Related links: Pets
and Birds, Birds
and Windows, and Bird
info on the 1999 Living City Forum see the Schedule
and the presenter Bios.
A part of the
SongBird mandate was
to promote an awareness of nature within the city, and the city
within nature. We developed a series of events to encourage an awareness
of human culture and habitations as embedded within our environing
world - presenting opportunities to turn our ideas of human separation
on their heads. THE LIVING CITY was one of these. We believe - and
this was born out again and again in experience - that the arts
in particular can embody this way of being in the world and so both
remind us, and provide an experience of, connection.
The Living City was a community forum/symposium created to promote
this vision, and to encourage practical steps towards realising
this goal. We brought together artists, scientists, architects,
activists and others with the general community for a series of
presentations and conversations on habitat, relationship to place
and possiblities for how to better dwell within our environing world.
The emphasis was on providing possibilities and models for individual
action and stewardship, together creating a vision for a "Living
The model for the Living City forum was non-heirarchical. Presenters
were invited to speak, as members of the community, with specialised
knowledge to share. This is where discussion, and action, begins.
The first Living City forum was held on Sept. 5th & 6th 1998
at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver. In addition to
presentations and community discussions in the Roundhouse Performance
Centre, the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall housed an installation by
community organisations actively engaged in programs of conservation
& habitat renewal.
The Forum also promoted an integration of arts, science, and the
humanities, with presentations by biologists, landscape architects,
environmental youth groups and urban planners as well as poets,
singers, actors, and choreographers.
Groups represented in the exhibition hall outside included the Barefoot
Cartographers, Co-Development Canada, Community Gardens, Delta Farmland
& Wildlife Trust, Environmental Youth Alliance, Friends of False
Creek, Finn Slough Living Society, Friends of Boundary Bay, Friends
of the Environment Foundation, the Outdoor Council of B.C., VanCity
Savings Credit Union and Wild Birds Unlimited.
Introduction from the second (1999) Living City Forum - Sept.
25th & 26th at the Roundhouse Performance Centre:
Welcome to the Living City Forum. This is our second forum and this
year we've chosen to explore ways that individuals and communities
can contribute to the vitality and sustainability of our city. While
almost everyone recognises that the lifestyle choices of modern
or Western culture are a massive draw on the world's energy and
ecology, we are often unaware of how our perceptions and daily choices
can have a profound positive as well as negative effect on our region.
Because we do not live in this world alone, but are related within
a community of air, water, earth and billions of other species,
how we act within this community forms the relationship that we,
our children and our children's children, have and will have in
We've invited a diverse group of presenters, and you, the larger
community, to share knowledge, insights, and ways of being in and
perceiving the world, in the hopes that we can begin to re-imagine
our city, not as a concrete island, but as an intricately connected
expression of the ecology that nurtures & sustains it. We hope
you enjoy this year's forum and that together we help Vancouver
move towards being a city with an active consciousness of its place
- a Living City.
Beth Carruthers & Nelson Gray, SongBird Co-Directors