The City of Paris decided some time ago it could not meet its climate change objectives by staying with the Haussman plan for six storey buildings. More and more mid and high rise buildings are appearing in Paris, not just … Continue reading Clichy-Batignolles, Paris, the plan
How do other western cities reconstruct major areas of their inner urban core? I set off to visit 7 such major urban renewal projects in Europe. I added a few more neighbourhoods on the way, bringing the total to over … Continue reading A Walk in Paris
Here’s part 2 of the Portland series, from 2015. They did an excellent job of creating lively streets. We haven’t done nearly as well here in Ottawa. Yet the formulas for success are out there. Do note that since this story was first written, Claridge’s Flats project has greatly improved, with benches and gardens and resident participation and involvement growing. (We might look at that in a future story). Alas, the city continues to shun the area, except to collect fees and taxes, but not providing so much as a tot lot for the scads of kids that live there. … Continue reading Walking Portland’s SouthWaterfront streets
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
Longfields Station is on the transitway. In Barrhaven. Someday, probably not in my lifetime, it may be a LRT station. But it works just fine now as a transitway station for buses. It is not a major hub. I dont … Continue reading Is this the best we can do at a transit station?
With the increasing popularity of vehicular homicide as a form of political expression, our public spaces have become less welcoming, forever. Which is of course how terrorists and political extremists win. Fortunately, the public memory is short, and decorative planters, … Continue reading Protect me from motorists? terrorists? whomever !
Two of the intensification projects we looked at in the last few days are on Traditional Main Streets. The City’s official plan for TMS calls for up to six story apartments, built lot line to lot line to create a … Continue reading Rules are for Others, part 3, Gladstone Avenue
Ottawa has an Official Plan (OP), and multiple levels of various sub plans, including many — the CDP or Community Design Plans — which aim at intensification. Indeed, CDP’s could be called City Densification Plans. So, over on Somerset Street … Continue reading Not What the Plan envisioned, part 2, Somerset edition
Occasionally an intensification proposal comes along that seems to fit most of the rules (guidelines, really…). So let’s look at what Project1 Studio is proposing for 440 Bronson, just north of Gladstone. The site used to house Guytel Phones, and … Continue reading Intensification by the rules, part 1
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
The City is hosting an “open house” on Tuesday (Nov 28, 5.30pm onwards ) to show their plans for the future Albert and Slater Streets between Empress (the Good Companions) and Waller (Rideau Centre, UOttawa U). Here are some things … Continue reading West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part viii – Albert-Slater alert
Let’s look at that confusing stretch of road between Bayview Avenue and City Centre Avenue. Legally known as Albert Street, many folks persist in calling it Scott Street (which only runs west of Bayview). It’s a bleak and uninviting bit … Continue reading West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part vi – Bayview Station overpass
As west side portions of the Confederation Line advance in construction, more fall landscaping is going in, like these trees planted on the north side of Bayview Station: I vaguely recall that the terms of the NCC lending the rail … Continue reading Confederation Line Forest
Recall that we spent the last four days in Barrhaven, specifically around The Haven, a multi-faith housing cluster near Longfields Station. The Haven design removes most “private” space in favour of “shared” spaces, per the model common in social housing … Continue reading Barrhaven, The Haven, and Cityview
The Haven multifaith housing initiative project is located very near Longfields transit station. The transitway and a rail line are right over the fence: The Haven’s entry point to the grande allee debouches onto the MUP: That entry is smokin’ … Continue reading Barrhaven outside the Haven
The wood-frame low-rise apartments at The Haven had a number of attractive touches. The individual front doors, for example, had a quality light fixture: And the doors had lever handles and two peepholes, since not everyone is made the same … Continue reading Barrhaven Haven, apartment living
Ahh, the artist’s image of what the finished project will look like ! Someday. Maybe. We hope. For now the trees are smaller and the landscaping thinner and gate posts were “valued out”: The housing cluster is cleverly arranged around … Continue reading Barrhaven: Faith in common elements
Occasionally I get out of my west-side-of-the-downtown shell. Last week, I headed out again to Barrhaven. The occasion: opening of the Multifaith Housing Initiative. So who built the 98 homes in Barrhaven? The MHI was established in 2001 and has … Continue reading Barrhaven: Faith in Place
When the Ottawa Humane Society left Champagne Avenue there was some sort of contractual agreement they had to offer the land to the city. For parkland. Nothing said the city had to buy it. So they didn’t. And as a … Continue reading City sleeps while mystery bridge decays
So much to learn from a simple picture. Take a gander at this bus stop from … somewhere… [ late edit: photo by Klaus Beltzner, in Santa Cruz, CA] So what’s so special? First, look at the bus stop. It’s … Continue reading Bus stop, bus stop, where’s the bus stop?
So YES, there are successful examples of place making from Ottawa streets. Let’s look at two. To promote a special autumn festival event, the Italian Canadian Community Centre has installed fall-themed decor at many intersections along Preston. They instantly change … Continue reading Placemaking on streets
Back in 2012 I showed you the picture below. The first apartments on the current rebuild of LeBreton Flats (Claridgeland) had been occupied for a year or so, and baby toys were starting to appear in windows. I asked, how … Continue reading Tot Lot Not
This week yet another community will appear before Transportation Committee asking for STOP signs to slow speeding traffic and make neighbourhood intersections safer. Asking for STOP signs is a tactical error, as it shifts the debate from the road safety … Continue reading Non-stop traffic calming
Whatever is happening recently, we have a habit of extrapolating indefinitely into the future. But circumstances change, and what was true before is not necessarily true in the future. Consider the trope: “tiny condo”. If I had a dollar every … Continue reading Return of the large apartment
Picture standing on a rail platform in some interesting place. Off in the distance is the tunnel portal where the train appears. It is a pleasant and amusing scene that caught everyone’s attention on this platform. above: Varenna station, Italy. Do … Continue reading See the train coming out of the tunnel? Maybe not.