Wendy Pedersen: the right to the city

Vectorial Elevation to light up Vancouver nights during 2010 Winter Games, what do you think?


I have been asked by CKNW to speak to the proposed light display that is being planned for False Creek during the Olympics. I am unsure of the artistic merits of the proposed are artwork are.

My main point about the work is the process. It seems that VANOC is pushing its agenda about is going to happen during the Olympics and City of Vancouver is compromising its usual standards of community consultation.

As President of WERA I received an invite about a meeting on Friday for the following Monday, which is pretty short notice.

Anyways, below is the press release about the project that went out yesterday and I have also posted the invite from the City for the meeting to present the project.

I am looking for comments about the merits of the project and its potential impacts on the surrounding residents.

Vectorial Elevation to light up Vancouver nights during 2010 Winter Games

Worldwide online audience invited to create spectacular patterns of light in sky

VANCOUVER, Nov. 25 /CNW/ – Beams of light pointed towards the stars will illuminate English Bay and the night sky in downtown Vancouver this coming February as part of a Cultural Olympiad and City of Vancouver special event for the 2010 Winter Games.

Starting at dusk on February 4, 2010, 20 robotic searchlights will create a quiet canopy of light in the night sky above and on the sparkling surface of English Bay below with designs created by people around the world and delivered via the Internet. Called Vectorial Elevation, it is the first time the internationally celebrated work of art will be displayed in Canada and over a body of water.

The 10,000-watt lights will move and create patterns silently from locations in Vanier Park and Sunset Beach that cover an area of 100,000 square metres and be visible within 15 kilometres of the city’s downtown core, stretching to Richmond, the peaks of Cypress and Grouse mountains and freighters and boats on the water.

This large-scale temporary public art installation is co-commissioned by the City of Vancouver’s Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program and Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, presented by Bell, with support from the Province of Quebec. The installation – considered one of the world’s largest interactive artworks – is by Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and is part of CODE, the Cultural Olympiad’s Digital Edition.

“As Host City for the 2010 Winter Games, we’re happy to collaborate with the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad and the Province of Quebec to bring this amazing artwork to Vancouver,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vectorial Elevation is a unique, magical work that local residents, visitors and people from around the world can enjoy. The installation will not only brighten our night skies, but also bring the Games to the world in an unexpected, interactive way.”

More than two million people are expected to view the installation in person in Metro Vancouver, as well as internationally via www.vectorialvancouver.net or www.vancouver2010.com/code. The event runs regardless of the weather until February 28, 2010.

Visitors to www.vectorialvancouver.net can design how the lights will move, their angles and how they are clustered in timed sequences to create their own patterns for the world to see. A personalized webpage will be automatically created for each participant to document their design. Organizers estimate 130,000 different patterns will be created in the 24 days the project operates from dusk to dawn.

“Vectorial Elevation is world-renowned and we wanted to see its majestic choreography unfold over Canadian skies for the very first time as part of the 2010 Winter Games,” said Burke Taylor, vice president of culture and celebrations for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). “Lozano-Hemmer’s inspired work manifests the spirit of connectivity that we want to convey through the entire CODE project. It’s about using the power of digital technology to include the world in our celebrations.”

A real-time video stream of the work from four cameras placed around English Bay can be accessed on the Internet. Those who opt to create patterns can also send a personal dedication to friends or a sweetheart anywhere in the world at www.vectorialvancouver.net. The project was developed in consultation with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

“Vectorial Elevation is a quiet, contemplative display of light sculptures that will connect many countries around the world with Vancouver. When I saw English Bay I knew it would be the perfect spot to create our largest canopy of light to date and for the first time we are also able to use renewable energy,” said Montreal-based Lozano-Hemmer.

Previously, the installation was staged in Mexico, Spain, Ireland, and France where it received accolades such as Lyon’s prestigious Trophée des Lumières.

Invitation from City of Vancouver received on Friday Nov. 20, 2009

VANOC and the City of Vancouver invite you to attend an information session on an important Cultural Olympiad 2010/City of Vancouver Public Art project. Vectorial Elevation is a site specific work created by world-renowned Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

Please join Mr. Lozano-Hemmer and representatives from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, the City of Vancouver and Cultural Olympiad 2010 for an artistic and technical overview of the project.

Monday, November 23
6:00 pm
Museum of Vancouver @ The Joyce Walley Learning Centre

The right to the city, Nathan Edelson

Open house tonight, 4-7pm, Coast Plaza Hotel, Rezoning 1401 Comox st

Action Plan From WERA Community Forum

1. Attend open house on Nov. 24 for rezoning application of 1401 Comox St.:
Coast Plaza Hotel, Nelson Room, 1763 Comox St., 4 to 7 pm

For more info:

Rezoning application
Jackie Wong article
open house notification letter

2. Sign up to speak at public hearing on Tuesday Dec 1. On the rezoning application of 1215 Bidwell. St., Council Chamber City Hall call 604 871 6355 to put on the speakers list.


3. Email Mayor and Council and let them know what your views of the proposed rezoning application

Vancouver City Hall
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y1V4

or call


More info available at:

1401 comox.ca

CoV rezoning applications

The Right to the City

the right to the city poster

The right to the city

The Right to the CityThe Right to the City: Housing, Homelessness and the 2010 Olympics

A Public Forum Hosted by the Impact on Communities Coalition

Monday, November 23, 2009

7:00 – 9:00 pm

Fletcher Challenge Theatre, SFU Harbour Centre

Reverend Ric Matthews, First United Church
Christine Ackermann, West End Residents Association
Wendy Pederson, Carnegie Community Action Project
Nathan Edelson, Former Senior Planner, City of Vancouver
Martha Lewis, Tenants Resource Advisory Centre
Am Johal, Impact on Communities Coalition
David Dennis, United Native Nations
Monte Paulson, Investigative Editor, The Tyee
Christine Parnell-Smith, Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Society

Moderated by Stefanie Ratjen, Board Member, Impact on Communities Coalition

When the Olympic bid process was underway, the Inner City Inclusive Commitment was signed in 2003 and included commitments around a housing legacy and protection from Olympic related evictions. This panel will look at the impacts of the 2010 Olympics on housing and other urbanization processes underway in Vancouver including the crisis of affordability, the proliferation of homelessness and loopholes in tenancy legislation which are resulting in evictions.

You can find out more about this event on Facebook.

Malalai Joya Saturday at St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church

Stop War

Nakuru, Massia Mara, Lamu and the last day in Kenya


It is my last day in Kenya and I am trying to figure out what my take aways are from this trip. I was here with my wife and daughters to attend a conference and to visit family. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and experienced a broad range of climate zones from the lush cool air of the plateaus of Nairobi, to the dry arid landscapes of the Rift valleyat Nakuru National Park, to plains of Masai Mara and finally the humidity off coast of Kenya on the island of Lamu.

Now we are on our way back home by way of Amsterdam. We have reservations for Anne Frank Museum and are hoping to visit the Rijksmuseum and Nemo Science Museum for children.

Here are the last photos from Kenya.


Too fast, too futile: speed, time pressure and health

professorPaultoo fast slide

too fast abstract

Paul Tranter, University on New south Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy, School of Physical Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, Canberra, Australia

At the ICUH that I attend last week in Nairobi, one of the more unusual and interesting papers that I heard was by Prof. Paul Tranter. His paper was entitled “Too fast, too futile: speed, time pressure and health” where he introduced the concept of “effective speed”.

The concept of effective speed uses a mathematical formal to adjust actual speeds of vehicles by accounting for the time that it takes to earn the capital cost of any particular mode of transport. It goes some thing like this: you maybe driving along in your SUV at 50 km/hour, but it is only an illusion that you are going faster than the bike you just passed. It’s an illusion that you are going faster because you have not factored in all of
the time it took earn the money to buy the vehicles that you are traveling in.

Interestingly, the less expensive vehicles are the fastest in terms of effective speed. The fastest form of transportation is public transit as the price to use it is around $2.25 and it travels at speeds around 40 km/hour. The next fastest modes of travel are cycling and walking.

One of the more significant factors of contemporary urban living is the negative health effect of “time stress”. Increasingly we feel that we are rushing from one event to the next. Rushing to get the kids to and from school, to work, to meetings, to lunch, to shopping and then back home again. Many of us feel so stressed and rushed that we have to buy two cars to try and go faster, by splitting up the rushing between two people. We have to rush to eat fast food as we don’t have time to cook nutritious food or time to exercise.

Prof. Tranter is actually suggesting that we slow down. Don’t buy the second car and use the one you have less often. Take more time going to work if you can by walking because there are both cost savings and health benefits.

Prof. Tranter is also pointing out that the faster we are going the more energy we consume thus producing more green house gases. There are also numerous negative health affects by traveling faster, which are a result of more sedentary lifestyles: higher BMI, which is a contributing factor to diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Increased speeds have also been demonstrated to be associated with more accidents and increased risk of fatal crashes..

The paper is part of a growing body of thought that is shifting the critical evaluation of our lives from “ wealth” to “ well being”(for a larger discussion of this new tool for analyzing economic development see Anthony Giddeon’s The Politics of Climate Change). What does it matter if one makes enough money to buy an expensive car and the lifestyle that goes with it if it contributes to making one unhealthy. Increasingly, this is becoming all too common. As a society we have to shift from the notion of measuring economic growth in terms of increased GDP and start thinking of the evaluation of economic development that incorporates the well being for everyone in a society.
Effective Speed paper

Six recommendations on how to make walking and cycling safer in Nairobi

bike nairobi
Mr. Ogendi studied transportation infrastructure in the Netherlands and German and developed six recommendations on how to make walking and cycling safer in Nairobi based on what he observed in the two European countries.

Interesting enough, the measures that he recommends are similar to the ones that could potentially benefit from in Vancouver as well.

1. Better Facilities for Walking and Cycling

Build better transportation infrastructure used by pedestrians and bicyclist. On the road this would mean wide, well-lit sidewalks on both sides of every street. The current situation in Nairobi is that only the road surface for cars is paved and the ground on either side of the road is unsurfaced. Vehicles regularly leave the paved road and take over pedestrian space to try to get around traffic. Especially with the Matatus, which are privately owned minibuses and are the most commonly used transportation by ordinary folks. Moreover, Mr. Odendi’s recommends a host of measures to improve the experience of pedestrians and cyclist which include the following: care free zones in the city centre, refuge islands for crossing wide streets, raised clearly marked zebra crosswalks with special lighting for visibility, pedestrian activated cross signals both at intersections and mid-block crosswalks. Continue reading Six recommendations on how to make walking and cycling safer in Nairobi →