Pyotr Kropotkin (1842-1921)

December 9, 2021


Peter Kropotkin quotes (141 quotes) | Quotes of famous people

Today we celebrate the birthday in 1842 of Peter Kropotkin, founder of modern anarchism, and author of the book “Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution” which has influenced important thinkers such as Murray Bookchin, and Emma Goldman. In the book he developed a scientific view of the communitarian anarchism that he favoured.

Image: Corner Suites

December 9, 2021

Book Talk: Scot Hein & Jak King

December 9, 2021


In March 2021, CityHallWatch hosted an online conversation between Jak King and veteran architect/urban designer Scot Hein. The conversation, just over an hour in length, can be viewed on YouTube.

The big news today is that we’ve also produced a transcript, below, and added some links for further background and information.

The book and conversation are all very relevant right now. Many of the same players and processes persist to this day in 2021. Vancouver City Hall is going through several major planning exercises (the citywide Vancouver Plan, Broadway Plan, etc.) that are likely to replace or be superimposed upon all previous plans. Planners hope to have this deemed as Vancouver’s Official Development Plan prior to the next civic election (October 2022). The provincial government has already adopted changes to the Local Government Act, now allowing the public hearings to be waived if a development fits with a municipality’s official community plan. There may already be a scheme even to apply this change to the Vancouver Charter, which governs Vancouver. So, besides Vancouver having flawed consultation processes, the public’s last tool to influence development and the future of the city could be effectively eliminated.

We hope that this interview and transcript will be of benefit not only for the general public, but also students of urban planning, current and aspiring planners, reporters, politicians. Basically, it is important for anyone who has a stake in urban planning, particularly in the Vancouver context.

The transcript is now available here.

Flash Fiction: May 1968

December 9, 2021


“If those damned students — you know, those pot-smoking USA-hating Viet Cong-loving long-haired hippy-drippy seniors from Lincoln Hall, those damned students; if those damned students drag the damned flag across the dirt again while they gather for their… their…” (his eyes widened, his voice went up half an octave, and he drew quotation marks in the air) “their Be-In and wander stoned-eyed and aimless across the campus meandering from one quad to another chanting that bloody guru goo-goo and trampling the flowers, I’ll need a tranquilizer, I tell ya, I’ll need a goddamned tranquilizer. It’d be the last straw!”

He paused in his pacing rant just long enough to pull an old Kleenex tissue from the depths of his gown, and to wipe his nose, and then he was off again, striding and shouting.

“You know their posters?” He glared at me accusingly, unblinking. “Those obscene posters they stick up everywhere, all over the damn place, full of colour and hair and radical shouting?” His arm swung indecisively toward some faculty buildings in the east, and then at a group of trees to the south. It didn’t seem to matter, everywhere was infected it seemed. “They ran them off on the Dean’s own roneo printer when they invaded his office last month! Can you believe that? The Dean’s own printer! And what they did to the Founder’s photograph! My God, you remember that?” He didn’t need an answer and raced on. “No, no, no! This Be-In is just too much after all that!”

He stopped suddenly and turned to face me, an earnest look on his face. I thought he was actually going to grasp me by the shoulders like some angst-ridden character in a James Dean movie.

“In all these years, you know, this is the first time I’ve ever found myself staring at the calendar, praying for the term to end.” He shook his head sadly, and then out of the corner of his eye he saw a group of students, apparently ‘stoned-eyed and aimless’, turn the corner and enter the quad. He shook his head again with weary despair.

“I used to see Curiosity and Wonder. Now, for the most part, it is just Self-Absorption and Cynicism.” He sighed with the depths of the Pacific trenches. “I know some of them will pull through. It’s like my old Dad used to say about his nasturtium seeds year after year: Somes’ll come up, and somes’ll not. But I’m worried, Dick. Worried damned sick about what the nineteen-seventies are going to bring us.”

He shook his head and we wandered off again, a little more slowly this time, making a wide detour to avoid the students who, it seemed, hadn’t even noticed we were there.