VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #189: We Put A Big Fir Tree In Every Roundabout

by Claudia Chan | I recently came across this animated gif in my FB news feed. It’s a reconstructed image of what a Vancouver street could have looked like in 1914 and what it potentially could look like in the future. Pretty cool. It wasn’t uncommon for large trees to loom over city streets at the turn of the century when our city was still in its infancy. If city planners had just left them there, we would practically be living in an old growth forest by now.

As part of their exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery this past May, the designers of Goodweather Collective put forth this “retroprojective” proposal where giant trees would sit in the middle of neighbourhood roundabouts. By borrowing this idea from the past, they were re-imagining how we could marry urban and forest spaces together. I could just imagine the little kids just loving it – spending hours running around the roundabout tree. They would have the best of both worlds – the city and the forest in their own front yard.

It would be a pretty bold and avantgardist way of re-landscaping the city, and I think most folks would dig it. I’m just not sure how urban planners would react to the idea given that a roundabout tree might pose as an earthquake or lightning hazard. Still, I’m not opposed to a massive three hundred year old Douglas Fir down the middle of my street. You?

OTHER CIVIC IMPROVEMENT SUGGESTIONS

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Claudia Chan is an advocate of all things green. Born and raised in Vancouver, she is inspired by the work of local urban farmers, eco artists and policy makers who make this city the most lush and livable to work and play in. Her mission with Scout and her “Greenlight” column is to impart her enthusiasm for bike lanes, community gardens, farmers’ markets and more to her fellow Vancouverites.

GREENLIGHT: Shifting The Way Deliveries Are Made Around Downtown Vancouver

by Claudia Chan | We’ve got lots to rave about when it comes to our city’s much revered bike culture. From bike lanes, the seawall and a pro-cyclist city council to bike festivals and the upcoming bike share program, Vancouver’s bikescape is booming. Shift Urban Cargo Delivery also belongs on our proud list of bike celebrations.

Inspired by a Portland venture called B-Line, Shift is Canada’s first-of-its-kind cargo bike co-op. Their heavy-duty trikes cruise the bike lanes and roads, carrying up to 500 pounds with a zero-emission philosophy, trying to transform the local delivery trade by ‘shifting’ the way its business is done, one trip at a time. In rain, snow or shine, you can spot a trike on the streets of downtown Vancouver, 365 days a year. They make deliveries of everything from office supplies, produce, and clothing to electronic recycling, catering and small furniture. They count among their clients companies like Terra Breads, Save-on-Meats, SPUD, Glorious Organics and Urban Stream. If your business is in need of a delivery system, give them a shout. Short of that, just give a wave of encouragement the next time you see one go by.

NOTE: If you’ve got what it takes to power a trike, Shift is looking for an extra pair of legs to join their team. You can e-mail shifthiring@gmail.com for more information on how to apply.

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Claudia Chan is an advocate of all things green. Born and raised in Vancouver, she is inspired by the work of local urban farmers, eco artists and policy makers who make this city the most lush and livable to work and play in. Her mission with Scout and her “Greenlight” column is to impart her enthusiasm for bike lanes, community gardens, farmers’ markets and more to her fellow Vancouverites.

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #183: It Had Its Own Free Food Forest Like Seattle

by Andrew Morrison | Seattle will soon become home to the United States’ first “food forest”, a seven acre plot forest garden of apple, pear, persimmon, chestnut and walnut trees supplemented by bushes of blueberries, lingonberries, raspberries, and other tasty things besides. Beacon Food Forest will be located in the city’s Beacon Hill neighbourhood (2.5 miles from downtown), and all of the food within will be free for picking and gathering. Another pie in the sky concept? Nope. It’s already underway.

According to the Beacon Food Forest’s website, the project’s mission is “to design, plant and grow an edible urban forest garden that inspires our community to gather together, grow our own food and rehabilitate our local ecosystem.” The perennial permaculture forest project, believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S., will eventually be self-sustaining, much like the way a forest in nature works. Creating the self-sustaining environment is reliant upon the types of soil, insect life and companion plants placed strategically within the environment (via).

A solution to the Viaduct question? Your move, Vancouver.

UPDATE: a reader reminded us about the Copley Community Orchard near the Nanaimo skytrain station. Check out the video below. Though it’s only a 7th the size of Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, it’s a good start!

OTHER CIVIC IMPROVEMENT SUGGESTIONS