When businessman E.P. Taylor unveiled plans in 1953 for Toronto’s first master-planned suburb, Don Mills, the world gasped.
North York’s planning department called the vision for the 850-hectare site “preposterous.” Media from around the world critically eyed the subdivision. The city at large wondered about the feasibility of this ambitious development at Don Mills Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E., which promised to provide mixed-income housing for 30,000 people and work for 25,000 more.
“Don Mills was a conscious way of developing a new community,” said Karl Frank, who worked as the landscape architect with Project Planning Associates Ltd., a company owned by Macklin Hancock, chief planner for Don Mills.
It wasn’t Toronto’s first suburb, of course. But until then, cropping up on the edges of the city, such areas had been built block by block, with little central planning. Even residential areas built from blueprints in the 1920s and ’30s, such as Leaside, the Kingsway and Lawrence Park, were tiny by comparison
The study of 508 farmers’ markets across the country by Farmers’ Markets Canada, including several in Ottawa, found sales amount to more than $1 billion annually with a total economic impact of up to $3 billion. That’s a lot of heritage carrots.
The study, the first of its kind in Canada, should be welcome news in Ottawa where the recent birth and growing popularity of the Lansdowne Park farmers’ market has mirrored the national trend as consumers flock to places to buy fresh, locally grown food and produce.
Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman says a major cultural shift across Ontario’s power-system agencies is needed if the province is to become a North American leader in renewable-energy development.
Smitherman said his goal is to get organizations such as Hydro One to be more proactive when it comes to accommodating green-energy projects on the grid. He plans to issue a “strong directive” to such agencies in the coming weeks to drive that message home.
A foot-friendly plan for the west end … in Hamilton
Small street improvements for pedestrians can make the Ainslie Wood and Westdale neighbourhoods more vibrant and healthy, according to a citizens committee.
“We want to make the community as walkable as possible,” said Suzanne Brown, a public health manager for the city, Westdale resident and member of the Ainslie Wood Westdale walkability committee.
“It’s a benefit. It’s a draw for families and we think it’s a healthier community.”
If progress is at the heart of the OECD role, how can it be defined in the contemporary world of globalisation and rapid change? The historian Arnold Toynbee gives us the clue. The rise and fall of civilisations is explained by Toynbee as the capacity to harness the latest available techniques and distribute the benefits to the population at large.
Can you imagine anything duller than a report entitled Population Aging and Public Infrastructure: A Literature Review of Impacts in Developed Countries? Likely you can’t. But don’t doze off just yet, because this report, released by Infrastructure Canada and produced by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, contains some amazing stuff.
The report deals with that much-maligned generation, the baby boomers, and it is full of foreboding statements. Or at least, if you’re a baby boomer, you’ll definitely get a sense of foreboding when you read such grim declarations as: “The first Canadian ‘boomers’ will reach age 65 in 2011.”
You might even find yourself wondering how it happened that those boomers who used to warn “Never trust anyone over 30″ are now 30 years past the 30-year mark which no one could be trusted, thus making them doubly untrustworthy. Where did all the time go? Just yesterday, you were caught up in the trend of showing flash cards to your infant to teach him to read in his crib, and now here you are, on the cusp of turning 65 and causing major damage to your city’s water pipes. That’s right. It’s all in this very strange report. Seniors are going to cause dire things to happen to local water supplies.
A good community gets better…Lowertown in Ottawa
After growing up in the leafy, sleepy suburbs of Nepean, my move to Lowertown in the early 1990s came as a welcome change of pace. No sprawling bungalows, half-acre lots and snakes-and-ladders avenues here at the butt end of the ByWard Market. Instead, Ottawa’s oldest neighbourhood, once the stomping (and singing, and dancing, and drinking, and stomping) ground of French Canadian lumbermen and Irish canal workers, was for me an entirely new world of narrow clapboard duplexes, minimal yardage and straight, grid-pattern streets.
Everything you could want was in easy walking distance: clothes shopping along Dalhousie and Sussex streets, grocery shopping in the produce stalls, butcheries and fishmongers that line By Ward Street, pub-crawling along York and George. On warm summer nights my girlfriend and I dined al fresco on one of the restaurant patios lining Clarence Street, or attended outdoor concerts at the Astrolabe; on cold winter days we explored the National Gallery of Canada or took in movies at the Rideau Centre theatre.
Aircraft Pollution - a futuristic view: Study and report
Global Metropolis: The Role of Cities and Metropolitan Areas in the Global Economy: Martin Prosperity Institute: Richard Florida et al
Amsterdam as Smart City: Going Green, Fast With help from IBM, Cisco, Philips, and other companies, the city’s infrastructure is becoming ultra energy-efficient, attracting global attention
The report, published in the April issue of the journal Environment and Urbanization, says metropolises, commonly denigrated as big, dirty places, are in fact spewing fewer greenhouse gases per capita than the rest of their countries.
“Blaming cities for climate change is far too simplistic,” said author David Dodman, a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, England. “There are a lot of economies of scale associated with energy use in cities. If you’re an urban dweller, particularly in an affluent country like Canada or the U.K., you’re likely to be more efficient in your use of heating fuel and in your use of energy for transportation.”
Dodman found that the average Canadian is responsible for 24 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, while Torontonians just 8.2 tonnes.
Harvesting the upswing: Farmers reap higher prices as the worldwide demand for food rises
Reinventing America’s Cities: The time is now
THURSDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) — Fish from five U.S. rivers were found to be tainted with traces of medications and common chemicals, according to a new study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Baylor University.
The common antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl), an anticonvulsant and two types of antidepressants were among the seven types of pharmaceuticals found in the tissue and livers of fish from waterways in or near Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Orlando, Fla. Each river is considered “effluent-dominated,” because they receive large amounts of wastewater discharge from nearby sewage treatment plants.
Statistics Canada: Unsustainable Transportation: Employed labour force1 by mode of transportation, both sexes, 2006 counts, for Canada and census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations of residence – 20% sample data
“(I)t all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided,
the future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
in the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone…
Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night…
Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth”
Perhaps you have noticed a decreased level of freedom in American (and, indeed, world) society. You might have read about restrictions on freedom to travel, destruction of long-standing legal protections,police excesses perpetrated against citizens, maintenance of torture as federal policy, and a whole host of other depredations. If you are unfortunate, you may have been singled out for violating one of the rules scribed on the hundreds of thousands of pages of Federal Regulations and suffered more directly from a loss of freedom. Or you might simply have backtracked economically from the decline of economic freedom, in 1998 the fifth-freest economy in the world, 2001 sixth, and in 2005, twelfth (link behind the WSJ’s site walls).
Though you might blame any number of obvious villains and historical processes for this, the name Ebenezer Howard would probably not come to mind. Howard created the Garden City idea of moving population out of concentrated urban areas like London and into a country setting, (inspired by the socialist polemic Looking Backward) and proved a major influence on urban planning; Radburn, NJ, where perhaps the cul-de-sac was invented, is an example of a place constructed to his ideal. He is one of the villains of Jane Jacobs’ magisterial classic, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, although she takes pains early on in the book to avoid overt criticism of his motives.
Jacobs sees cities as the locus of economic creation; her first chapters detail the critical function played by commerce in the maintenance of order, an order she contends in Death and Life (and later also in The Economy of Cities) that arises spontaneously where conditions permit it. She shows that ancient cities were crippled economically by the large proportion of the populace whose work was considered unimportant economically (women and slaves), so that no improvements to the economic functioningcould arise from them. This contrasted markedly with medieval European cities, about which serfs and peasants were known to remark that “Stadtluft Macht Frei,” or city air makes one free…….
Libraries as the third place projects that made me really want to advocate the idea that libraries are a third place in the American culture and landscape.
Students give up wheels for their own two feet: This piece from the New York times looks at a program in Italy that encourages children to walk to school
If you can’t afford a green roof then…. Paint it White!