An Abandoned School in Detroit, Michigan (Source: Detroit1701, Flickr)
Monthly Archives: May 2012
“How soon country people forget. When they fall in love with a city it is forever, and it is like forever. As though there never was a time when they didn’t love it. The minute they arrive at the train station or get off the ferry and glimpse the wide streets and the wasteful lamps lighting them, they know they are born for it. There, in a city, they are not so much new as themselves: their stronger, riskier selves.”
-Toni Morrison, Jazz
Starstruck, Albertan Style
At the ECVO AGM today, I got the chance to see Allison Redford speak. While she has certainly been controversial, I was definitely a little starstruck.
And I wasn’t the only one. During the Q&A period, I heard way more accolades than questions, which were of the softer variety. For a crowd that would typically be much more hostile to conservatives, this was definitely a little surprising.
Maybe Alberta is finally starting to move forward?
A New Urban Future for Alberta?
Dave Cournoyer (a.k.a. Daveberta) recently published a great article, alison redford and her new cabinet could lead a new urban agenda.
He argues that the loss of the PC’s socially conservative rural seats to the Opposition Wildrose Party provides the ruling PCs with a unique opportunity to re-invest in Alberta’s growing cities. For a party that has traditionally feared urban centres and their love all of things orange and red, this could be a refreshing change.
They’re not Detroit?
I certainly love a comeback.
Despite all the hate for Cleveland recently, the city is finally taking an aggressive approach to curb its decline. According to The Atlantic CITIES, the 2010 U.S. Census showed the slightest population growth in the city’s core. Moreover, Downtown Cleveland now boasts a 95% occupancy rate.
This recent population shift truly represents the impact of North Americans’ evolving lifestyle preferences. My parents never even considered raising a family in the inner city, and my generation is now flocking to the neighbourhoods that were neglected for most of the postwar years.
In D.C., my friends and I spent long nights on the U Street Corridor, a neighbourhood that was once home to drug traffickers and the 1968 race riots. Older generations were once told to never step outside after dark on U Street, and now even the New York Times is calling it “new and hip.”
The same phenomenon is happening in Toronto’s once-derelict Parkdale, New York’s Harlem, and even Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Hopefully the trend catches on in Edmonton, as our downtown could certainly use a facelift.
Sailing on the Potomac
Miss everything about this day—sailing on the Potomac River in 30-degree weather with some pretty awesome company. Edmonton better start warming up soon….
I stumbled across this great article by blogger Michelle Boyd on the end of the fine arts program at Fort McMurray’s Keyano College. Ignoring the expletives, it demonstrates the sad reality that we’re living in a province that places an increasingly greater value on the “hard” sciences (a.k.a anything that helps extract oil from sand) and ignores the merits of anything remotely creative.
Richard Florida would certainly be disappointed.
Since accepting my job at the Campus Food Bank, the most common question I get from Boomers is, “Really? Student hunger is a problem?”
Well, yes, Baby Boomers, since tuition grew 267% between 1993 and 2003, many students can no longer afford to feed themselves. For many students, poverty has become so commonplace that it now provides enough material to fill this year’s Indira Magazine, a parody prepared by the U of A student newspaper that essentially compares University President Indira Samarasekera to Oprah Winfrey.
Not only does the Atlantic throw great parties at the Watergate Complex that were regularly frequented by us interns, they apparently write great articles. They even published a great primer on the growing problem of student hunger in the United States, which I stumbled across at work today and is definitely worth a read.
If anybody knows me well, they know how much I love the Detroits of the world. And I’m being completely serious. That’s why I was thrilled to stumble across this documentary on Documentary Heaven tonight. It features Johnny Knoxville, bad-ass art and one of my fave cities.
This short doc really reminded me of the Heidelberg Project, a collaborative public art project that’s transforming Detroit’s East Side, and obviously one of the top priorities on my bucket list.
My New Job and the Eco Move Out
Today, I started my brand new job at the University of Alberta Campus Food Bank Society. Overall, it seems like a great organization to work for and I’m really looking forward to what comes out of the job in the next few months.
During my afternoon training, a few volunteers brought in a monster-sized load of donations from this year’s Eco Move Out. The project was the perfect solution to a very common problem: lazy first-year students who would rather throw crap out than pack it up when moving out of dorms. This year, the Office of Sustainability decided to leave dumpsters for the U of A’s 3,500 residents to donate everything from old clothes (sent to Goodwill), to unopened food (sent to me at the Food Bank), to old toothpaste tubes (which apparently can be recycled into new plastics by Terracycle).
Looking back on my own undergraduate experience, I can only cringe at the amount of completely useful stuff I threw out every 4 or 8 months just to keep my checked luggage under 50 lbs. Some of it went to worthwhile causes, like the three bags of clothes I donated to the Canadian Diabetes Association last December. However, most of it probably ended up in the landfill.
Eco Move Out is helping to meet the University of Alberta’s goal of reducing on-campus waste by 50 percent by 2015, something every household and organization should seriously consider.