It’s hard to believe, but 2016 marks just the third year of operations for Modacity, after the pair of us decided to combine our various writing, photography, speaking, and filmmaking pursuits under a single umbrella in early 2014. From our perspective, it was in direct response to a glaring gap in the marketing and communications efforts of the urbanism world; reinforcing our core belief that better storytelling is a crucial ingredient for better city building. And so, as 2016 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to review the year that was for Modacity, and take a look at the projects and places that made it a memorable one.
Cycle City Tours Promo Films
One of the biggest success stories to arise from Vancouver’s bicycle revolution belongs to Cycle City Tours. “Chief Pedaler” Josh Bloomfield founded Cycle City in 2010, offering storyteller-guided bike tours, a venture that has since grown to a staff of over 30 full- and part-time employees. Demand was such that Josh expanded his business into two brick-and-mortar storefronts along protected bike lane in the city centre. Both shops offer a fleet of upright city bikes, family-friendly accessories, self-guided tour maps, picnic lunch boxes, and expert advice from their knowledgeable staff. We are proud to call Josh and Cycle City Tours a long-time friend and client.
Second Annual Cargo Bike Championship
We started planning the sequel to Vancouver’s First Cargo Bike Championship in late 2015, allowing us to secure some major sponsors, including Yuba, Xtracycle, Bike Friday, and Urban Systems. A bigger budget allowed us to hire a graphic designer, photographer, and film crew, truly taking the event to the next level. Once again, we worked with HUB during their ‘Bike to Work Week’ Wrap-Up BBQ, with 29 participants on longjohns and longtails of all shapes, sizes, and budgets; competing for some fabulous prizes, and demonstrating the endless possibilities of a cargo bike. They were hauling kids, pets, soccer balls, skiis, beer kegs, watermelons, and a Christmas tree, all by pedal power! Hopefully, we'll see you in 2017 for part three!
#CyclingAbroad in The Netherlands
This past summer, we were lucky enough to spend five weeks in The Netherlands, to learn about the drastic cultural changes needed to shift away from the car-centric paradigm, to one that puts people first. With the generous support of Daily Hive, Urban Systems, Two Wheel Gear, and our own audience, we visited five Dutch cities (Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Groningen), and spoke with local politicians, planners, and citizens about the strategies utilized to improve livability, mobility, and social equity. Upon our return to Vancouver, we published a series of feature-length articles, photo galleries, and short films about our experience, and will continue to reference these inspiring lessons and stories for years to come.
Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Conference
During the week of September 12th, 2016, we had the distinct pleasure of playing a role in Vancouver’s hosting of the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Conference. As a part of our activities, we curated a 90-minute Public Film Night, sat on a panel discussion about Victoria’s exciting new #Biketoria Plan, organized a group ride and cargo bike race at the North Shore Networking Event, gave a pair of Pecha Kucha talks (Placemaking Without Age and Vancouver’s Cargo Bike Revolution), a short talk at the Dutch Urban Design Centre at an event hosted by the Consulate General of The Netherlands, and sponsored the city’s first open streets ride: Bike the Night. It was an engaging and exciting week of sharing Vancouver’s multi-modal success story with friends old and new (many of whom we have met on social media, but never in real life).
Writing is what keeps us busiest at Modacity, and 2016 ended up being a period of transition for us. After completing weekly contributions to Daily Hive for over two years, we decided to part ways in early October, and focus on creating regular, high-quality content for our own website. But when it was all said and done, we completed an amazing 62 different pieces for a variety of publications. Here are our five most popular stories from 2016:
The Strait and Narrows Podcast
For virtually all of the calendar year, our creative team has been quietly working behind-the-scenes on a six-episode podcast series. Our aim is to celebrate some of the stories and people that have helped shape Metro Vancouver, as well as the examine some of the difficult decisions and challenges both individuals and leaders face in order to deal with future change and growth.
First announced in late 2015 with the working title “Cities in a Sea of Green”, it brought us face-to-face with a variety of key figures across the region, including Agricultural Land Reserve Founder Harold Steeves, Strathcona Freeway Fight Leader Shirley Chan, and New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote. It also gave us the opportunity to get to know some lesser known characters that have made the Lower Mainland their home, many of whom we are proud to call friends. We are getting close to completing all six episodes, which will be released on a bi-weekly basis in early 2017 under the new title “The Strait and Narrows”.
Thank you for your continued and unwavering support. We really do appreciate it.