Archive for August 2016
Upon reading the following brief account of the ghost word dord, it immediately struck me that we in Vancouver have the misfortune to live in the City of Dord. As a particular delight, the story includes the fear-inducing word planned. Further expatiation will follow presentation of this bright nugget, latched onto only as a discerning crow might treasure a piece of tinfoil.
The most famous ghost of the twentieth century appeared in Webster's Second New International, published in 1934. Webster's included many abbreviations in its wordlist, and the compilers planned to include the abbreviation for density, usually D, though sometimes a lowercase d is used. In July 1931, one lexicographer — Austin M. Patterson, special editor for chemistry — typed a 3 × 5 card explaining the abbreviation: he headed it "D or d" and provided the explanation "density." But when it came time to transcribe the card, someone misread it and ran theletters together without spaces, producing "Dord, density." It took five years for aMerriam editor to notice the strange entry, supported by neither etymology nor pronunciation. After investigating — no one could find any evidence for a word dord — he realized it was a mistake. He made an annotation: "plate change / imperative / urgent," and the printer removed dord from the next reprint, filling the otherwise empty line by adding a few letters to the entry for doré furnace. Pages 152-153 from "Of Ghosts and Mountweazels," Chapter 10½ in: Jack Lynch. You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf from Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia. New York : Bloomsbury Press, c2016
The suggestivity of this passage could prove as boundless as the heights to which a Babylonic tower might aspire.
To start with, notice the astounding textual homology: a foolish mistake ran the letters together without spaces. Think of thin streets. Think of plazas plundered, both before (Westbank at 2220 Kingsway) and after (Cadillac Fairview at Pacific Centre) those plazas ever see the light of day.
Next, appreciate how the dictionary publisher could fix the density mistake after a mere five years with a plate change. The beset residents of Vancouver promise to become far more beset when a tectonic plate change restructures the City of Dord.
Finally, revel in thinking about the conjunction of “ghost” with “density.” The incongruity of the two notions emblematizes the future that Bob Rennie has infamously promised to Vancouver. An overall proportion of ever more dwellings for ever fewer residents, as global wealth runs amok. From another angle, ponder how the wraithlike nonsubstance of ghosts has no truck with concentration of matter.
Here is a conundrum for the apostles of density:
How many ghosts can float around in one microsuite in the City of Dord?
Comment on Rezoning Application for
3868-3898 Rupert Street & 3304-3308 East 22nd Avenue
1. The FSR of this building is too high. In a neighbourhood of mostly single family houses, an FSR of
2.0-2.5 would be more appropriate.
2. The height and massing of the proposed building needs to be reduced. Aside from the school across the street, which is set well back from East 22nd Avenue, most residential and commercial development is one or two storeys.
The Rupert Street frontage of the site includes a full city block between East 22nd and East 23rd Avenues, a total of 270 feet. The building takes up 258 feet of this frontage. The development should be broken into two buildings, varied in size and height (i.e. 6 storeys and 4 storeys , along this frontage. There should be a courtyard at least 25 feet wide between the buildings to add some ground level open green space. These changes would make the development fit better with the neighbouring single family houses. A 2-building typology would also increase the number of corner units with more than one exposure, giving them more natural light and ventilation.
3. There should be more family-sized 3-bedroom units. The location is ideal for family housing. It is across the street from Renfrew Elementary School and a couple of blocks from Windermere High School. Renfrew Community Centre, Renfrew Park and Renfrew Library are all within easy walking distance. There will be a grocery store and other shops and services in the development. Yet the proposal is for 70 one-bedroom units and only 4 three- bedroom units. There should be at least 10 3-bedroom units in addition to the currently proposed 30 two-bedroom units.
4. The location of the lobby and elevators needs to be changed. The currently proposed location means that residents in the northeast corner of the building need to walk almost a city block to reach their units from the elevator. Ideally, there should be an entrance at both the north and the south ends of the development, with an elevator at each location. This is an additional reason to build two buildings. If this is not done and only a single entrance is built, the lobby and elevators should be located on Rupert Street near the centre of the building.
9 July 2016 / rev 2 August 2016