Welcome to Habitat Forum – please leave comments here!

Welcome!

For a brief introduction to the history of Habitat Forum, held in Vancouver in 1976, please see About Habitat.

If you would like to share your memories and/or archival materials about Habitat for this archival project, please comment here by clicking on the number in the speech bubble, or you can email me. For upcoming events related to Habitat, please visit the Events page.

Thank you!

53 Comments

  1. Roger Loubert

    Il etais Une Fois Un Village et Un Pays!!!

  2. Hi Lindsay,
    Your talk last night at pecha kucha rekindled the inspiration I experienced as a child at Habitat 76. As a student at an elementary school in Whalley, contributing my creativity to the paper pavilion was one of the coolest things I did in my then 12 years on this earth. Being a part of a greater whole helped shape my views in profound ways. Visiting Habitat at Jericho etched memories into by being. The feeling of freedom, the kindness and the spirit of that event has never left me. I am honest in saying that Habitat 76 was a pivitol point in defining who I am and what I do. I wanted more of it. Where did it go? Where did it all go?

    I want to contribute where I can. Just tell me what to do.

    Thank you for doing great work Lindsay.

    Robert

    • admin

      Robert,
      Your experience mirrors mine exactly, except we didn’t make the papier mache panels for Erickson’s pavilion at my school. You’re so lucky! Habitat was just that moment when life suddenly began to seem more interesting. It’s always exciting to find out that someone I already know turns out to be another child of Habitat. There are quite a few of us.
      Lindsay

  3. Anita Miettunen

    Excellent talk at the Art Gallery on April 19. I wandered in completely by chance and was captivated. I also attended Habitat’76 at Jericho as a kid and your talk brought back vivid images and memories of some of the unique structures I witnessed at the time. The historical insights you brought to light were fascinating.
    I learned a lot from your talk, and as a result, was inspired to submit comments to the Parks Board regarding plans for the Jericho wharf area. As a city, it is my hope Vancouver can be grown up and bold enough to encompass a broader vision, which recognizes both historical and cultural elements, as well as supporting the nature we love. I also agree it’s time to try and incorporate adequate recognition for what happened there (Jericho site) in 1976.
    As I haven’t been living in Vancouver for some time, though I’m a native, it was a great evening to catch up on what’s going on. I look forward to hearing more about the Habitat archival project. I’d like to get involved in some way as well, once I relocate back, which hopefully will be in the coming months. Thank you again for the evening’s presentation.

    • admin

      Anita,
      Please contact me (via this site – email is on the Contact page) when you’re back and settled!
      – Lindsay

  4. Hi, just looking for info on Habitat 76, my wife Evelyn (Roth) worked on banners there as an integral part of the sprucing up of the hangars. She met Hannelore there and they remained the closest of friends until the sad passing of Hannelore a few months ago. We live in Australia these days, and after our return to Vancouver this summer there will be many gatherings to celebrate the life of Hannelore. One fantastic event will be a block party at Kits House on July 9, 6-9pm. Bring goodies to share, we’ll have some movies and some live jazz. I have heard and read heaps on Habitat over the years from my beloved Evelyn. Hope to see and meat many fine folks. Cheers John Davis from little old Maslin (nude) Beach in South Australia.

    • admin

      Hi John! It’s great to hear from you again! I will spread the word. We are one week away from the 35th anniversary of Habitat, which took place May 31-June 11, 1976, so it’s fitting that there’ll be a party! And I’ll tell Al Clapp.

  5. Michael Ross

    My dad, an architect, took me to Habitat; I was barely 5 years old, but I have some memories of it. It overwhelmed me, but even then I got some of the vibe, and I remember being impressed by the number and range of people (I lived in a rural part of BC). My dad was especially impressed with Erickson’s paper architecture.

    About 15 years ago I attended a lecture by Erickson here in Montréal. I had a book of his architecture with me, and afterward I went to get him to sign it. He saw that my dad had signed the book when he had given it to me on my birthday, and I mentioned that it was through my dad that I had become interested in Erickson’s architecture. I mentioned Habitat, and I saw him pause, and then I realized that he thought I was mixing up Safdie’s Habitat in Montréal with his own work. I felt very embarrassed. I would _never_ mistake Safdie for Erickson.

    Here in Montréal we have some buildings left from Expo 67. I like to go down there and imagine what that expo must have been like. But even more, I imagine how it must have been when a few of the buildings were transformed, in the early 70s, into the headquarters of Canada World Youth; apparently youth from around the world bunked in some of those buildings.

    They have been torn down now, too, and I think that the wonderful edifice that is CWY is in danger of being demolished by the bright lights currently at the helm of our society. Dark times everywhere.

    Good luck with your project.

    Michael

    • admin

      Michael, sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. This is such an interesting set of memories – and from a 5 year old! It’s crazy how much architectural heritage we just throw out in this country.

      If you have any other memories, please add them here! Thanks again.
      – Lindsay

  6. shaun

    I found coverage of the Habitat event recently in the globe and mail.
    They were reporting on the transformation of the site that is happening now. Seeing the photo of the two hangar buildings immediately brought me back to the memories I had visiting the site as a 9 year old boy. Fuzzy memories of some events happening in the water…maybe a boat parade….and some wooden structures in the buildings. They handed out buttons with the habitat logo on it. My sister and I had those kicking around for years after. I also remember the logo on a mural downtown somewhere. At the time I did’nt know what it was all about.
    Thanks for dredging up the old memories on this blog. Good times.

    • admin

      Shaun,
      Thanks for your memories, however vague! Those were amazing times. It’s been great to hear from so many who were at Habitat. It seems that for many of us who were kids there, Habitat was somehow formative. It seemed to provide a model for how large civic events should be designed. Thanks again for writing.

  7. Kami Kanetsuka

    The Habitat Forum at Jericho was a very important event for me. I was a new Canadian and re-adapting to living in the west after four years in Nepal. I met a person who became a lifelong friend Shyamali Khastgir, who was drawing decorative fish on the concrete near the hangars. A beautiful artist and a peace activist, she lived with other artists, environmentalists etc. in one of the hangars after the forum (until they were turned out and the hangars pulled down.)

    Apart from the wonderful presence of Margaret Mead, Mother Teresa, Barbara Ward, (who correctly said more people would die from waterborne diseases than war) and Buckminster Fuller, my meeting with Shyamali was one of the most important things that happened for me.

    Over the years we would meet now and again, either here or in India, and in May I visited Shyamali in Santineketan, W.Bengal where she was living. Sadly she passed away on August 15th, India’s Independence day and at the moment I am writing about our meeting at Habitat for a commemorative book that will be published about her in Kolkata. Happy memories of that time will remain with me and it was the first time I realised just what a good place Vancouver is.

    • admin

      Kami,
      Thanks for this comment! I will contact you by email. It’s interesting how many people who worked in the area of housing in Kolkata were at Habitat I in Vancouver. Looking forward to hearing your story and comparing notes!
      Lindsay

  8. Mike Murnane

    I was involved in another aspect of the 1976 Habitat Forum … providing housing stays for the hundreds of “unofficial visitors” that came to participate. The operation ran out of a closed down gas station on 4th avenue (if I remember correctly). I created a little keyword accessed database where we stored the details of the rooms provided by regular Vancouver citizens. We had a half dozen terminals connected to a DEC computer that was made available by BC Tel. It was all fairly low key … but was quite successful. I would love to see if anyone has pictures of it.

    I remember going down to Jericho to have a beer at the “longest bar in the lower mainland” and marveling the energy and art that was so evident there.

    • admin

      Mike, Thanks for this! I’m out of the country right now but will email you soon – if you have time to answer a few questions? Thanks again! – Lindsay

  9. Mike Murnane

    Oh right — I stand corrected — “The longest bar in the World!”

  10. I’m a year late coming across this blog on Habitat forum. I’m wondering if your book is published yet Lindsay? or is it an ongoing project?
    I would like to contribute my story, which is related to my participation
    in the Earth Healing ceremonies that took place at Jericho that summer and the presence of Thomas Banyaca sharing the Hopi prophecies and much more on other extraordinary people I met there & of the life changing experiences & fondest of memories I have of this event. I have asked myself many times : why do we not live this way every day as a conscious community? Habitat certainly offered us the tools and showed us the way. Never too late. Mara

    • admin

      Hi Mara – No, it’s still in process but coming along quickly! Please contact me via the email address (habitatforum76 at gmail dot c0m) if you have information you can share or just want to say hi! And thanks for the above!
      Lindsay

  11. lee kenney

    Ah, it was a time, I lived at 3rd and Alma. Here are some memories, music by Pied Pumpkin, Provisional Brass Tacks Choir. George Dyson’s baidarkas. There is a youtube of a bicycle ride in Vancouver complete with old radio background. This time has a revelance for today, concern for the planet, remember this was pre-plastic floating debris oceanic islands. Dig out a old whole Earth catalogue!

    • admin

      Lee, Thanks for this! I think it has relevance for today too. If you have any other recollections, please add them in!

  12. Laurent J. Dubois

    From my Facebook posting tonight:
    A Full Moon

    Letter To Myself.

    May 31-June 11, 1976 found me and our little St. Paul delegation at the UN Habitat Conference in Vancouver. I cannot recall how it happened, but I bumped into Barbara Ward and we started to chat. She was delighted to see our community represented. We talked about many things, but she suggested that I attend another session after hers. She said, “there is another little woman here that is worthy of support and attention.” Mother Teresa was indeed tiny and she dreamed a big dream. The project that eventually brought her to St. Paul in 1982 began when Bishop Roy offered us some free land to begin a fund raiser to help her.
    It was the tireless work and inspiration of my late partner and friend Jean Louis Lagasse that made the big dream a reality. The rest is history.

    Last week Bishop Gary of Whitehorse stopped by for a” visit”. He offered the gift of a lot owned by the Diocese if I could find away to make it benefit the poor.

    The timing is peculiar as I am in the midst of planning a move. I lead a very solitary life here and the prospect of undertaking another big project seems prohibitive.

    I have always admired Jean Vanier and what he did by bringing the world L’Arche. There may be a possibility of building a home here in Yukon for L’Arche.

    I am bewildered and overwhelmed at the possibility.

    Just to add: The St. Paul delegation built a fire and brought a branding iron on which they burned the Habitat logo on recycled pieces of cedar we were able to scavenge. I wonder if any of those momentos has survived?

    When Mother Theresa visited St. Paul AB. in 1982, she attended at the Barbara Ward Center there, accepted a cheque for nearly a million dollars for the Lepers of Calcutta, and was bestowed any Honorary Doctorate from my Alma Mater, The University of Alberta.

  13. Dan Rubin

    Habitat Forum is still a clear memory: I was there, participated in some of the events, and observed and wrote about others. Particularly memorable was the stage opening on the harbour where so many performed, a traditional yurt from the steppes of Asia, and a healing ceremony led by Hopi elders which I wrote about for a local publication. I still have some photos taken at the time but more than that I share the sadness that the hangars were not preserved and used by the local community, but torn down. Shame on Vancouver, for the lack of vision that allowed so much of what was good in the city during the 1970s, that so many sites were levelled (Maplewood Mud Flats, Jericho hangars, and so on). Yet much remains and was protected and preserved, informed by the vision that was honoured by Habitat Forum.

  14. Dan Rubin

    I remember seeing George Dyson’s baidarka on display there too. Later met him and attended the signing of his book. A great vision of reinhabiting the coast flowed from his design for a small boat combining space age materials and traditional form. Also remember seeing Evelyn Roth’s work there (knitted and woven structures made from cloth and from videotape). It was a real seed bed for ideas and possibilities.

  15. matthew

    I remember being there event though I was only twelve; however, this is not why I am writing. My uncle, Allan Clapp has just been diagnosed with brain cancer. If you knew him, please send a message.

    • admin

      Matthew – I know Al well. I will be visiting him this week I hope. I have spent long hours with Al and I had come over to speak at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2011 – we led a public slide show together on Habitat. I am very, very sorry to hear he’s ill. He’s a great guy. Habitat Forum would never, could never have happened without him. (PS you and I were both there at age 12!)

  16. mark chan

    I am almost late two years for this blog on Habital Forum while that time 1976 was living at 5th Ave when to go outside as surprise lots of people in Mac Donald Street what going on to find out Oh Habital Forum because I am deaf then next day after work to go there for three times one day went to Social Centre to getting beer to drink saw beautiful whale banner I wanted to know Where to get your book of Habital Forum 76

    • admin

      Mark – the book isn’t out yet but I will inform you when it is! Thanks for your comment. Lindsay

    • mark chan

      Re in Social Centre while I was talking in pub told him look like ten years old anniverary of counterculture really good memories in Habital Forum

  17. John Olsen

    I’m sorry I can’t contribute any archival material. I may have some but it is buried in a huge pile of my past documents in storage and I haven’t either the courage or the time to attack it.

    I found about your site when I starting searching for information about the darrieus rotor. When I first visited Habitat 76, I spotted a darrieus and noted it was turning, even though there was little or no wind. I was sharply disappointed when I found they were motoring it.

    While the whole visit was satisfying, the most memorable outcome was that I found Hasan Fathy, the Egyptian architect who wrote a seminal book called Architecture for the Poor. I spent an hour with him in his hotel in the West End and it inspired me, however modestly, to try to emulate him. From him I learned that appropriate technology means much more than adapting technology to nature; it also includes appropriate social and cultural fitness. I was working for a First Nations band near Hope. Every day of the summer, a vigorous and highly reliable wind came up as soon as the sun began to heat up the rocks on the surrounding mountains and I wanted to harvest that free enrgy to irrigate the farm we were developing. When I put the proposal to the band, they rejected it: “Why can’t we have electric motors instead?”

  18. Dan Clemens

    Just sending out my love to Al and his family……Dan

  19. At the age of 12, Habitat 76 set the bar early for me about what a cultural event should be like. I still use it as the benchmark. Thank you Al for the vision you embraced and shared. You created an inspired human in me.

  20. admin

    It is saddening to have to report that Al Clapp died on April 9. His wife Geraldine and family were around him to the end. He was 83. RIP Al – there are many of us who will miss you. You changed many lives and altered our city forever.

    I have provided a profile of Al here: http://habitat76.ca/2013/05/rip-al-clapp-february-1930-2013-habitat-forum/

    I’d also like to reassure everyone that your messages to Al were read to him, and he was thrilled to hear from you all. Thanks so much for writing in.

  21. Linda Moore

    I have very strong memories of Habitat 76 at Jericho Beach, as it was just before I began graduate studies in Architecture at UBC in September 1976. I still remember sitting cross-legged in the front row (on the grass) watching Buckminster Fuller who was on a slightly elevated stage. His lecture was incredibly mesmerizing and his energy was so high that he had an elastic band to keep his glasses from flying off his head. He was intensely passionate about everything he spoke of.
    I also recall that I was there with an old boyfriend and another friend – both of whom were also completely passionate about architecture – and we just kept smiling at each other. We felt like we had died and gone to heaven…..having a front row seat to hear Buckminster Fuller was a dream come true!

  22. Anthony Hill

    I was part of a team of graphic artists who made announcement cards for the closed-circuit television system. We used Letraset and worked in a room in the Vancouver Hotel, or was it another hotel? I went to see Buckminster Fuller talk about water.

  23. So many good memories of Habitat Forum! I’d come back to Vancouver after sojourns on Hornby and in Courtenay. Tony – a boat builder whose last name is escaping me – and I strongly advocated that Paolo Soleri and Buckminster Fuller be allocated a much larger space for their joint talk than had been set aside for them. (Fortunately, we prevailed – all sorts of people clambered in to hear Paolo and Bucky speak.)

    A high point was getting to waltz while the Vancouver Symphony played! (Hardly any other couples took advantage of the opportunity, I don’t know why.) Strauss by symphony – what a treat!

    Then there was wonderful Native art, including perfectly splendid carving.

    What an extraordinary decade, Vancouver in the 70s.

  24. Roger Loubert

    Message to John Olsen… : Nice seeing you on this site… and to Lindsay , We spoke before but somehow were not able to arrange for a meet up… , Congratulations … on the 1 Hour 38 minute or so NARRATIVE….. ( I also worked on Heritage Forum .. in 1976 and have a very powerfull Memory of it’s deep significance on the People’s who not only built it but who attended it… )… such as it obviously had on you…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8A2O6qtltg

    Merci !!!

    il etais une fois, Un Village et Un Pays…

  25. Scott L. Hochstrasser

    In 1976 I was graduating from Simon Fraser University. My degree is in Geography and Economics. I had most amazing professors including Michael Elliot Hurst and Jack Gibson. I’m an American and came to Canada at the age of 21 after serving in Viet Nam because after 14 months in that stupid war I realized the ones who truly understood the situation dodged the draft. My life experience at that time in South East Asia and SFU education resulted in a total shift in my being; mind, body and soul. I volunteered at the 1976 Habitat Forum. Alan Clapp was my Stewart Brandt. His efforts allowed me to hear and speak with amazing futurist. Bucky, Paulo etc who further inspired my personal transition. I went back to nature that summer, built a cabin on Pender Island, and managed a small farm. I got involved in the Capital Regional Plan for the Gulf Islands, joined my neighbors to protest some pro-development forces and eventually got tossed out of Canada in 1979. I went back to CA, got a Masters in Environmental Planning Policy, became a government land use and environmental planner for 10 years. I traveled to Poland in 1990 working with the Business foundation on affordable housing needs and plans for housing people with new found rights to shelter. I have been in private consulting ever since doing environmental planning and land conservation subdivisions with large open space donations designed to preserve sensitive natural resources. I have worked on houseboat communities, affordable housing projects (including building by hand an affordable home for my family and 9 others in Marin County CA) and sustainable green home development including redeveloping a 1920’s small home office for my business, and currently I am in the process of restoring a small 1890’s farm house in Tomales Ca a wonderful historic community.

    In 2013 I returned to Vancouver for the first time in 30 years. I visited an old college roommate, the University campus and the farm on Pender Island. Another revelation for me – a rebirth of the spirit and purpose I left the county with that has been considerably worn down over the years. Walking Jericho Beach in tears of joy, I remembered those amazing heady days at Habitat that in my mind had been fuzzy but in my heart remain and leaped for joy

    All the above described because my experience and involvement in Habitat I 1976 had a profound impact on my life. It lead me to a full life of pursuing a habitat at home as an example of habitat for all in the future. Now I have a son working in the Obama White House in the counsel of environmental quality, he has the deep spirit and will likely be participating in the next global effort to write a climate change action program for the globe, the spirit of Alan and the force of Habitat’s 1976 work lives on.

    I do SO look forward to seeing your book please let me know when it will be released.

    • admin

      Thanks for this fascinating account of your Habitat experience, Scott! I’m going to contact you for an interview via email. Great story. – Lindsay

  26. geraldine glattstein

    I know Alan’ soul is with us now and forever, he would have love all your comments, for me as his life partner life will never be the same without him.

  27. Roger Loubert

    Happy New Year everyone..!!!! …My interest this Year is to find a way to have of all of us- who have a direct Experience and Memory – of HABITAT 76 to Communicate directly.

    it would be helpfull if this site created a Directory of Emails , so that we could interact with each other .
    Meanwhile , if this is not possible , I offer my Email , villagecanada@gmail , as a SECRETARIAT EMAIL…to facilitate this DIRECTORY….

    Thanks… and Happy New Year …once again…

    Roger Loubert .
    778-870-3018

  28. Roger Loubert
  29. worked as a security guard for the Earth Healing Ceremonies of the Hopi tribes for the duration ,quite the gathering and adventure it has been since

  30. Margaret Sutherland

    I had my first baby in April 1976, so I’d plunk him into his Snuggli carrier, stuff a few diapers in somewhere, and get on the bus from Broadway and Main to Habitat and spend long summer days breastfeeding the baby (now 39) and talking to people. I hung out a lot in the alternate power camp up in the meadow somewhere, using the treadle sewing machine-powered band saw, with baby happily napping on my back. I remember a wonderful choir performance from some folks from a divinity school in (was it Boston?), and a slide show presentation on a avocado-farm commune some folks were starting up in California. And oh, my gosh, yes, the Evelyn Roth sculptures, I spent so much time in one special crocheted hanging teepee. I saw that same piece at the VAG a couple of years ago, all the memories came flooding back. A truly magical time!

    • admin

      Margaret – thanks for this great description!

  31. Alison Izat

    Thank you for a fantastic Jane’s Walk today Lindsay. You gave us terrific insight and provided feel good memories of this significant event of 1976. Jericho is my current neighbourhood and I will walk the park with new awareness and understanding thanks to this talk. I look forward to your book this fall and the archived photos! Best Alison

    • admin

      Thanks for coming Alison!

  32. Linda Putman

    I was 10 and my best friend Leah and I lived a wonderful 8 minute walk to Jerico. We thought it was a environmental carnival of first nations, races, music, art, colours and appreciation of the environment we live in. I also gained an appreciation of volunteering and helping those who need it. It was very clear to even young kids like us, learning to carve wood, mix organic paint colours, playing instruments from all over the world and keeping the area clean, was all a gift given to us by people whose passion was to share their individual gift.
    My family received and gave as volunteers for multiple organizations, and habitat amplified this in me with its example giving in every area of arts and environmental appreciation.
    In short it was so creatively fun, inspiring and the starting point for so many future inspirations.
    My volunteering is with therapy dogs. My time is a gift given to me by others like at habitat who gave their time to me and now their time is being passed on again and again through volunteering and global and local awareness.
    Its so sad the big hangers are gone, but I do appreciate the effort to free the beach back to breath.
    The art on those hangers was amazing, seeing a picture of the first nations mural on the hanger brought back many childhood memories. I am so lucky to have parents who embraced my enjoyment in habitat as a 10 year old. Both are still alive and well in their mid 80’s and we are very close.
    I don’t remember who he was at habitat but I would like to thank the man who taught us to carve wood to look like a duck head. I remember his encouragement even though my carving badly resembled a duck. I hope my daughter who is now turning ten gets to experience a habitat while she is young.
    Thank you to all those creative, aware people for making it happen.
    Linda

  33. I had the good fortune to work at Habitat 1976 being offered the
    job from New York where I worked for the Consul General.
    Vancouver was a stunning location for this conference and its
    many memories and interesting people have stayed with me
    all my life. An inspiration to what can be discussed and achieved
    in our world…..An honour to be part of this.

  34. To the memory of one of Canada’s finest statesman and one of the
    Big names at Habitat 1976 : Maurice Strong died December 2015…

  35. Deepak Sahasrabudhe

    I worked on the “dubbing” the 220 films that were submitted from around the world. Each film was submitted in one of the six official UN languages. (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin and Arabic). Our team at Hobel Leiterman Productions in Toronto translated and recorded the audio track of the programs to the other five so that every film would be available in all 6 languages.
    It was the first big project I was involved in — I designed the Technical work plan and Lisa Doty, a New York resident, re-located to Toronto to mange the Translations. I can tell you more if you are interested.

    • admin

      Yes please! I’ll email you, Deepak – thanks!

  36. I also remember well Habitat 1976 in Vancouver and was (I guess I’m older than most who have commented) involved in the NGO forum, as a Social Planner at SPARC of BC, lobbying for and providing assistance for persons with disabilities. Vancouver has the oldest city bylaw for accessibility, but I believe it was adopted in 1979, I remember well the multi-cultural component, the excitement, Jericho installations, meetings with Maurice Strong and his partner Hanne Marstrand, both of whom had a large impact on me. I welcome the opportunity to reflect on that event and wish everyone the best on Habitat III.

  37. Larry Fourchalk

    I was employed at Habitat Forum and have some staff photos.
    I worked at the sawmill producing lumber for the site and I then worked on Security during the Conference.
    I have great memories of the entire experience and am proud to have been a part of it.

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