I am currently a student in the Master of Arts in Planning at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning. As grad students, we sift through long-winded academic and technical writing – much of it important, but much of it difficult to communicate back out to the world. I worry that as I step up onto the “professional ladder”, as a planner, I will move further away from reality, from lived experience, and community wisdom. So, I would like to begin try to communicate what I am learning in planning school, in an accessible, graphic way. Inspired by a day of shadowing Vancouver architect, David Wong, I attempted to tell the story of the day we spent together in comic-form.
David Wong is an architect, who calls himself an urban ecologist. He recently launched his first graphic novel, Escape to Gold Mountain, a graphic history of the Chinese in North America, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. He was a recipient of a 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his professional work and volunteer efforts to champion environmental causes and green design, and was inducted as an Honorary Witness by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada on September 18, 2013. Most recently, he has been leading a community effort to restore the Ming Sun Benevolent Society’s building in Vancouver’s historic Japantown, at 439 Powell Street. It was truly an honour and a privilege to spend a day with David.
The sum of all these things he does, in my mind, is planning.