By Matt Hern

An unapologetic security of urban lifestyles in a time of environmental crisis.

summary: An unapologetic safeguard of urban lifestyles in a time of environmental concern

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Extra info for Common ground in a liquid city : essays in defense of an urban future

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Now my mother lives at Homalchasin which is right across from Stanley Park. It’s really easy to see how easily our ancestors would travel back forth. Many of my relatives lived at Coal Harbour and at Whai Whai and I feel that sense when I go to Stanley Park: I feel like I have had a centuries-old dialogue with the landscape there. indd 32 7/21/10 5:05:12 PM Thessaloniki have huge picnics there, practically every week, hanging out with all my cousins. I think the visibility of our people there is really important.

34 Beasley doesn’t dispute this per se, but argues that the vitality will come in time. This is something I have struggled with all my career. I travel all the time, I am always visiting new cities, and I love their public spaces, filled with people—and I often asked myself why aren’t the public spaces here like that? And you’ve got to realize that part of this is a difference in culture. In northern cities all over the world, the public realm is not where you hang out because of the weather, and in this culture people are often socializing in other circumstances, not the street or plazas.

I wanted to press him on the idea that vitality can be choreographed. The problem with places like Seaside is that the formulas are all wrong—it’s a middle-class housing formula. What we’ve been trying to do—and I’m not saying we’ve successfully done it—is get the formula for urbanism right. Urbanism is about mixed use, it’s about lining the streets with activities that generate activity, it’s about making people feel safe and comfortable in the public realm. I use the word choreography because unfortunately, leaving the three-dimensional reality of the city to the spontaneous development impetus of the development community, under the conditions we have now, leads to a removal of the public realm.

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