The view from Portland

As part of a retrospective of previous stories on new urban neighbourhoods, lets revisit Portland’s South waterfront new urban neighbourhood. While the details of what gets built and how, may vary, new urban neighbourhoods are tending to look more and more the same. After all, architects and planners read the same world-circulation magazines and journals, attend conferences, and share ideas (sometimes better, sometimes worse). It’s part of that world homogenization that sometimes makes it hard to tell just where one is. Yes, there is a loss of sense of place. Portland is interesting because it was a strong influence on … Continue reading The view from Portland

Scott Street interim alignment meeting Dec 11

Albert-Scott Interim alignment, west from Champagne Avenue Open house 11 Dec 2017 at Tom Brown arena, 6pm to 8.30pm This story is mostly aimed at those citizens who are keen on city planning and the details of what is planned … Continue reading Scott Street interim alignment meeting Dec 11

Bit of new west side Trillium MUP opens

The existing Trillium multi user pathway (MUP) on the EAST side of the OTrain tracks has been a hit with the commuting and recreational public. Its popularity grows weekly. Less well known is the planning “win” when the community obliged … Continue reading Bit of new west side Trillium MUP opens

Bosco Verticale – a high rise forest in the city (part 1)

My (short term rental) apartment in Milano was in the Porto Nuova district, a central city urban redevelopment area replacing Pirelli and other industrial factories. The redevelopment had been sputtering along since the 1950’s (hello, NCC) but picked up steam in 2009. A key showpiece of the urban redevelopment are the Bosco Verticale towers (bosco, woodlot or treed parkland; verticale, vertical) which graphed two hectares of woodlot onto the sides of  18 and 26 storey high rise condo towers. The taller building is 110m (360 ft); the shorter 76m (249 ft). These are similar size buildings to the ones presently built along … Continue reading Bosco Verticale – a high rise forest in the city (part 1)

Claridge’s Icon going up

Claridge’s Icon project at Preston and Carling has reached a new low. The 8 or 9 storey underground parking garage hole has been dug and I hear cement will be pouring before the year is out. The 45 storey, 485′ high condo tower includes several floors of office space in the podium with some retail at grade. This is about twice the height of the next tallest building in the area, Ashcroft’s yellow-brick rectangular student residence building on Champagne, located beside the first glass tower of SOHO Champagne. Ashcroft’s residence will be completed by August 2016, at which point they … Continue reading Claridge’s Icon going up

Westward Ho ! (part iii) the curse of stations and transit users

The Cleary Avenue end of the western LRT and motor expressway corridor is shown here:   The westbound trains enter the picture from the right, along the orange line. Cleary Station is shown in dark blue. The Unitarian Church and apartment building is shown a bit further west (left). The underground track alignment swings gently under the Unitarian parking lot to get out towards its (under) Richmond Road alignment. The swing out to Richmond will occur under a car repair shop and/or Kristy’s restaurant. These businesses will not remain in place during construction. Since dig-the-ditch-and-cover construction won’t start until 2017 … Continue reading Westward Ho ! (part iii) the curse of stations and transit users

Westward ho ! (part ii) Western LRT along the parkway

  Rochester Field, now to be a condo development site with a green corridor to the parkway along its western (left) edge, is shown on the above map just above the word Richmond [Road]. The new LRT line, in a shallow cut-and-cover tunnel, with the eastbound traffic lanes of the Ottawa River parkway piggybacking on top, is shown as a thick orangey line extending straight along the parkland. This kilometer-long straight section I find very alarming. The “Parkway” is already derisively known as the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway because of its current high volumes and speeds that rarely descend to the posted … Continue reading Westward ho ! (part ii) Western LRT along the parkway

Building LeBetter Flats, part 7, the view from Portland

Portland, Oregon, is often referred to as a city that has gone further with “Smart Growth” than other cities. It promotes transit by train, streetcar, bike, and aerial tram. It has numerous award winning downtown parks and redevelopment sites. IMO, its planning reputation and branding sometimes exceeds its delivery. One site in particular is comparable to LeBreton Flats in terms of location (just outside the downtown core, on former industrial lands), although Portland’s South Waterfront is twice the area (402 acres vs NCC’s <200 acres). Portland’s has room to expand as it takes over adjacent industrial users; the NCC’s site … Continue reading Building LeBetter Flats, part 7, the view from Portland

Building LeBetter Flats, part 6, The Sens again, with Plan B

If all that overindulgence in food and sweets still permits, recall the story a short while ago about the Senators moving to LeBreton Flats. As I pointed out then, it makes much more sense for a new hockey palace to go west of Preston rather than close to Booth. Reasons? It would be adjacent the major station (Bayview) where the east-west Confederation Line crosses the north-south Trillium line (formerly known as the OTrain). The Prince of Wales former railway bridge over to Gatineau is supposed to have a cantilevered bike and ped path on it by 2018, according to our … Continue reading Building LeBetter Flats, part 6, The Sens again, with Plan B

LeBetter Flats (part 1) Yellow, Brown … silver too

The NCC’s current LeBreton Flats project comes in for a lot of criticism. I think it’s mostly drive-by criticism, with all the scatter gun impreciseness and alienation implied by the term. For some time now I ask people criticizing the yellow brick buildings on the Flats if they have actually walked around them. Naah. Couldn’t bother. We even had a prominent real estate developer criticize them at at community planning meeting and He hadn’t actually been out there. Talk about shoot from the lip. Here’s some pictures that show the buildings from the street and the grounds, but not from … Continue reading LeBetter Flats (part 1) Yellow, Brown … silver too

Illuminating thoughts

The NCC recently held an education session on the glories of modern lighting techniques for buildings. Floodlighting is out; highlighting and story-telling is in. Opposite city hall is a very expensive condo building. Perhaps you’ve noticed it? The spotlights mounted around the base of the building, just above the dark podium level, shine up. Four or five floors up are a few more uplights. And if you look way way up, says the Friendly Giant, there’s yet another set. Except one of them shines down. Right into your eyes. The glare at sidewalk level, or from the lawn at city … Continue reading Illuminating thoughts