): 243. Accessed October 24, 2015. http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/stable/40113645.
On Friday October 16th, we watched a Russian silent film that was based around the worst aspects of humanity. While I was watching I couldn’t help but compare it to some of the silent films I had seen when I was younger. All the silent films I was used to were more light hearted and comedic than the Russian film. This demonstrates the difference in ideals between soviet and Western films at that time: During the late 1890’s-early 1900’s, all the Western films were produced to catch the attention of every member of society from children and teenagers to adults and elders. Even without sound or voices these films were easy to understand and caught everyone’s attention through the comedic relief of the main character(s). This seems to match the ideals towards humanity in Western society – that everyone has a goodness inside us that will emerge to help bring light to the dark. The producers and writers for the Russian film we saw in class had a different objective in mind: from the outset one could tell that the film was based around a much darker outset on life, that almost every character in the film had a dark ideal/belief/outlook on life be it greed, fear, lust and/or hopelessness. In a scene after the son Freder has a moment with Maria, he is seen praying to several statues representing the deadly biblical sins (lust, deceit, etc.) Rather than look to the blessings of God and the Holy Son, he prays to the dark spirits of life and the world to spare him and his beloved. At the same time, the father lusts for the face of Maria to be added to the robot built by his ‘trusted’ scientist-inventor; this was done against the advice of the scientist who quoted how it would cost him the most important thing he had in Hel: his son, Freder. The fact that he would commit such a thing in spite of his own son made me feel sick to the stomach; if I never see this film again in my life, it’ll be too soon.