I remember last year reading the exciting news about the city of San Francisco banning unsolicited phone books, and also plastic bags. The news circulated around the world and one could read about it in many places: CBSnews, no phone-books, no plastic bags.

This week, guess what I found at my doorstep? A phone book, really…!? Wrapped in a plastic bag. I did not request this, nor it seems the previous person living in this address… I did not need a plastic bag announcement to discover I could download the yp app… It seems easier to know that there is a mobile application, but not where to opt out from the phone book delivery. Now it is time to fill the opt out form.


A piece of Origami

Experience the streets of San Francisco through a pataphysical map of Paris… see the city through an alternative reality... where rubbish on the ground is a piece of origami...

Rubbish on the ground = a piece of origami

Rubbish on the ground = a piece of origami

Plane passing = a sky fart

Plane passing = a sky fart

This is a small glimpse to the 4 days of Carnivàle Pataphysique in San Francisco, co-curated by the great Peter Maravelis and the wonderful team at the City Lights Bookstore.  The carnival symbolically started on Nov. 1st,  the death day of the French writer Alfred Jarry (1873–1907), who defined pataphysics as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments."

Big thank you to Julie and Peter for their kind invitation this weekend.  A true San Francisco experience! - By the way, if you want to discover more about about San Francisco's cultural production and history, you might be interested to check out the book: "Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres", by  R. A. McBride and Julie Lindow.


Back in October I had the joy to meet and team up with Peter @bromka and Jose @tumis at the ReRoute/SF hackathon. This was organized by the Hattery Labs.

Our concept: Neighbor-line! - At glance, on a daily basis, you would use Neighbour-line to get information about the bus transportation in San Francisco (e.g. schedule, location, routing, etc). However, while waiting at the corner for the bus, you would get the opportunity to read stories happening on your own commute line, stories from your neighbor riders. Neighbour-line would allow you to contribute your own short stories as well, and report something that was not (e.g. a broken window on the bus). Because, it is not only about filling reports, but also about follow up and getting it done. Neighbour-line would send the reports directly to the MUNI officers and from Neighbour-line you could follow up the status of your request. Having the window fixed would for sure improve your daily commute. On top of that, if your story or fix-request became popular by receiving a lot of stars from your fellow community riders, you would end up earning points towards adding more rides to your clipper card.

 I am sure you can tell that this concept was inspired by Neighborland ;-)

Do you like chocolate cake?

Inspired by Alex Gilliam’s talk, (held at McGill University’s School of Urban Planning in Montreal), Jason Prince and Molly Johnson invited Alex to lead in the building of a neighbourhood master plan -- in chocolate cake! -- while inviting passing residents to explore the future of the area.

The fun and hard working students from the School of Urban Planning baked two dozen chocolate cakes for this event (and I baked some too!). During the three-hour event, people streaming into the Vendome Metro Station were asked to help build and decorate the chocolate cake model, but, before getting their hands dirty, to offer up some advice in writing on what would make Vendome a great place.

Some of the recurrent wishes of the people were: more green space, a cafe, better accessibility for those with mobility needs and better access to the metro. One of my favorite ones: Music!

But the number one issue for this part of Montreal is a 200 foot connector piece that will link two bike paths and allow cyclists to get downtown safely, as illustrated in this video. The Government is investing over 4.5B$ on a state of the art hospital and a new highway interchange nearby, and residents hope they can afford a million or two to safely connect the bike path and support active transport too!


Chocolate cake neighbourhood, courtesy of: Public Workshop and CURA: Making Mega-Projects Work for Communities (a project of McGill University’s School of Urban Planning).

Urban Swap Box

"Take something, leave something", interesting urban experiment seen in the streets of Montreal.