Engineers Driving us Crazy

The urban experience is helped or hindered by elements that are ulitmately the responsibility of Civil Engineers. Despite this obvious statement, many of the urban form frustrations we experience day to day in our travels about our neighbourhoods or cities were decisions made by engineers or those in municipal or utility organizations that act under the authority of engineers

Tall Timber Buildings

With the failure of the suburban experiment, rising house prices and a greater desire to be in the downtown, designers are looking to stretch the limits of materials, to satisfy changing needs. Added to this, Canadian designers are looking to find ways to use pine beetle infested timber from our forests. But now, designers are […]


The planners out there might get upset to know that an engineer has crashed their party, then again, who knows, maybe they’ll be happy to have me along. Fifty years ago, Jane Jacobs, an activist, critic, author and urbanist,  wrote the seminal book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. This is the first book to be read […]

A Changed World

Communities around North America are waking up to a changed world. Our expectation for continuous improvement of the systems that support our lifestyles, transportation choices and patterns of housing has been shaken. Budget cuts are forcing communities and governments to reconsider priorities; in Washington State a new user fee was introduced for users of recreation trails, to […]

Transit Resiliency

I am a big advocate of having alternative modes of transport, after all motor vehicles are an expensive* and dirty mode of transport that we have historically given too much influence to in the design of our cities. I believe that the value of a dwelling, particularly in an urban setting, is relative to its […]

Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Economics

In recent months we have seen emergencies and natural disasters strike communities around the world. Every emergency unfolds differently, but in cities, industrial or agricultural areas, there are always social and economic impacts from the situation. One of the more contentious questions that follows a disaster is simply, “What could have been done differently to prepare […]