With onset of Smart Cities, blockchain and the attempted manifestation of a digital empire run by A.I., I thought I would begin to research and investigate the Smart City hubs and digital infrastructure being built in Vancouver, BC Canada. With the intention to unearth Vancouver’s role in all this because this is a global cybernetic system, unfolding at the local level (the micro and the macro).
Some people consider Vancouver to be the Silicon Valley of the North, and it is definitely involved in the creation of Smart City Hubs, which is a term I was vaguely familiar but didn’t fully understand until I began reading articles on Smart Cities, including some of @AMcD work on Wrench in the Gears a couple of years ago.
One of the major Smart City Hubs in Vancouver is the 'Amazing Brentwood’, a newly built mixed use planned community that is designed to capture the heart of humanity.
“The Amazing Brentwood is transforming into an urban gathering place that’s going to change the way people experience shopping, dining and entertainment. A global place that captures the heartbeat of humanity.” - The Amazing Brentwood
Built upon the unceded territory of the Squamish First Nation, it officially opened a couple of years ago. The land was acquired by Shape Properties a Canadian company that has been involved in developing mixed use, ‘complete’ communities in Western Canada. Their focused on building complete communities that are close to rapid transit.
They acquired Brentwood mall just after the 2008 recession began as well as another shopping centre Lougheed Mall. They want shopping centres because of the large land available to build out a Smart City Hub (‘complete’ community) that’s also close to rapid transit. The Amazing Brentwood is indeed right next to the skytrain.
“But at the heart of a number of Metro Vancouver’s urban neighbourhoods, there are large regional shopping centres that create a significant opportunity. These centres provide the scale and co-tenancy demanded to attract and accommodate a truly complete community of shops, services and community facilities, as well as the developable land for a meaningful supply of residential homes and employment offices. Plus, they’re located right on rapid transit.” - Beyond Mixed Use: Walkable Complete Neighbourhoods on Transit
Shape properties isn’t the only organization involved with the Amazing Brentwood, there a few others. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) is one of them, they acquire and hold real estate as part of their Liability Hedge Portfolio, and Amazing Brentwood is part of their portfolio. Crystal Fountain is a company that designs programmable water features, and they design the one at Brentwood.
When I first saw HOOPP was involved in the construction of ‘The Amazing Brentwood’ I had a suspicion that they are involved with impact investing and the ESGs, and when I read their Real Estate Sustainability Policy, I was right.
“As a major real estate owner and developer, HOOPP Real Estate has a responsibility to
understand and consider sustainability factors in our investment processes and to measure the
impacts of our portfolio. Doing so enables us to create value and manage risk by, for example,
identifying new market opportunities, managing future regulation, adapting to a changing
climate, and reducing resource consumption. This supports HOOPP’s fiduciary duty to generate
stable, long-term returns for our plan beneficiaries.”
“Sustainable real estate management is aligned with HOOPP’s commitment to responsible
investment, where environmental, social and governance (ESG) information is considered
alongside financial information”
My impression is the HOOPP isn’t going away because part of their Real Estate Sustainability Policy commitment is supporting management and tenants in improving occupant health and wellness, among other things. This makes me wonder how many sensors and Smart devices are embedded in the Amazing Brentwood and how are they being used to track and collect people’s data, thoughts, emotions etc.
At the centre of the water feature is a Katsura tree, and it is a tree native to parts of China and Japan and according the Japanese folklore the Katsura tree represents the Gods descending from the heavens, and the joining of Earth and Sky. I know Alison and a few others have written articles and shared videos on how trees are being used in the creation of the metaverse, and I wonder if the placing of the Katsura at the heart of the water feature is their attempt to capture the heartbeat of humanity via programmable water, optics (I do see some magenta at the centre of those lights) and LEDs.
Crystal fountain has designed installations for Milan (thank you Alison) and France with a lot of tree and mythological symbology as part of their installations. Makes me think that they are definitely harnessing sacred energy and the energy of the people interacting with the installations.
I am going to continue looking into HOOPP as well as a toy store I saw at the Amazing Brentwood called Token Studio. When I started doing some research on Token, I noticed how these collectible toys are involved with NFTs and Blockchain. I’ll also be writing an article on lamp posts.