Amsterdam, The Netherlands Dec. 2017

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

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The changing nature of totems

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.

Mirage of truth. City of Victoria BC

Photographs from City of Victoria BC

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boom or Bust in the City of Victoria, BC

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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?

 

What would happen if society solved homelessness first? Sep 29, 2017

Within Human history and dating back into Biblical times, when Jesus tried to help the marginalized such as Mary Magdalene and Lazarus – Jesus got penalized and was reported. In the end he was forced to punishment and killed.

Is that how our Western society is still today, September 29, 2017?

Why has society not really tried to solve homelessness properly?

Is it because it has to do with the Medical Model? Is the Medical Model a completely separate unit from the rest of the other industries such as the homeless industry in the City of Victoria, BC?

Is that why no politicians has tackled homelessness in the City of Victoria head-on?

I went to a community meeting organized by the Mayor of the City of Victoria Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada at the start of September 2017. I listened to the community feedback to the Mayor and I started to see how many of the details from the audience were deterred away from being put of a high priority list to be addressed and fixed. This single act alone was symbolic to me of the City of Victoria’s Municipal political system. I believe the essence of the City Hall in Victoria City is to portray the impression that that City is the best, and at the same time to try to hide and make obsolete the problems and complaints the citizens in the sub-communities have. Of course, I am not saying this is true or false, as I often do not operate in absolutes, however it is my personal observation of the meeting.

If this operation was even remotely true, that means that the City of Victoria, BC has some transparency issues that may need to be addressed in the future. I do not believe that sweeping anything under the carpet in politics or in business is a good thing. In fact, I believe that when that is done, that it creates an environment and a community based on fear. Fear leads to censorship and when this occurs what will often occur within the hierarchical structure of the leadership is that an autocracy with form. I have my suspicions that this form to at least some extent is occurring in the City of Victoria, BC but it is based on impressions versus pronounced statistics. All in all, Freedom of Expression is one of the current freedoms we still have, at least to some degree, left in our city. It would be very sad if that turns obsolete too.

{Photograph taken in the staircase of Vancouver Island University (VIU) September 28, 2017}

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Cub Cities take care of vulnerable first

Cub cites are cities that are created to take care of the most vulnerable individuals first. The symbol of cub cities is the British Columbia Canadian spirit bear cub, often found on Vancouver Island. They are anomalies. (See pictures of two spirit bear cubs here under).

CUB CITIES in CANADA

CUB CITIES in CANADA are a group of cities not yet developed in Canada, in which, there will be no highrise buildings and no priorities given to the corporate and political elite on neither the local, provincial, national nor global level, but rather to the individuals of the community first and their peripheral family members. For example, I would like this Cub City in Canada start to be implemented in Victoria City, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada – the place I am currently living in. September 22, 2017.