We feel very lucky to call Gordon Price both a mentor and a friend. For those of you unfamiliar with his body of work, Gordon is a six-time Vancouver City Councillor, who later served on the boards of Metro Vancouver and Translink, became the Director of Simon Fraser University’s innovative City Program, and still prolifically writes on his blog Price Tags. In the fall of 2013, we approached Gordon about starring in the fifth of our series of Cycle Chic Films, and he was gracious enough to share his love of the West End with us in a film entitled “Back and Forth”.
Twelve months later, when it became clear Metro Vancouver was headed for a monumental and divisive referendum on transportation funding, Gord approached us to collaborate on a film that would put this decision into context, and stress the key role smart planning and quality transit have played in shaping the region. The resulting four minutes of video – called “Our Story. Our Future.” – received widespread acclaim and viewership, but was sadly not enough to affect a process that seemed designed to fail by the provincial government.
Since those disappointing results were revealed in July, we’ve stayed in regular contact with Gordon, discussing ways we can continue the conversation began with “Our Story. Our Future.” The way we saw it, Metro Vancouver leaders desperately needed to renew the vision and commitment that made it one of the most liveable regions in the world. While our initial instinct was to make a larger-scale documentary, after months of talks with various players, we opted to produce a six-episode audio podcast with the working title “Cities in a Sea of Green”.
To be written, recorded, and edited between January and August 2016, this audio production will strive to remind Vancouverites they have inherited a gem of a region, while celebrating the many difficult decisions that shaped it, such as the Strathcona Freeway Fight, the Agricultural Land Reserve, and the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority (later Translink). It will be produced by the same creative team that executed the “Cycle Chic Films”, “Our Story. Our Future.”, and “Arlington Passages”, including our friends David Phu, Todd LeBlanc, and Christoph Prevost.
The stories and ideas presented in each 20-minute episode will be loosely based on the books “City Making in Paradise: Nine Decisions That Saved Vancouver” by Mike Harcourt and Ken Cameron, and “Dream City“ by Lance Berelowitz, although we hope to provide our own unique perspective on these anecdotes. Over the next few months, our team will be delving into archival footage, and conducting in-depth interviews with a wide range of relevant characters, including (both former and current) politicians, planners, citizens, writers, and activists.
We are all incredibly excited for the challenge of working in a new medium, and dealing with the complexities of a project that encompasses politics, history, housing, transportation, city planning, and community values. As we begin the research and writing phrase, though, we want hear from you: What are the historical and contemporary topics you would like to hear in this production? What other books should we be reading? Who are the past and present players to whom we should be speaking? Drop us a line in the comment section, or contact us via email.