Being Productive Again: Day 1

our sign

Now that Intersession is done, we’ve finally been able to put that downtown space to some use. Cristina and I spent the better part of the day in the space, using it basically as an office, but we’ll be there at least one more day this week and potentially one day on the weekend picking up where we left off on some older projects and inevitably starting some new ones.

On today’s agenda: see the new hybrid buses and look for some Text In-Transit signs (which we found), set up a small work area in the space, make some preliminary decisions about our book so we can get started on it, and photograph a new research site.

Also, we’re looking for any biodegradable plastic bags you may have (hint: Bulk Barn gives out biodegradable bags) for another project. If you have any, please drop them off at 406 Pelissier. We’ll be there Tuesday from 12noon until around 4pm.

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Fusing bags


Justin has some process shots, and those will probably be posted at some point, but I figured I’d go ahead and share the product of five or so hours of ironing inside-out plastic grocery bags. So far, I’ve made some envelopes, a box, and some random swatches to see if leftover scaps can be fused into a solid sheet (they can). Eight layers (four bags or one bag folded on itself twice) yields a stupidly strong, Tyvek-like material that can be fused to itself (that is, you can fuse seams to make envelopes or pouches or fuse multiple, smaller sheets together to make a piece of material any size). Uhm. And you can also weave strips together and fuse that (top left), but that doesn’t really have much in the way of practical applications.

And there’s these guys:


Each pouch is made from a single bag, and the one on the left is actually compostable (if any of you are Bulk Barn shoppers, you should hang onto those). I do ever so wonder what we’ll do with biodegradable plastic (read: mold-proof) pouches with rare earth magnets embedded in the back…

Shapes for Planters


It’s a product made by MIO from recycled paper, and is available at Target, but I mainly wanted to post this as a note. As we’ve now “mastered” the process of making paper, we should consider different shapes for the planters we’re working on, which will likely help to guide the process of making the planter frames from the wire we have.

[via Inhabitat]

Brainstorming Community Gardens

Community Garden mockup for the Sandwich community in Windsor, Ontario

Darren, Josh, and I met with some folks from the Sandwich Community Health Centre and Maya from FedUp to start discussing community gardens. The meeting went well, serving as a good starting point to start figuring out what we might be able to do in Sandwich. The SCHC is working on a site on Prince Road, so trying to get something at the riverfront shouldn’t overlap with their efforts.

After the meeting we did a site visit to start brainstorming, taking some photos and making some notes. Josh and I did some sketches and really rough mockups to try to start imaging some potentials for the garden. We liked the idea of circular planters, similar to the Victory Gardens, I’ve posted on previously, so that’s what you’re seeing in the aerial photo above, with the  planters being those 12 small dots near the windmill. Though, the planters would probably vary in size, and in general would  be larger than what’s mocked-up above. 

Ideally, a garden that we initiate can act as a pilot project for the rest of the city. There’s a long way to go with this project, but I wanted to make this first post to mark the start.

The LED Sign is Finished!!!

MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, the LED sign is finished!

It’s taken a number of weeks, but we finished wiring the LED sign at tonight’s Office Hours! It was a pretty incredible moment to plug in the sign, turn off the lights, and realize that we made this come together. I’m really, really, really happy with how it turned out!!! There are still a few more things we need to do before this project is completely done, and I would like to try it on batteries, but now that we know how bright it is, I think we’ll come up with some more LED projects soon.

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Victory Gardens

Victory Gardens, a community art project that encourages people to grow their own food

Victory Gardens is a new project by Amy Franceschini. The project recalls the WWII victory gardens project that encouraged citizens to grow their own food as a tactic to keep them calm over the war and support their troops. Franceschini, the daughter of an organic farmer and an industrial farmer, takes the project back to where it began—in front of the city hall buidling in San Fransisco, where they planted a large garden and since introduced a pilot project to disseminate the skills and tools needed to do urban-scale gardening across 15 households throughout San Fransisco.

There’s also a write-up on the SF Victory Gardens 2007 project in the previously mentioned JoAP.

I know FedUp is working really hard in this city, and that Tom Lucier proposed planting a garden for the downtown mission, and that Scaledown once (maybe) suggested the old Greyhound station downtown is turned into some kind of market, and that there’s rumours of a symposium surrounding urban activism that may discuss some of these very things… so (since this is what BCL does) I have to suggest that we move forward with the planning for a large-scale urban/community gardening plan, something like turning 10% of the riverfront into a community garden (maybe on the slopes that lead up to University Ave). Anyone interested?


Indian Road

Broken City Lab presents preliminary documentation of a section of Indian Road, a street located immediately west of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario. This area is one of our potential research sites. Ideas?