Maybe the self-styled “chairman of the board” will take a boo. And learn something.
Click on image below or here.
I’m in information overload right now – cramming into my head a 2 1/2-inch thick binder full of sometimes esoteric data well beyond my usual comfort zone (financial info and accounting, anyone?), as I get ready to interview a few arts organizations. Too many words, too many numbers.
But of course, when it rains, it pours – which is why I’m finding additional information online that I really want to splash around in, versus just dipping my toes into.
So…, here’s a very brief shout-out for two (ok, three) pages in particular.
First, Alexandra Samuel has an incredibly useful 5-part series called Social Media for Journalists, which is a must-read for researchers of any sort. Want to know how to use Evernote or LinkedIn or bookmarking services or even Google to your best research advantage? Click on through. I’m not sure why or how I missed the series when it came out (it began on October 26 and ended on October 29), but better late than never, as they say…
Next, tomorrow morning there’s going to be a Berkman Center lunch hour webcast scheduled for EST 12:30pm with Juliet Schor (in our Pacific Standard Time zone, this will start at 9:30am), called Using the Internet to “Save the Planet”. The webcast will be archived for those who want to view it later, but if anyone has a free hour around tomorrow, drop in on Schor’s presentation. From the blurb:
We are witnessing escalating evidence of human destabilization of the climate and biodiversity loss. In the sustainability community, both activists and practitioners are increasingly turning to the internet to foster new lifestyles, consumption patterns and ways of producing. There has been an explosion of web-enabled innovations around consumption sharing and extra-market exchange in order to reduce footprint. At the cutting-edge people are turning to peer production and open-source practices to accelerate the design and diffusion of ecologically-intelligent and efficient modes of provision in agriculture, consumption and manufacturing. (source)
The page has additional links to explore, and (this my third pointer) there’s a great video of Schor’s presentation last May at the Seattle Library, which you can watch here.
PS: And since Schor has talked about up-scaling and up-ticks in consumption, which sounds like the Gilded Age of yore, here’s a link to a great Frank Rich op-ed from Nov. 13, 2010, Who Will Stand Up to the Superrich?
When people say that Victoria British Columbia is “a small town,” I think they’re dead wrong. I understand what those people are getting at, but I think they’re completely missing the mark: because, with a Capital Regional District (CRD) population of over 350,000 people, it’s not a small town by Canadian standards. We punch above our weight in many areas: we have several universities and colleges in town (and research and medical facilities to go with these); we have art and music and ballet schools; a kick-ass opera (and I say that even though I’m opera-challenged – love the singing, but hate the stupid story-lines); a great symphony orchestra; an exciting youth orchestra; a gazillion music groups and gobs of talented players; an incredible indy music scene; a whole bunch of thriving, innovative theaters, from musical to improv to way-out-there-fringe; slam poets galore; an art gallery that has the best Asian collection (albeit mostly in storage); …the list goes on.
It’s true that we are very very small if we count only the population of the City of Victoria, but no one in their right mind understands those arbitrary political boundaries as having actual social or practical significance in real life (except, of course, when those same political lines in the sand mess up your life with regard to pulling permits or other bureaucratic niceties, etc.). For all intents and purposes, “Victoria” is comprised of all the people in the CRD.
We don’t punch above our weight economically, perhaps in part because there are no “big” employers aside from the Province (government) and we don’t attract any head offices. But there’s a sometimes surprising network of small businesses that increasingly (thank-you, interwebs) plug into the world beyond the island. (For non-BC readers: we’re located on a peninsula on the southernmost tip of a rather large, vastly uninhabited island.)
That we are an island-locked ocean-bordered city is, aside from our municipal political structure (balkanization into 13 municipalities), our biggest constraint, and I’m not yet sure how - even if you look at it as a design issue and say, “let this constraint be a feature, not a …well, constraint/ bug” – or whether it’s possible to get around it. At the end of the day, there’s something so final about geography.
Essentially, people say that Victoria is “a small town” because anyone who begins to engage in any of the city’s spheres comes to realize very quickly that everyone knows everyone here.
Isn’t that the very definition of “small town”?
I don’t think so.
You know what a Venn diagram is, right? There’s a simple example on the right —>
In a small town, a simple Venn diagram would explain the overlap of people connections. There would be this core group of individuals (the ones in the area where all three circles overlap) who sort of know everyone and everything, and there would be slightly weaker overlaps in those areas where just two circles overlap.
What makes Victoria different – possibly unique – is that we can’t use simple Venn diagrams to “explain” overlaps or cultures in this city. Imagine, instead, a Venn diagram drawn by M.C. Escher (on the left, a relatively uncomplicated – heh – structure called Circle Limit <– click that link for a larger image).
That’s the sort of overlap we deal with here, and it can make for some very strange overlaps indeed – and it can create the feeling that it’s literally impossible to get away from anyone anytime anywhere in this city. Wherever you go, there you are – and you are connected to everyone else.
Why is that? My theory is that Victoria has one of the densest (and sometimes weirdest) ecosystems of any place around. This ecosystem is of course expressed in the nature of the place – a nature which is indomitable, impossible to squelch or suppress – and it replicates in all the “little” human ways of the two-legged inhabitants of this place.
This is not a small town. This is an especially dense and concentrated ecosystem (albeit economically still underdeveloped). But if it ever busts out and becomes the sort of economic generator that Jane Jacobs talked about when she described economies as ecosystems (stretching imports in the conduit, she called it), it’s going to be very big (that is: rich and complex and vibrant) indeed.
I would like to think that our political and civic leaders get this. Most of the time, I’m not convinced.
Really, she does.
I love this video – political activism at its most poetic and poignant.
Last Friday, I stopped in at Exploring the Aesthetics of Sustainability | Green Design as Art, a small (but interesting!) weekend exhibit at the newly-completed Atrium Building in downtown Victoria. The developer (Victoria-based Jawl Properties) made an unfinished/ raw ground-floor retail space available to the the organizers – props to the Jawls for their civic-minded generosity.
(For some beautiful photographs of this building, especially its eoponymous interior, the atrium, see Lotus Johnson’s Atrium set on Flickr. Her photos are stunning – I particularly love the interior shots, for example, this one…)
On Picasa, I created an album of photos I took at the Green Design as Art event, which was organized by Cascadia Green Building Council’s Emerging Green Builders – Victoria. Wherever there’s a photo of an object, followed by a photo of an information sheet pasted to cardboard, the latter is the wall post that describes the object.
My favorite objects were Gary Streight’s “automans”: two stools made from recycled tires and other materials. The fluffy-topped one was cheekily feminine, yet oh-so-tough; and the elegant brown tailored number could fit into the most soigné of setting. Loved them both.
Below: photo of the show’s producers: