A Global Movement for Sustainability
People around the globe celebrate Earth Charter Day on June 29th to encourage more sustainable living. This year, on the Earth Charter Day weekend, the World of Walas will explore how we can work together to better realize the Earth Charter’s intent of respecting and caring for our local communities and the planet.
About – The Earth Charter provides a road map to build more sustainable communities – socially, economically and ecologically. It was written by thousands of people worldwide and officially signed in the Netherlands in 2000. Recognizing the world’s increasing interdependence, the Charter emphasizes the need to join together to support nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace.
Why Us – Our CEO, Gerben van Straaten, got involved early on in the process. He is a strong supporter of the global Earth Charter initiative and the author of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto. He believes that with collective and collaborative efforts around community developments in cities, we can solve many of the Earth’s problems including climate change, CO2 levels, poverty and social injustice. He has ‘radical hope’ for the future and believes that it all starts with an ethical reset. The Earth Charter is at the core of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto and Walas programs.
Where to Celebrate! – On July 1st, at the Canada Place Innovation Zone, we will share stories about our work, the Earth Charter and our innovation partners to encourage a healthy future for Canada and its people.
You will be able to design your personal Earth Charter ‘dream cup’ and plant a seed inside to take home!
The Walas Innovation Space is an opportunity to educate and take action together.
Come discover and join in the fun as we celebrate the Earth Charter and Canada Day this July 1 from 11 AM – 6 PM!
The University of BC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture graduating class hosted Salon 2019, a very professional and stimulating exhibition of their Masters’ thesis works at Dudoc. As likely key players in future urban developments, Dudoc was pleased that the SALA grads chose the Walas Innovation Center for their weekend event that included thought-provoking panels about designing affordably and also current media impact on architecture.
Numerous industry professionals reflected on the exceptional quality of the Masters projects. At the Opening Celebration, Dean Ross Kellet recognized the calibre of the individual works and praised the event organizers as this graduation weekend was the first one completely coordinated by students. A dynamo core trio from SALA’s architecture and landscape architecture programs plus many volunteers ensured the graduates works were well exhibited and that they were accompanied by dynamic talks and panels with established and creative presenters.
The exhibition – The weekend was an opportunity to view 70 students drawings’ and explanations highlighting their thesis visions while some also created models and inventive videos. The themes varied widely. Established urban initiatives from cities such as New York were jumping off points for some projects while BC’s wilderness and smaller communities inspired others to plan for the future.
Presentations – Throughout the weekend, leading architects, planners and other industry innovators provided some provocative and also thoughtful ideas in very diverse presentations. Known for turning architectural debate on its head, Vancouver’s outspoken Turncoats group provoked discussion on the “ego maniacal architectural design culture which has little concern for investigative or critical practice”! Focusing on Vanity Publishing, one group criticized the barrage of click-bait, Starchitecture’s narcissism and the current pre-occupation with social media analytics while the other side defended the importance of profile publishing for architects.
Architectural publishing was an important theme for the weekend. The grads were thrilled to have Houston-based Reto Geiser talk about his collaborative design practice including his redesign of the Chicago Architectural Biennial’s exhibition bookshop. His books and some designed and published by the students were displayed in the exhibition.
The Sunday afternoon panel focussed on “Designing Affordability: Provocations for Housing in Vancouver”. Partnering with Urbanarium for Smart Cities and 221A, a group which works with designers and artists to research and develop social, cultural and ecological infrastructure, Salon 2019’s seven member panel provided fresh insights into the affordability issue which is a continual challenge in this City.
Outdoors – The weekend was both an indoor and outdoors event. Dudoc’s shared neighbourhood parklet was playfully decorated by the landscape architecture team. The venue was enjoyed by all generations and conversations continued except for Friday evening when the television crew shooting exteriors next door shouted “Silence on the Set”! While not related to SALA, this mainstream television shoot added to the magic of Friday evening’s celebration event.
Not surprisingly, many of this creative, energetic group of grads have already moved into jobs within the industry! We wish them well and look forward to seeing their impact on future cities.
Last week we explored our creative side with a visit from Creative Mornings Vancouver!
Creative Mornings is a global breakfast lecture series for the creative industry and hosts events and field trips to interact, learn and collaborate on a monthly basis. Sponsor of the month and co-host of this event was MET Fine Printers, who we share offices with! (long story)
Collaboration is at the heart of what we do at Walas and it shows up in so many of the aspects and ways we work. It made sense that this be the theme of the morning, and by working with MET and Creative Mornings was another great example of working together.
Not only do we work with innovation partners and engage them to come together to create new solutions to important global projects but we also collaborate with local government, businesses and individuals to build holistically sustainable cities.
As Gerben likes to say: ‘Collaborate or Die’.
We were thrilled to host 30 attendees and give them an informational tour about Dudoc and MET. We explained what we do and more importantly how and why we do it – the second part of the session was an interactive group process where all attendees were using their creativity to build something for an online challenge. Congratulations to our two winners who were gifted a wall clock from our partner ‘urban fabric’ – see photo above!
Thank you to Creative Mornings for choosing Dudoc for your Field Trip. Our doors are open to you!
The built environment makes up an astonishing 45% of our global resource consumption and there are new, smarter ways of construction to reduce a building’s footprint while increasing living standards and financially viability. The emergence of the circular economy and the opportunities it presents are enormous and many are tapping into the industry from an early starting point.
On May 17th Dudoc hosted a small roundtable to discuss the Circular Economy in the building industry. We were very pleased to welcome Freek van Eijk, the CEO of Holland Circular Hotspot and local delegates interested in rethinking the building industry with a circular approach. Our findings are presented in the following order: planning/designing, building, innovative examples, and identified gaps in Vancouver based on the information we gained from Freek and the eight participants.
Lastly, the general awareness and understanding that waste is a resource and buildings are only a temporary ‘material depot’ is not as common in Vancouver as it is in the Netherlands.
Conclusion: The Netherlands are very active in the field of circular economy and Vancouver has great potential to implement similar strategies if they are taken as priority. Based on Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan2020 and Zero Waste Strategy 2050, we hope that working with the Netherlands and learning from each other will help reduce global resource consumption and drive the building industry to a circular approach.
On April 24th, Dudoc welcomed students from Rotterdam, one of Europe’s leading cities in urban sustainability. The students came well prepared to discuss several sustainability driven topics to both cities. While they learned about what we do at Walas from our CEO Gerben van Straaten, they also discussed pressing topics with Vancouver sustainability interested individuals. Students and other guests pitched their ideas to the audience and voted for the most influential topics to dive deeper into. The open space concept we facilitated gave room to discuss the topic beyond the obvious and lead to an animated ‘what now’ conversation.
Below are student articles written post-event on the selected topics.
Bike Economy Vancouver
The goal of our project is to stimulate and support cycling in Vancouver. To see how this could be done in the most effective way, we decided to make an analysis of what could be improved and how, by comparing the bike culture in Vancouver to the Netherlands. Some very interesting conversations at Dudoc confirmed factors necessary to stimulate and accommodate cycling in the city. At the least, these should consist of: making sure the infrastructure is being further improved to increase the cyclist’s safety; start giving cycling classes at a young age at primary schools and, with this, attempt to change the car culture. Finally, it is important to clarify the rules on the road which involve cycling for both drivers and cyclists.
By Tristan Blok
Out of a selection of four projects highlighted by one student group, the audience chose the Plastic Roads project as a topic for further discussion. After roughly 45 minutes of brainstorming between students and the Vancouver audience, below is the summary of conclusions based on the framework: “What, So What and Now What”.
Plastic roads are a Dutch innovation in, as the name hints, making roads purely out of recycled plastic. Further features include modular design, making it easier and faster to repair, and water drainage surfaces to a hollow space underneath the road. This area can also be used for cabling and sensors. Advantages from an environmental point of view are elimination of tar creation and sand use and, on the other hand, give the possibility of capturing value from millions of tons of plastic waste in rivers, lakes and oceans. As a starting point, cities can begin implementing plastic roads in pedestrian and/or cycling areas where its surface can be imprinted with educational or informational text and images. “
By MIhnea Radulescu
Fairphone is a social enterprise focussing on raising awareness about unethical working environments and conflict materials in the cell phone industry. The Fairphone 2 is a manifestation of Fairphone’s awareness raising campaigns.
Imagine having a modular phone like your own, but with the capabilities of easily changing spare parts yourself and having a completely 100% transparent supply chain where you precisely see where everything is coming from and how it’s made. Today, the knowledge gap between consumers and producers is at an all-time high as it is simply impossible to trace back the whole supply chain of a product.
The Fairphone 2 is a cry for action. Wanting to put a stop to unfair working environments like child labour and backbreaking work hours. Even you can aid Fairphone in this campaign. Not even by buying a Fairphone 2 yourself, but by raising awareness about these conflict materials, doing your own research on where the things you buy come from and operating your own phones in a sustainable way.
By project team
In Rotterdam, 62.2 kg of household produce is thrown away every year with over 50% of that being preventable. There are multiple options to reduce this.
In Rotterdam, we have around 40 urban agriculture communities where people can produce their own fruits and vegetables directly in their neighbourhood. The aim is to increase health and wellbeing of the residents and reconnect people to food growth to change the culture and understanding around food waste. The Netherlands is small and has approximately 17 million inhabitants, therefore not much land is allocated to food growth and large fields. Although there are a few, in order to save space, we started using vertical agriculture. The idea is that with advanced technology we can maximise our produce with the limited space available.
Another interesting concept in a city like Rotterdam is the responsibility of farmers and supermarkets to prevent/reduce food waste. Three to four days before the expiry date of a product, it is taken out of the supermarket shelf and either given to food banks to prepare meals or the farmer/supplier takes it back. The result of this approach is an enormous reduction in spoiled food.
By project team
Onyx Solar is a world leading manufacturer of transparent photovoltaic (PV) glass for buildings. An energy-generator, it is also multifunctional, economical, aesthetically pleasing and easy to install! Recognized as the “Best Global Photovoltaic Glass Provider” by the Sustainable Building Awards, Onyx photovoltaic glass has been installed in over 150 high profile projects around the globe. Other honours include the “Global Building Integrated Photovoltaic Glass Technology Leadership Award”.
The double or triple glazing system is safe, energy efficient and provides the same thermal and sound insulation as regular high-quality glass. Applications seem endless.
Come to Dudoc to take a closer look at Onyx Solar, touch and see how it works. Multiple colours available.
Remember the 3 R’s of ecological living? Although the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ motto is still relevant, the discussion around waste has gone even further. With Zero Waste being the new 2040 goal for the City of Vancouver and part of the Greenest City Strategy, recycling has shifted in the circular economy approach: Avoid, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, (repeat). Wondering how to get there?
On May 7th 2019 Dudoc is welcoming the Master Recycler Program at our showroom to hold their class 7 on waste: “Your Turn Now: Behaviour Change and Reaching Out”. The Master Recycler Program has come up with an 8-week in depth program to enable change-makers to fully understand the city’s waste system, to share that knowledge and help encourage waste reduction and prevention in our local communities. We are excited to learn actionable steps during that evening.
On May 28th, The Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) is hosting an incredible full-day summit. “Accelerating to Zero” is bringing industry and government together to explore policies, programs and innovations needed to achieve zero carbon buildings.
For those who are busy during the day, join us at the Chapter After-Party from 8-10pm at Steamworks to keep the conversations going and discuss how European innovations fit into BC’s new building codes. The afterparty is open to both conference delegates and the general public. Hope to see you there! Register today
The Green Building Council of Canada’s national conference, Building Lasting Change, is happening May 28-30 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. With the reality of climate change upon us, the conference will be focussing on future-proofing Canada’s buildings.
Bridge built with Wijma timber
Meet Wijma: A socially responsible producer of African hardwood. Wijma sources its wood solely from sustainably managed forests and proves that economic and ecological viability can indeed be merged. With over a 100 years of experience, Wijma’s large varieties of sophisticated timbers are used to build attractive and intelligent marine structures, bridges, lock gates, residential outdoor structures, noise barriers and guardrails.
“There is no more attractive or more natural way to link two shores than by a wooden bridge”. Wood inspires imagination, is aesthetically pleasing, environmentally friendly and Wijma proves that it can be implemented with low cost and unswerving durability. Depending on needs, Wijma is able to supply beams and rails in many shapes and sizes as well as wood types.
Bike racks to inspire, ever-dry chairs, and ice cream
As some of you know – there is a beautiful parklet in front of Dudoc. In the spirit of the Walas Way, it has been evolving over the past year based on how people interact with it and suggestions they have made. For Vancouver’s cycling enthusiasts, we recently installed one of the City’s winning designs from the Bike Rack Design Challenge. Curious which one we picked? Come visit us!
In addition, we placed two wonderful Tulpi chairs in the Parklet. These chairs are designed for the outdoors and will always stay dry. So, in whatever weather you wish to enjoy an ice cream from our dear neighbour Earnest Ice Cream, there are now more seating options for you. What is the next stage? Umbrellas? Come by, look at the new additions, walk through the open doors of Dudoc and give us your recommendations. We are keen to hear your ideas.