NEWS: re:place a Fresh Take on Vancouver

By Think City Staff

Have you ever wondered which blocks in the city receive the most sunlight? Why gas stations are disappearing from the urban landscape? Or which neighbourhoods are home to the most kids?

re:place Magazine has answers to these and other fascinating questions about the sociology of our ever changing, ever-evolving urban landscape.

The online journal offers an interesting wealth of urbanist commentary and analysis on a varied range of subjects including architecture, urban design, transportation, urban politics, environmental issues, as well as art, books and maps.

Erick Villagomez, a co-founder of re:place Magazine, said the idea was simple – “to create a public forum for the discussion of complex issues surrounding the local urban landscape.”

Villagomez hopes to continue to build the online magazine’s readership and forge meaningful partnerships with a community of writers, thinkers and artists interested in exploring Vancouver’s urban fabric.

“This has truly opened my eyes to the many amazing people who are instigating change from the bottom up. There are many of them here – actively shying away from the limelight and simply trying to get by like the rest of us, while setting in motion some inspiring initiatives that are changing the face of the city.”

To read re:place Magazine is often to see Vancouver from the perspective of the insider – the articles show a finely grained eye for urban detail on a block by block level that many journalists eschew in favour of ‘the bigger picture’. 

The 'Year in 5' section by Vancouver historian Chuck Davis provides a brief overview of the events that marked years past – a welcome antidote to our city’s widespread amnesia and lack of historical context when discussing urban issues.

One technical criticism of the site is that it is somewhat difficult to navigate (links and maps should open as separate windows) and could use more photography to illustrate some of the more detailed articles.

Overall, the magazine is well-conceived and well-written. Villagomez is able to write about architecture and urban planning with the training of a professional but in a manner that is accessible to a lay person. The other contributors also maintain a high standard of writing that usually places facts and analysis ahead of opinion and advocacy. 

re:place Magazine is a welcome addition to the local urbanist discourse. Vancouver will only be better for having more people writing intelligently about the urban affairs of this city.

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