Current location: Amsterdam Centrum location, date December 10th, 2017.
Recently there has been an Amsterdam Mayor, named Van der Laan who passed away in 2017. The Dutch media and the locals I have talked to in Amsterdam say that Van der Laan was a great man. Previous to being appointed Mayor of Amsterdam he was member of the Dutch Resistence museum and he was a trained lawyer, receiving his education in Amsterdam (not sure if he practiced law in Amsterdam though).
Through my own observation, from the view point of an artist, who is to some, the lowest level of a human being on earth – but something I myself do not believe to be true – and despite everything I feel I have the need and the right to express myself through the motion of the freedom of expression codes – with that in mind – my opinion of the Mayor of Amsterdam, the former Mayor is probably not the same as the others in Amsterdam. My reflection of Van der Laan’s work as the Amsterdam Mayor is one of question. For example, I have noticed that many citizens of Amsterdam are no longer living in Amsterdam. Instead there are infinite amounts of tourists. To me, it seems like Van der Laan put the municipal financial into marketing Amsterdam to the rest of the world – and in this process forgot to protect and care for the Amsterdam citizens who were living in Amsterdam under his leadership. In my opinion, this act alone means that Amsterdam has architecture protected and restored for the needs to satisfy the tourists but not to protect the city citizens. As a Socialist myself, I disagree with this act of culture before humans.
Amsterdam in the country the Netherlands is a very objective city. It is a very globalized place. That means that Amsterdam has become one of the first cities in the whole world that has followed almost 100% of the European Guidelines of city centers within the Eurozone.
The Amsterdam CS train station has tight barriers allowing only people with paid tickets to enter the train station site. There are a number of security guards checking the passengers travel tickets in the train station so this completely eliminates theft.
Amsterdam has a huge tourist industry. 90% of the people walking the streets of Amsterdam are tourists,coming mostly from Portugal and Spain.
The architecture in this city has two sides. On the one hand lots of the architecture is traditional (Amsterdam School, Middle Ages and from the Golden Age) and on the other hand there is new hyper modern architecture arising like a Phoenix into the city.
I recall my teacher Emmie Neut, telling me, that from the traditional comes the modern. One does not destroy the former to gain the newer but instead builds from it. I agree with this idea, however I worry that Amsterdam may one day become all hyper modern architecture because the upkeep of the former traditional architecture will be too expensive. But I guess I do not need to worry about that now as that is probably something that may or may not take place in the very distance future.
The Dutch love their financial equations, as capitalism was born in Amsterdam centuries ago. The bottomline is this: the incoming tourism pays for the upkeep of the Dutch traditional architecture which draws in the tourism who pay for the upkeep of the architecture. They are interlinked.
Written Dec 07, 2017 corresponding from Amsterdam, NL, Europe
Our world is as fragile as a piece of cedar wood, that stands tall in the rainforest and who over time goes right back into nature, through decay and rotting. Very aspect of humanity is precious and needs to be protected from harm. The natural act of nature that was caused by the lone shooter in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017 must have taken every human being by surprise, as his behaviour was unpredictable. It is very hard to find shelter and protection when an act like this happens. I am only one human in a sea of humans, however I would like to offer my sympathy to the victims of this mass event. I wish acts like this would not happen. I believe in pacifism and not violence.
Photograph from the City of Duncan Railway station last day of September 2017.
3 photographs taken at the end of September 2017 in the City of Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada
The Native Totem pole used to be a ritual pole placed in front of Long Houses of Big Houses on Vancouver Island, BC Canada. Now the nature of the totem pole has transformed in the City of Duncan to be a tourist commodity. These totem poles in the City of Duncan have for the most part been carved by natives from the island, however the purpose of the totem poles is like a business. I have taken tours of the City of Duncan where the Entrepreneur foundation hired a local to show the totems to be in the City for a fee.
Photographs taken in the Greater Victoria Area and vicinity Sept 28 and Sep 29, 2017
Often politicians on the municipal and provincial levels in British Columbia believe in the notion of trickle down economics; however I believe in bottom-up economics. I believe it is by listening to the low level employees first in order for the economy to grow. Without the low level employees, the small business in the city would not exist, the middle class would disappear and so would most of the professionals. So the key to a healthy economy is to pay special attention to the needs of the low level workers in Victoria city first and foremost.
The funny thing about these high rise buildings is that they appear to be representing of wealth and prosperity but from where I am standing and in my point of view this is a mirage and very far from the truth. These buildings are an encasement for individuals that may or may not even want to live in the City of Victoria, as according to the local news, many owners of the condo units use their property as an AirBnB.
The majority of the owners of the units in the high rises do not even come from Vancouver Island let alone Victoria. Recently in the Provincial meeting at the Vancouver Conference Center it was mentioned in a seminar by a Simon Fraser PhD professor (in the last week of Sept. 2017. The news article was in the Vancouver Sun newspaper), that the condominiums are going to the Global financial elite who buy from outside of Canada and have the unit as an investment.
That means that while the lower level workers in the City of Victoria are getting out priced of their hometown city, the global financially secure elite get the best units in the city and do not even reside here but instead rent out their units in what the City Hall in the City of Victoria called “Ghost hotels.”
The bottom-line here is that the low income employees living in the City of Victoria can (more often then not) not financially survive in this city because the price of rent for a bachelor apartment, one bedroom or two bedroom apartment is too expensive for their budgets. So this means that in no time, the service industry in the City of Victoria is going to go under, at least to a degree, because the lower financial class who has been doing the service jobs in the City are getting out-priced. This implies they will move out of the city. Already businesses in the City of Victoria has closed their doors because of the lack of staff. The image of tall new high rise buildings appears to mean that the economy in this city is going well, when it a round-about way, the opposite is true.
In a way, the City of Victoria has created a vacuum and we stand on the edge of creating a ghost town. This ghost town would be unique only to the City of Victoria, BC in the way that is was started and it will end in this city. What I predict will happen, and it is always hard to pin-point the financial and economics of a city to an exact science, but it seems that the service industry staff especially the lower spectrum of the working class in the city are going to pack their bags as in an exodus and leave Victoria. This will leave the small business without staff members. Without the lower level employees the economy will at least in part collapse, hence creating a real ghost town.
Photographs taken September 29, 2017 in the City of Victoria, V.I. BC. Canada. On Yates.
It really makes me feel uncomfortable to walk down the center of the city and see impressive buildings lining up the streets, as I know that these buildings are not to help the poor but instead they are designed for the global financial elite. I would have much preferred that the City of Victoria would have been designed like the small town up-island called Chemenius where there is a little local museum and a town filled with stories of their own independent heritage. Instead in the City of Victoria everything is designed in an adhoc manner and there is no sequencing nor cultural heritage lined in the architecture. Often the architecture of the buildings is designed and geared towards an internationalization versus our own City of Victoria culture. It is so clear, it is almost funny, about how the City of Victoria has turned their backs of helping the marginalized and completely focused on the business and housing market of the internationalization of the global financial elite. I wish I could find the silver lining in this one but I cannot. The building designs have no story, no cohesiveness and are rude and abrupt as these high rise buildings represent authority and power in a City of Victoria culture that was previously always low-key and humble. I do not know who had the keys to the city to have had so much power as to allow this brutal mechanism machine of tiles and lined structures to take over the previously humble and low-key city in which I have lived for so long. I understand I am in no position to change the architectural design of the City of Victoria in 2017 but if it was up to me, I would have contracted out a design and a cohesiveness to the city. I would have planned the city in some kind of order and sequencing – because even cities like Islamabad Pakistan had a Greek city planner created their city into Sectors where certain buildings were group together. Even in Islamabad Pakistan, there was a very powerful and humble city structure enabling everyone access to the city by creating an open plan city design.
Why could not the City of Victoria create a vision, like Allan W. Edwards created for the University of Victoria in the 1960’s?
The photographs that I have added show the nature of the economics in the City of Victoria BC. It is boom or bust. On the one hand the city is financially booming with the high rise; and on the other hand businesses in the city are going under daily. To me it is like a cowboy culture of hit and miss and much like what I saw on Wall Street in the New York stock exchange where stockbrokers were making and losing money is minutes, seconds and mini-seconds.
Is this what globalization looks like in 2017 in Canada?