At the beginning of 2015, I wrote a very personal blog post about my experiences as a female advocate, and how - when travelling in urbanism circles - I frequently feel like one of the few ladies in the room. While my piece resonated with many, both positively and critically, it did spur an invitation from New Urbanism Film Festival (NUFF) Director Joshua Paget, to come and speak about the issue at their 3rd annual event. After much humming and hawing, and some fortuitous timing, we at Modacity made the decision to travel back to Los Angeles, with the entire family in tow!
We have some very fond memories of L.A., after Chris attended the first ever NUFF in October 2013, leading a live-streamed workshop on effectively promoting bicycle culture, and walking away with our first ever award: "Best Bicycle Short Film" for our Cycle Chic Film "Heart & Soul". Chris also penned a photo essay for Hush Magazine about his experiences getting around by bike and transit, entitled "Seventeen Suburbs in Search of a (Cycling) City". We also spent a wonderful Christmas holiday in Venice Beach that year, and everyone is very excited about going back and doing some more exploring by foot, bike, and transit. Of course, the trip won't be all fun and games...
With the completion of the Arlington Passages film series, we are excited to have three of the six films as official selections at NUFF, showing at select times Friday evening and Saturday. On top of that, I will also be speaking Saturday afternoon about Women in Urbanism, looking at the barriers faced by women, why it is important to encourage involvement to build more inclusive vision for our cities, and strides that have been made by women throughout North America, both historically and today. It is an honour to be able to share my experiences and offer some insight on a topic near and dear to me. Check out the NUFF schedule for details of these and other events.
Being storytellers of Vancouver's cycling successes, we love meeting up with people in other cities to talk about our experiences. In Los Angeles, the 2035 Mobility Plan was recently approved by a vote of 12 to 2, with the decision has already inspiring "bikelash". So it seems that our visit there is quite timely. Working with StreetsblogLA, Santa Monica Next and Santa Monica Spoke, we have arranged two separate presentations about our observations on Vancouver's emerging bike culture, thanks largely in part to a streetscape more welcoming to people on bikes. The events, taking place Thursday evening at the Echo Park Film Center, and Sunday evening in Santa Monica, will feature our storytelling style as we look at not just the quantitative results of the infrastructure changes in Vancouver, but also the qualitative, and how the types of people using bicycles as transportation has changed. As always, we use images and film to help tell our tale, because, after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
While riding along Los Angeles' gorgeous waterfront is an absolute delight, we recognize that getting elsewhere by two wheels can be a veritable challenge. However, it is clear that the city is ready for a shift in perceptions and priorities, albeit with some apprehension. What we hope to show, through all our speaking engagements, is how beneficial it is for them to look ahead and accept these inevitable changes. L.A., much like Vancouver, has good bones left over from its streetcar days, and although the automobile had dominated its streets for some time now, change will not nearly be as difficult as it seems... For the good of all Angelenos!