Welcome to Sidewalk Babble, my blog about the urban environment and its impact on human lives. Why this and why now? Well, to start with, I’m a New York girl who moved west a number of years ago, first to Portland, Oregon, and then to Vancouver, B.C., where I live now. I’ve always been fascinated by cities: their histories and evolution, how they’re designed, and how the built urban environment shapes (and is shaped by) human lives. I’m really keen on how the constructed city crystallizes collective memory, and I spend a lot of time thinking about the ways in which some cities successfully incorporate cultural and natural history, while others don’t. I also love transportation systems, especially subways, as alternate urban geographies. Lately I’ve been involved in a number of volunteer projects geared toward promoting visions of sustainable, walkable cities that enshrine heritage and promote community and neighbourhood-building. The more of these I work on, the more I’m motivated to make them public to other people who care about cities as much as I do. So this is my blog about all that.
As you can see, the city for me isn’t only an architectural agglomeration, although it is that too. I’ll want to look at it from the human perspective, from the ground up. That’s why I’ve called this blog Sidewalk Babble. I’m not a builder, city planner or designer. I’m mainly a resident (an editor and a communications person, actually) who gets excited about urban stuff. I’ll want to go through places that may not be much in the news – back lanes, abandoned railbeds, areas in transition – and see what they speak of. I’ll also be talking about issues of social isolation and how city design has the power can make it better or worse for people. Welcome – hope you enjoy the blog!