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creative class

Starbucks is taking over Toronto too

By samanthaorwell on June 7, 2008 - 6:44pm


Saturday, 7 June 2008
Starbucks is taking over Toronto too

The Toronto Star published something very interesting today.

It is a story about Starbucks. I think Vancouverites take our coffee shops for granted. Satrbucks doesn't often make the headlines. In Vancouver we sort of assume it will happen. Death, taxes, Starbucks. All in the same. But Toronto has a critical eye on some of the Starbucks that have gone in their downtown in the last few decades.

If you’ve ever been to Toronto you know that they have as many Tim Horton’s as we do Starbucks. I can understand the appeal. It’s cheap, open 24 hours and is a one stop shop for a snack, meal and/or coffee.

But Toronto isn’t exactly a café-culture town. It’s really a pub town, people streaming up and down the streets of Bloor, College, Queen and Richmond in their respective neighbourhood watering holes. But perhaps Toronto is trying to get some of the café culture acclaim that Vancouver and Montreal so enviously master.

Richard Florida is comin' to town

By samanthaorwell on May 13, 2008 - 1:54pm

Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Richard Florida is comin' to town
On May31- June8 UBC in Vancouver will be hosting Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences conference. Most presenters will be of the academic variety and will no doubt be spewing jargon left and right (stuff I personally love), but it is worth a look.

One of the saddest aspects of our society is our level of civic engagement. Time and time again it is the same crazies that come out to the type of lectures that inform our policy. It is so important that citizens are there to represent the peoples' voice. Policy doesn't come from nowhere- there are academics and experts whose research informs political actors. A lot of research is good and a lot of research is bad. But most importantly, a lot of good research is misinterpreted and used as justification for neoliberal policy. Subsequently, bad research and misinterpretation of good research is used to justify policy documents such as Project Civil City that takes a clear 'broken windows theory' approach (a theory that makes lay-sense, but is all correlational with no real proof or statistical evidence that physical maintenance and image of a city afffects crime rates etc).

Dear Richard Florida: You aren't nearly as offensive as I thought

By samanthaorwell on January 18, 2008 - 5:28pm

After constantly bashing Richard Florida in almost anything I write I decided to actually read his books. You can't be a good critic if you don't know what you are criticizing. So I finally borrowed Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class from the library. Buying it is not an option- I don't want to give any money to that hack. It's not like I was devoid of all his writings. I read excerpts, his articles, discussed his ideas through seminars. They always offended me. I think I was introduced to Florida in 2003. A year after he came out with the book and a couple years after he introduced his thesis through articles. So it is a fairly new concept even though it feels old (probably because I've been bashing Florida's thesis for years). I was even informed that it was quite the hot topic in scholarly circles. So I'm glad I feel I have a grasp of the whole field since I've been following it almost since conception.

Anyhow, I haven't even finished the book. In fact, I'm only on Chapter 3. But I have to admit, his thesis isn't as offensive as I thought. I just don't think it's necessarily constructive.

Gastown,Gentrification,Geography, & Geeking

By samanthaorwell on January 18, 2008 - 5:23pm

Let me just say…

It has been ridiculously beautiful in Vancouver for the past 3 days. Good lord, if only I had time to enjoy it. Or if only my proctastination-skillz didn't preclude me from enjoying it. Anyhow, let's talk about Workspace. I heard about it last year but the guy describing it was a lame-talker ( i.e. can make anything, even exciting events, sound lame). I rediscovered it somehow by perusing (yes, on Facebook) online. That, coupled with my new found love for Gastown, makes me excited about this idea.

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