Urban Magnets & Architecture — CleanTech Talk

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In the first half of this two-part interview for our CleanTech Talk podcast series, Michael Barnard, Chief Strategist of TFIE Strategy Inc. and CleanTechnica contributor, sits down with Bruce Haden, architect, urbanist and author, about urban magnets and architecture in the time of COVID-19. You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded SoundCloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.

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Bruce happens to wear many hats, notably as an architect, urbanist, and author. He also was instrumental in the design of the famous Vancouver House. Bruce takes some time at the beginning of the podcast to talk about the Vancouver House and his personal passions related to architecture and urban planning.

Mike and Bruce then launch into a discussion on the history of architecture and the ways in which different cities, namely Seattle and Vancouver, have chosen to approach urban planning and design. They briefly touch on the ways in which these cities evolved and the ways in which country money distribution shaped their approach to city design. Vancouver, Mike notes, is a vibrant city that has successfully created a blend of social and cultural services in a city environment along the water.

They go further in depth into Vancouver and the strengths and weaknesses of its waterfront. Bruce also discusses the role of public input and collaboration in shaping city spaces. But the main focus of the first half of this podcast is the concept of urban magnets. As Bruce and Mike transition into defining and discussing the term, they talk about the history of urban magnets and how they came to be city spaces that attracted groups of people based on what they like to do. While earlier urban magnets were more about shared identity, ethnicity and language, Bruce notes that now they more commonly attract people based on shared hobbies and activities.

Mike and Bruce talk more about how urban magnets have developed around the world, and Bruce shares some insights on urban planning failures. The two then go into more detail on what makes an urban magnet successful. In order to be successful, they conclude, a complete urban magnet would have specialty retail, education, programming, authenticity, and urban design that supports activity.

To hear more on these topics, listen to the show!

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