Friday, May 12, 2006

Urban Planning For Dummies

Ok, today I am determined not to write a blog about Stephen Harper or George Bush or anything else that is an easy target and ain't gonna change until someone holds an election.

I think.

I was wondering what to write about when I went by the Toronto Star website. It had a feature article on how architects are vying to save Toronto's waterfront. This has been a topic of some years, but it just so happens that I was having a discussion with a guy about this yesterday - hence, this post.

See, this guy I met yesterday is on my beach volleyball team. The team kinda sucks and the weather was atrocious yesterday for our first game, but I'm not getting into that here.

This guy is a civil engineer. I am somewhat fascinated by this line of work because it is so important to our cities, yet we hear so little about them and their plans. I mean, geez, these are the guys who are supposed to be shaping our cities and affecting our everyday experiences with them. But apparently they aren't being heard, either.

This particular guy is from New Brunswick originally but was sent to Toronto for work (he wanted to go to Boston, not that we should hold that against him). Let me tell ya, he does not have a high opinion of the 905 region (Toronto burbs).

This guy confirmed all of my beliefs about city planning in Brampton, Missisiauga and York region; it's a mess and the powers-that-be are making it worse every day. Every time I see a farmer's field disappear to be replaced by a series of Lego houses, I shake my head. "Where's the infrastructure?" I ask. The stores, the schools, the parks, the churches, the necessities of suburban life? The burbs' reliance on the automobile is getting worse by the second and the road system is going to be paying the price big time. Too many houses, too many cars going too far.

Stop building horizontally and start building vertically. You have to make land a priority. Conserve the green space and make people live in buildings and the like. No more sprawl. If I ran the show, I would put a moratorium on house contruction in the 905 and encourage apartment buildings and condos. And all of those condo buildings would have shopping areas on the ground floors so people could get their crap done without polluting the atmosphere with their cars and tying up traffic. No more waste.

...does that require an election?

As for those architects I mentioned:

"The five finalists in the $20-million international competition will present their ideas starting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday night at the BCE Place Galleria. Their drawings will be on display at BCE Place, Harbourfront Centre, Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens, Fairview Mall and Scarborough Town Centre for two weeks beginning Monday. The winner will be announced on May 31."

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