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On a Jane Jacobs jag

Why not? It’s Jane’s Walk weekend and I just finished reading her last book, Dark Age Ahead.

I went to Vimeo and found this 8-year old piece that had a bit of Jane Jacobs flavour. 3+ minutes

So what has happened, 8 years later? The 4 storey zoning restriction mentioned? Gone. A condo is going in, 4 times that tall. 16 storeys, approved by the OMB. In this Toronto Star story, the Gladstone Hotel spokesperson (across the street) tries to make the best of it.

Dark Age Ahead, the last book by Jane Jacobs, is so packed with ideas, supporting anecdotes and data, I am feeling overwhelmed. What can I take away from it, that will stick in my memory and help inform my views?

Memory is key. A Dark Age is one were whole societies forget what they are doing, why they are doing it and how it is done. Jacobs doesn’t say that Western society is definitely going to plunge into a Dark Age, but it’s obvious that she thinks we are ripe.

When she is being optimistic, Jacobs offers approaches that may help. For example:

Let things grow (not make things grow, note). Don’t defoliate environments into deserts, as the ancients did in the Middle East and don’t let little startups be gobbled by big corporations the minute they show a profit.

Be skeptical, like a scientist. Value observation and evidence over propaganda.

Favour smaller and more flexible over massive and rigid. One size fits all … badly.

Nuture your culture’s arts. The emotions they convey, especially in song, sustain motivation and memory. (Distinguish between authentic arts and those of propagandists.)

Do the work of being human. There are no social programs, legal systems or engineering schemes capable of replacing human acts of kindness and consideration for one another.

DIY Jane’s Walk: Oops

We thought we’d start our Jane’s Walk close to home this year … and discover more about Beach Hill. We also thought it was May 7th. My mistake. 😝

Only four of us turned up and, unfortunately, one of our number was not the leader, because the walk is scheduled for tomorrow.

Glen, the fellow with the FIRE cap, turned out to know some history of the St. John’s Norway Cemetery and has ancestors buried there, so we did learn a bit. He also knew that there was an earlier church on the site. When we looked, we found its location and a few other facts, in the slides.

Slide Show Look closely. There is a quiz question.

Ready for your question? Who made Danica’s earrings?


Flash Gordon flashback

Our planned flight to Victoria, later this year, stirred a memory of my first airplane ride to Vancouver Island. I was under 10 years old and flying the few minutes from Vancouver was a big deal.

What ever happened to the Flash Gordon-style rocketship that greeted travellers at the airport. I wanted to climb up on it and take off. The rocket always caught me eye, but never more than the first time I looked up at it in wonder.

Over 60 years ago, air travel was a pleasure.

It turns out that others were also fond of the rocketship. Rusted out by 1972, it was removed and scrapped [story here], but in 1985 a replica was created. It now stands by the Cambie Street bridge … no longer at the airport, but on the way to it.

Raccoons exonerated

Danica snapped a cell phone picture of the culprit who has been grubbing around our back yard at night.

So now we know who’s leaving all those holes in the lawn. What are we going to do about it? Stay back, respectfully, that’s what.

A perfect gift

Danica gets to wear them and I get to see her wearing them. Thank you, Joni!

I did my best to photograph the incredible delicacy of Kim Delaney’s hand-crafted silver wire earrings, but I’m far from a pro jewelry shooter. The centre stones are garnets (my birthstone 🙂).

Danica says she’ll model them when we go out, soon. Meanwhile, head over to the Haute Wire Jewelry shop on Etsy. Kim is a friend of Joni’s, beautifying the world from beautiful Salmo, B.C, in the Canadian Rockies.

April flowers bring May showers

There are at least two ways of looking at today’s Ashbridges Bay photo.

You may see some poles on the right, advancing toward the water’s edge. Or, you may see water encroaching upon the poles after a few unusually rainy days.

For some, there is only one view. The water is attacking the poles … and must be pushed back! Volleyball nets need support and the season starts next week.

Earlier hopes for milder action have lost their charm. In come the heavies.