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  1. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Hear+that+anglo/2557359/story.html#ixzz0fTOymy7v This was a fairly interesting article. It's true that Italian, Jewish, and British anglophone Montrealers tend to speak differently. Being the latter, I tend to find that I don't have any accent whatsoever (in fact, my family from other parts of Canada says it sounds really "clean". I talk exactly like the anchors on Canadian news.) Strangely, this phenomenon is unique to Montreal it seems. Do you have an accent in English that is impacted by your first language, ethnicity, or place of origin?
  2. Montreal's Jews aren't going anywhere By Yoni Goldstein The history of Russian Jews in Montreal, Canada, began more than a century ago, when a coalition of Jews and Christians in the city raised funds to help Jews escape from the Russian empire in the wake of an onslaught of pogroms triggered by the assassination of czar Alexander II, in March 1881. There are widely varying estimates on the current size of the Russian Jewish community in Montreal: The local Jewish federation believes there are fewer than 10,000 Russian-speaking Jews in the city, while Russian community officials claim the actual number is more than double that figure. In either case, a community center and a Russian-language biweekly newspaper attest to the fact that Russian Jews have established a vibrant community in the city (whose total Jewish population is about 100,000). Of course, as in virtually every city outside Israel where there is a Jewish presence, life for the Jews of Montreal is not without challenges. The city has been home to some minor-league anti-Semitism in the past, and the province of Quebec is proving to be mildly hostile to anyone who can't speak in French and isn't willing to learn how. But the biggest threat to Montreal Jews, the Quebec sovereignty movement of the 1970s and then later, in the early-1990s, has more recently lost favor in the eyes of more Quebecois than ever before. Now is a good time to be a Jew in Montreal. Apparently, Nativ, the formerly clandestine organization that since the 1950s has shared responsibility for bringing Jews from what is now the Former Soviet Union to Israel, and Israel's minister of strategic affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, don't agree. According to recent stories in Haaretz and the European Jewish Press service, having apparently run out of Jews still living in the FSU to bring to Israel, Nativ is planning to make a new push in North America to recruit Russian Jews there to make aliyah. Target No. 1: Montreal. It's a peculiar strategy: aiming to do business in a country that has two significant, settled communities of Russian Jews (the other being Toronto, where some 90,000 live); a country that is safe for Jews and where Jewish communities have long prospered; and a country, moreover, to which disadvantaged immigrants flock and where they are welcomed in droves, where they can experience multiculturalism and inclusiveness. When you're trying to convince people to leave peaceful, thriving Canada for a better life in the Middle East, you know you're in trouble of some kind. The only ones that look bad in this story are Nativ and Lieberman. The decision to recruit in Montreal is, at best, misguided. Worse, it demonstrates that the brand of covert immigration missions that were Nativ's bread and butter between the 1950s and 1990s is no longer needed. For 30 years, the organization was solely responsible for assisting countless Jewish escapees from the Soviet scourge, but that very important work is now finished. Jews who, under the hammer and sickle, were unable either to express themselves Jewishly, or to leave for someplace else where they would be free to do just that, are now at liberty to choose where they want to live, including Israel. In fact, Nativ's decision to choose Montreal's as its first stop in North America proves just how out of touch the organization is. (Already in Germany, Nativ has provoked a protest from Jewish communal leaders because of similar efforts there to lobby Russian-immigrant Jews to depart for Israel.) According to estimates from the city's Jewish federation, 80-85 percent of Russian Jews living in Montreal actually moved there from Israel. These people have already been the beneficiaries of Nativ once, and yet, at some later point, they decided that Israel wasn't the right place for them after all. There's no reason to think that they would consider moving back now, no matter how hard aliyah-liaison officers try to convince them. Nativ's venture into Montreal is doomed to fail because the organization's brand of cloak-and-dagger aliyah recruitment simply isn't suited to today's Jewish global village. Its employment of old-style Zionist tactics, which depict the State of Israel as representing the final stronghold against a world of Jew-haters doesn't connect with people anymore. There are, after all, other perfectly suitable homes for Jews. Montreal is one of those places. Perhaps the time has come for Israel in general to reevaluate its relationship with Diaspora Jewry and acknowledge that there are other places in the world perfectly suited to Jewish living. Once it takes that first step, the next job would be to recognize that the overall relationship between Israel and the Diaspora must change. Instead of looking at the Diaspora as a temporary home for those Jews who can't or aren't ready yet to make aliyah, Israel should invest in forming bonds with Jewish communities around the globe. Nativ, which has been reorganized and reportedly has a fat new budget, might even consider investing some of its cash in making those communities healthier, much in the same way those communities have long invested in the welfare of Israel. Montreal's Russian Jews aren't going anywhere and neither are the vast majority of Jews - Russian-speaking or otherwise - in North and South America and Europe. The sooner the Israeli government realizes that fact, the sooner it can begin to forge a new, symbiotic relationship with all the Jews outside Israel who are quite content to stay right where they are. Yoni Goldstein is an editorial writer at Canada's National Post, and a columnist at the Canadian Jewish News.
  3. http://gehlarchitects.com/blog/hurray-for-smart-montrealers/ HURRAY FOR SMART MONTREALERS! Over the last couple of months I have written about the different aspects of smart cities, the pros and cons, the dos and don’ts. The outcome of these musings suggests that we ought to discard the idea of a smart city for the sake of promoting smart communities, in which smartness is a tool for benefitting and improving the local social sustainability. However, within this approach lies a fundamental challenge: how do we actually make communities engage with and take responsibility for the shaping of the public realm, using tools and methods they have never known before? Enter Montreal. Montreal uses pilot projects to kick-start the regeneration of the urban spaces. A vacant parking lot on the outskirts of Downtown was turned into an urban beach thanks to the local organization l’ADUQ. Public Life in Montreal To understand the social life of Montrealers, one must first understand the basic history of the city’s public spaces. During the era of modernisation, more than 1/3 of the downtown core was demolished to make way for massive super-complexes embodying offices, car pars, underground malls and cafes. In the industrial suburbs, thousands of housing units were torn down to allow vehicular traffic an easy access into the city. These “renovations” were carried out in less than two decades, but they still managed to methodically get in the way of public life. Since then, the city has taken a completely different approach to urban planning, superseding even today’s hype for attractive, green and lively metropolises. “My colleagues and I, we based our entire careers around reconstructing the city from where it was left after the 1970’s and 1980’s demolitions (…) we want Montreal to be a network of public spaces.” – Wade Eide, Montreal Urban Planning Department, private interview July 15, 2014 Throughout the year, Montreal hosts hundreds of events that all contribute to a lively and active public life. Today, the effects of Wade Eide and his colleagues’ efforts are absolutely visible in the streets and squares of Montreal, which have indeed been transformed into a coherent experience of activities and life. The most remarkable part of this transformation is the effect that it has had in the mentality of the citizens (or maybe it was the other way around?): in Montreal, the city truly is for its people, and people care for and participate in public matters to a degree that I have rarely seen. I believe, because of this mentality, Montreal has a serious chance of actually fulfilling the vision of a smart city built for and by communities. The steps of Place des Arts serve as a public space, popular with everyone on a sunny day. The Montreal Model Montreal’s outstanding mentality for public participation has – luckily – also been recognized by the current smart Montreal’s front-runners, mayor Denis Coderre and Vice-President of the Smart and Digital Office, Harout Chitilian. In their campaigns for a smarter Montreal, they enthusiastically encourage the citizens to voice their opinions and share their ideas: “This ambitious project of making a smart and digital city will take advantage of new technologies, but above all it will draw on the collective intelligence to create a specific Montreal model. I count on you, Montrealers to give your opinions on the various forums that are available to you. I invite you to participate today. The floor is yours!” – (translated from French) Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal, 2014 Focus on citizens is visible in the public space. In this project residents of Montreal share their unique stories in a virtual exhibition. As part of the public participation process, the city has developed a web portal, “Faire MTL” (Make Montreal), where Montrealers are offered the chance to contribute to, comment on, collaborate with and follow 180 tangible projects that are to be implemented over the next couple of years. The ambitious plans also include the creation of physical spaces for innovation and co-creation, along with the use of public spaces as living laboratories for the growing smart communities. The fusion of a genuinely open and inclusive government and the natural participatory spirit of the Montrealers, makes Montreal a key player to follow in the game of defining how future (smart) cities could be shaped and function at the hands of the citizens. Every summer Sainte-Catherine Street (the city’s commercial high street) transforms into a pedestrian street, allowing citizens to walk, shop, eat and enjoy the city life. Find more about Montreal’s projects here. August 25, 2015 __ Camilla Siggaard Andersen sent via Tapatalk
  4. Cities Collapsing throughout the USA The Coming Depression April 7, 2009“With enough abandoned lots to fill the city of San Francisco, Motown is 138 square miles divided between expanses of decay and emptiness and tracts of still-functioning communities and commercial areas. Close to six barren acres of an estimated 17,000 have already been turned into 500 “mini- farms,” demonstrating the lengths to which planners will go to make land productive. The city, like the automakers, has to shrink to match what’s left, said June Thomas, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “The issue is how,” she said. “There’s no vision.” “People are moving out of the city, trying to find work,” said David Martin of Wayne State University’s Urban Safety Program. Those who stay “can’t afford to move out.” “Property abandonment is getting so bad in Flint that some in government are talking about an extreme measure that was once unthinkable — shutting down portions of the city, officially abandoning them and cutting off police and fire service. … [Mayor] Brown said that as more people abandon homes, eating away at the city’s tax base and creating more blight, the city might need to examine “shutting down quadrants of the city where we (wouldn’t) provide services.” He did not define what that could mean — bulldozing abandoned areas, simply leaving the vacant homes to rot or some other idea entirely.” “Cul-de-sac neighborhoods once filled with the sound of backyard barbecues and playing children are falling silent. Communities like Elk Grove, Calif., and Windy Ridge, N.C., are slowly turning into ghost towns with overgrown lawns, vacant strip malls and squatters camping in empty homes.” “In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). … But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.”
  5. January 11, 2009, 10:00 pm What Will Save the Suburbs? For a long time now I’ve been obsessed with suburban and exurban master-planned communities and how to make them better. But as the economy and the mortgage crisis just seem to get worse, and gas prices continue to plunge, the issues around housing have changed dramatically. The problem now isn’t really how to better design homes and communities, but rather what are we going to do with all the homes and communities we’re left with. In urban areas, there’s rich precedent for the transformation or reuse of abandoned lots or buildings. Vacant lots have been converted into pocket parks, community gardens and pop-up stores (or they remain vacant, anxiously awaiting recovery and subsequent conversion into high-end office space condos). Old homes get divided into apartments, old factories into lofts, old warehouses into retail. Projects like Manhattan’s High Line show that even derelict train tracks can be turned into something as valuable to citizens as a vibrant public park. A brownfield site in San Francisco has been cleaned up and will house an eco-literacy center for the city’s youth. Hey, even a dump (Fresh Kills, on Staten Island) is undergoing a remarkable metamorphosis into a recreation area. But similar transformation within the carefully delineated form of a subdivision is not so simple. These insta-neighborhoods were not designed or built for flexibility or change. So what to do with the abandoned houses, the houses that were never completed or the land that was razed for building and now sits empty? Lands cleared to make way for houses that were not (and may never be) developed. (DigitalGlobe, Sanborn, GeoEye, U.S. Geological Survey; 2008 Google Imagery) Cover of Julia Christensen’s “Big Box Reuse.” Take as an analogous example their symbiotic partner, the big box store. As I learned in artist Julia Christensen’s new book, “Big Box Reuse,” when a big box store like Wal-mart or Kmart outgrows its space, it is shut down. It is, apparently, cheaper to start from scratch than to close for renovation and expansion, let alone decide at the outset to design a store that can easily be expanded (or contracted, as the case may be). So not only does a community get a newer, bigger big box, it is also left with quite an economic and environmental eyesore: a vacant shell of a retail operation, tons of wasted building material and a changed landscape that can’t be changed back. The silver lining in Christensen’s study are the communities she’s discovered that have proactively addressed the massive empty shells they’ve been left with, turning structures of anywhere from 20,000 to 280,000 square feet into something useful: a charter school, a health center, a chapel, a library. (And, in Austin, Minn., a new Spam Museum.) The repurposing of abandoned big-box stores is easier to wrap one’s head around: one can envision within a single volume (albeit a massive one) the potential to become something else. But exurban communities are a unique challenge. The houses within them are big, but not generally as big as, say, Victorian mansions in San Francisco that can be subdivided into apartments. So they’re not great candidates for transformation into multi-family rental housing. I did visit a housing development last year that offered “quartets,” McMansions subdivided into four units with four separate entrances. These promised potential buyers the status of a McMansion with the convenience of a condominium, but the concept felt like it was created more to preserve the property values of larger neighboring homes than to serve the needs of the community’s residents. There has been a nationwide shift toward de-construction (led by companies like Planet Reuse and Buffalo Reuse, the surgical taking-apart of homes to salvage the building materials for reuse, but often the building materials used in these developments aren’t of good enough quality to warrant salvaging. I don’t have the perfect solution for how to transform these broad swaths of subdivisions, and while I’ve heard much talk of the foreclosure tragedy, I’ve heard nary a peep about what to do about it. A recent article in The Times spotted an emerging trend of kids usurping the abandoned pools of foreclosed homes for use as temporary skate parks. (Interestingly, this was big in the ‘70s, as you can see by watching the rad skate documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys.”) It’s a great short-term strategy for adolescent recreation (and for ridding neighborhoods of fetid pools, which often harbor West Nile virus), though it’s not a comprehensive solution to the problem of increasingly abandoned, ill-maintained and more dangerous streetscapes. But there are some interesting avenues to be pursued. Part of President-elect Obama’s proposed massive public works program, for example, is to be dedicated to clean tech infrastructure. Included in this is the intent to weatherize (that is, make energy-efficient) one million low-income homes a year. One can already see how those in the construction industry can begin to make the shift from new construction to home retrofitting. It’s the centerpiece of “The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems,” the best-selling, Al Gore- and Nancy Pelosi-endorsed book by environmental activist Van Jones. Though we hear a lot in the news about new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design/) buildings and incentives for implementing the latest green technology, it’s often the case that fixing leaks and insulation are just as effective in reducing the carbon footprint of single-family homes (which account for about 18 percent of the country’s carbon footprint). As people increasingly stay put — and re-sell homes less — this retrofit strategy makes sense. Millions of homes, not just low-income ones, are in need of the sort of weatherization the Obama plan describes. The non-profit Architecture 2030, established in 2002 in response to the global warming crisis, is leading a major effort in this arena with the goal of dramatically reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the building sector by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed and constructed. And after decades of renovation-obsession that has simply gotten out of hand, it seems a prudent time to swap Viking ranges for double-paned windows and high-efficiency furnaces. It’s the perfect moment to fix what we’ve got. Despite their currently low numbers, green homes typically re-sell for more money than their conventional counterparts. I still dream that some major overhaul can occur: that a self-sufficient mixed-use neighborhood can emerge. That three-car-garaged McMansions can be subdivided into rental units with streetfront cafés, shops and other local businesses. In short, that creative ways are found not just to rehabilitate these homes and communities, but to keep people in them. __________________________________________________________ “The Ponzi State” New Yorker, February 9, 2009, p. 81 ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about Florida’s real-estate market and the economic downturn. Writer visits a number of inland real-estate developments near Tampa, Florida. Developers there dreamed up instant communities, parceled out lots, and built look-alike two-story beige and yellow houses. The houses sold to some of the thousand or so people who moved to Florida every day. Now many are ghost subdivisions. In one community, Twin Lakes, property values dropped by more than a hundred thousand dollars in the past two years. Writer interviews Angie Harris, a Navy veteran and mother of five, who says of her neighbors, “It used to be people would wave. Now they don’t.” In another community, Hamilton Park, the writer interviews a woman named Lee Gaither, whose only income came from Disability payments. She was facing eviction and planned to sell many of her possessions on eBay. Florida is one of the places where the financial crisis began. Gary Mormino, a professor at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, tells the writer that, “Florida, in some ways, resembles a modern Ponzi scheme. Everything is fine for me if a thousand newcomers come tomorrow.” The state depends for revenue on real-estate deals and sales taxes. By 2005, the housing market in Florida was hotter than it had ever been. Flipping houses and condominiums turned into an amateur middle-class pursuit. Writer tells about Floridians with modest incomes who made money buying and selling real estate. Mentions one case in which a house appreciated in value by almost fifty per cent overnight. According to an investigation by the Miami Herald, government oversight of the real-estate market was so negligent that more than ten thousand convicted criminals got jobs in the mortgage industry. Flipping and fraud burst the bubble. But in places like Pasco County, it was the ordinary desire of ordinary people to buy their own home that turned things toxic. Tells about Anita Lux, who moved to Florida from Michigan with her husband, Richard. Gives a brief history of Cape Coral, Florida, which was first developed in the fifties by two businessmen from Baltimore. Writer interviews a number of Florida residents who have lost their jobs or homes. A Fort Myers real-estate agent named Marc Joseph tells the writer, “Greed and easy money. That was the germ.” By last year, the highest foreclosure rate in the country could be found in Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Mentions other indicators of the economic hard times, including the closure of auto dealerships and the theft of copper. Writer visits the office of Tampa’s mayor, Pam Iorio, who is determined to build a light rail system to revive the city’s fortunes. A number of people in Florida told the writer that the state needs a fundamental change in its political culture.
  6. $14B in projects ready to go: Municipalities BY MIKE DE SOUZA, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE JANUARY 14, 2009 12:21 PM OTTAWA - More than 1,000 municipal infrastructure projects worth nearly $14 billion are “shovel ready” for job creation from coast to coast, according to a new list unveiled Wednesday by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The list represents an inventory of projects that are awaiting funds to start and was compiled following weeks of extensive consultations by the federation and its members. The federation says many municipalities have put these projects on the backburner, but could launch them this year and create thousands of jobs if money was available from the different levels of government. “The municipal world is ready to co-operate with the provinces, territories and the Canadian government to (tackle) the economic problems of Canada,” said Sherbrooke, Que., Mayor Jean Perrault, the president of the federation, during a media conference call. “The construction phase of an infrastructure project creates most of the jobs and getting projects underway this spring is crucial to offsetting the economic slowdown.” The projects include new investments in roads and bridges, waste management, buildings, public housing, water and waste water treatment facilities as well as public transit for cities and communities that are home to more than 19 million people across the country. The federation has been urging the Harper government to fast-track transfer payments from a new infrastructure program so that municipalities can get started on the projects and begin putting people to work as part of a stimulus package for the economy. Municipal officials have complained that there is too much red tape and administrative delays in getting the money flowing into their communities, but federal Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Minister John Baird has pledged to speed up the process by reducing red tape. Perrault said the funding should be modelled after the federal gas tax transfer which provides federal money for cities based on the size of their population. He also argued in favour of reducing double environmental assessments of new projects by both the federal and provincial governments explaining that many of the projects on hold in their list would not put Canada’s environment in jeopardy. “The environment is important. There are mechanisms and rules that we must follow,” said Perrault, “but what we told Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper and John Baird to reduce the red tape and that if there were environmental studies that overlap, why not have just one and ensure that it’s propitious.” Conservation groups and the NDP have both criticized the federal government for musing about reducing federal environmental assessments in favour of a single review of some of the smaller infrastructure projects. Baird said on Tuesday that the gas tax transfer program worked well since it did not require federal environmental assessments to operate. © Copyright © Canwest News Service Voici la liste des projets : http://www.fcm.ca//CMFiles/FCM%20Shovel%20Ready%20report_list%20En1KDL-1142009-4963.pdf
  7. Is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare? Suburban neighborhoods are becoming refuges for those outpriced in gentrifying inner-cities. By Lara Farrar For CNN (CNN) -- When Shaun Yandell proposed to his longtime girlfriend Gina Marasco on the doorstep of their new home in the sunny suburb of Elk Grove, California, four years ago, he never imagined things would get this bad. But they did, and it happened almost overnight. art.jpg "It is going to be heartbreak," Yandell told CNN. "But we are hanging on." Yandell's marriage isn't falling apart: his neighborhood is. Devastated by the subprime mortgage crisis, hundreds of homes have been foreclosed and thousands of residents have been forced to move, leaving in their wake a not-so-pleasant path of empty houses, unkempt lawns, vacant strip malls, graffiti-sprayed desolate sidewalks and even increased crime. In Elk Grove, some homeowners not only cut their own grass but also trim the yards of vacant homes on their streets, hoping to deter gangs and criminals from moving in. Other residents discovered that with some of the empty houses, it wasn't what was growing outside that was the problem. Susan McDonald, president of a local neighborhood association aimed at saving the lost suburban paradise, told CNN that around her cul-de-sac, federal agents recently busted several pot homes with vast crops of marijuana growing from floor to ceiling. And only a couple of weeks ago, Yandell said he overheard a group of teenagers gathered on the street outside his back patio, talking about a robbery they had just committed. When they lit a street sign on fire, Yandell called the cops. "This is not like a rare thing anymore," he said. "I get big congregations of people cussing -- stuff I can't even fathom doing when I was a kid." Don't Miss For Yandell, his wife and many other residents trying to stick it out, the white picket fence of an American dream has faded into a seemingly hopeless suburban nightmare. "The forecast is gloomy," he told CNN. While the foreclosure epidemic has left communities across the United States overrun with unoccupied houses and overgrown grass, underneath the chaos another trend is quietly emerging that, over the next several decades, could change the face of suburban American life as we know it. This trend, according to Christopher Leinberger, an urban planning professor at the University of Michigan and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, stems not only from changing demographics but also from a major shift in the way an increasing number of Americans -- especially younger generations -- want to live and work. "The American dream is absolutely changing," he told CNN. This change can be witnessed in places like Atlanta, Georgia, Detroit, Michigan, and Dallas, Texas, said Leinberger, where once rundown downtowns are being revitalized by well-educated, young professionals who have no desire to live in a detached single family home typical of a suburbia where life is often centered around long commutes and cars. Instead, they are looking for what Leinberger calls "walkable urbanism" -- both small communities and big cities characterized by efficient mass transit systems and high density developments enabling residents to walk virtually everywhere for everything -- from home to work to restaurants to movie theaters. The so-called New Urbanism movement emerged in the mid-90s and has been steadily gaining momentum, especially with rising energy costs, environmental concerns and health problems associated with what Leinberger calls "drivable suburbanism" -- a low-density built environment plan that emerged around the end of the World War II and has been the dominant design in the U.S. ever since. Thirty-five percent of the nation's wealth, according to Leinberger, has been invested in constructing this drivable suburban landscape. But now, Leinberger told CNN, it appears the pendulum is beginning to swing back in favor of the type of walkable community that existed long before the advent of the once fashionable suburbs in the 1940s. He says it is being driven by generations molded by television shows like "Seinfeld" and "Friends," where city life is shown as being cool again -- a thing to flock to, rather than flee. "The image of the city was once something to be left behind," said Leinberger. Changing demographics are also fueling new demands as the number of households with children continues to decline. By the end of the next decade, the number of single-person households in the United States will almost equal those with kids, Leinberger said. And aging baby boomers are looking for a more urban lifestyle as they downsize from large homes in the suburbs to more compact town houses in more densely built locations. Recent market research indicates that up to 40 percent of households surveyed in selected metropolitan areas want to live in walkable urban areas, said Leinberger. The desire is also substantiated by real estate prices for urban residential space, which are 40 to 200 percent higher than in traditional suburban neighborhoods -- this price variation can be found both in cities and small communities equipped with walkable infrastructure, he said. The result is an oversupply of depreciating suburban housing and a pent-up demand for walkable urban space, which is unlikely to be met for a number of years. That's mainly, according to Leinberger, because the built environment changes very slowly; and also because governmental policies and zoning laws are largely prohibitive to the construction of complicated high-density developments. But as the market catches up to the demand for more mixed use communities, the United States could see a notable structural transformation in the way its population lives -- Arthur C. Nelson, director of Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute, estimates, for example, that half of the real-estate development built by 2025 will not have existed in 2000. Yet Nelson also estimates that in 2025 there will be a surplus of 22 million large-lot homes that will not be left vacant in a suburban wasteland but instead occupied by lower classes who have been driven out of their once affordable inner-city apartments and houses. The so-called McMansion, he said, will become the new multi-family home for the poor. "What is going to happen is lower and lower-middle income families squeezed out of downtown and glamorous suburban locations are going to be pushed economically into these McMansions at the suburban fringe," said Nelson. "There will probably be 10 people living in one house." In Shaun Yandell's neighborhood, this has already started to happen. Houses once filled with single families are now rented out by low-income tenants. Yandell speculates that they're coming from nearby Sacramento, where the downtown is undergoing substantial gentrification, or perhaps from some other area where prices have gotten too high. He isn't really sure. But one thing Yandell is sure about is that he isn't going to leave his sunny suburban neighborhood unless he has to, and if that happens, he says he would only want to move to another one just like it. "It's the American dream, you know," he said. "The American dream." http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/06/16/suburb.city/index.html
  8. Montreal heritage activist celebrates Order of Canada honour Last Updated: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | 1:27 PM ET CBC News Montreal heritage defender Dinu Bumbaru is being recognized for his local efforts with a national honour, the Order of Canada. Bumbaru, director of Heritage Montreal, was among the new members of the order announced Tuesday by Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean 'Somehow this is a recognition from the highest authority in the country that communities count.'—Dinu Bumbaru, director of Heritage Montreal Bumbaru was walking on Mount Royal when he heard that the list was announced with his name on it. "It is a big beyond reach. You don't feel that you deserve such things," Bumbaru said. The citation from the Governor General states that Bumbaru was nominated for his leadership in promoting, protecting and enhancing the historical and cultural heritage of Montreal, including the preservation of world heritage sites. Bumbaru said the honour is important because it recognizes the work in communities across Canada that often goes unnoticed. "Somehow, this is a recognition from the highest authority in the country that communities count," he said. "In the days of climate change and social crisis, we tend to feel the big issue is the green and the greed of people. But we see the greatest achievement of mankind is the city where people actually live." Bumbaru has a degree in architecture from the University of Montreal and a degree in conservation studies from the University of York in England. Since joining Heritage Montreal in 1982, he has become one of the city's most vocal defenders of community preservation, including during the recent debate over the redevelopment of Griffintown southwest of downtown. Céline Dion, investment guru honoured Quebec TV personality Suzanne Lapointe will be named a member of the Order of Canada. (CBC) Other Quebecers honoured Tuesday included singer Céline Dion and Montreal investment guru Stephen Jarislowski, who both become companions of the Order of Canada. Businessman Claude Lamoureux and dancer Louise Lecavalier will become officers. Quebec television personality and singer Suzanne Lapointe will also join the order as a member. The newest additions will receive their insignias at a ceremony at Rideau Hall at a later date. The Order of Canada, the country's highest honour, recognizes citizens for outstanding achievements or for exceptional contributions to the culture of the country. Established in 1967, the award has been presented to more than 5,500 people.
  9. STATISTICS CANADA April 20, 2015 1:34 pm People in Vancouver and Toronto least satisfied with their lives: StatsCan Man under umbrella in Vancouver Vancouverites report being less satisfied with their lives than residents of other Canadian cities, according to Statistics Canada. Maybe it's the rain? Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press Residents of Vancouver and Toronto report being less satisfied with their lives than people in other Canadian metropolitan areas, according to a new study published by Statistics Canada. Researchers asked the residents of various census metropolitan areas to rank their overall life satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 was “very dissatisfied” and 10 was “very satisfied.” In Vancouver, the average score was 7.808, followed closely by Toronto at 7.818. People living in Canada’s most-satisfied metropolitan area, Saguenay, gave an average score of 8.245 out of 10. The differences are larger when you look at the percentage of people who rate their life satisfaction as a 9 or 10 out of 10. In Sudbury, 44.9 per cent of residents ranked their overall life satisfaction that high. In Vancouver, it was only 33.6 per cent. When it comes to people who were comparatively unsatisfied with their lives – giving themselves a score of only 6 or less, there are again significant differences between cities. 17.1 per cent of people in Windsor, Toronto and Abbotsford-Mission ranked their life satisfaction at a 6 or less. Only 8.6 per cent of people in Saguenay gave themselves such a low score. To figure out what accounts for the differences, researchers tested various hypotheses. They found that people who are married or are in good health tend to rank their life satisfaction much higher than others. Unemployed people are more likely to have low satisfaction, and richer people higher satisfaction. However, the report states, these personal factors don’t seem to account entirely for the variation across metropolitan areas. The researchers note that smaller communities with a population of less than 250,000 tend to report higher average life satisfaction. Also, when sorted by city size, metropolitan areas in Quebec tend to be at the top of the list: Montrealers are the most satisfied among individuals in Canada’s big cities and most likely to report life satisfaction of 8 or higher, Sherbrooke and Quebec are at the top of the mid-size communities, and Saguenay and Trois-Rivières at the top of the smaller metropolitan areas, according to the study. Although the Statistics Canada researchers don’t definitively say why this is, they point to other research that suggests levels of trust and social connections in local communities have an effect on people’s life satisfaction, as does income relative to one’s neighbours and economic inequality. sent via Tapatalk
  10. Have Some Champagne With That Brisket? Montreal is just bubbling with Jewish culture November 08, 2007 Kathy Shorr Jewish Exponent Feature Ever since the Parti Quebeçois came to power three decades ago, bringing with it greater nationalism and stricter language laws favoring French, it's been easy to feel uneasy about Jewish life in Montreal. The Jewish community has shrunk from a high of about 120,000 before that 1976 election, to just under 100,000 now. Many who left were the younger, well-educated postwar generation of Ashkenazi descent, who had been educated primarily in English. (Barred from attending the Catholic, French-speaking schools, they'd attended the English-speaking Protestant ones.) But come to Montreal today, and you'll find a Jewish world that feels more vital than many American communities with comparably-sized communities. You can see live Yiddish theater, visit a new world-class Holocaust center and sample kosher restaurants serving everything from Chinese food to Moroccan chicken tagine. The Jewish community in Montreal is one of the most traditional in North America. According to a report by B'nai B'rith Canada's Institute for International Affairs, the community has a remarkably low intermarriage rate (less than 7 percent) and a remarkably high rate of religious observance (50 percent keep kosher). At roughly the same time that wave of Ashkenazi Jews left, about 20,000 Sephardic, French-speaking Jews arrived -- most of them coming from North Africa, especially Morocco. And with a continuing influx of Jewish immigrants, including as many as 10,000 Russian Jews in recent years, the city has maintained a vibrant Jewish culture that is now about 25 percent Sephardic. In Search of 'Duddy' Visitors looking for signs of Jewish life have several sections of the city to explore. Anyone interested in history will want to go to the Mile End neighborhood, the setting for Mordecai Richler's famous novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Just east of Mount Royal Park is a five-street-wide area between the Avenue du Parc and the Boulevard Saint-Laurent -- the Jewish neighborhood for much of the first half of the 20th century. The old neighborhood was increasingly abandoned after the war, as Jews started to make their way out to the suburbs. But Mile End is still home to a large Chasidic community. And it still looks a lot like it did when Richler wrote about going to Tansky's store for a package of Sen-Sen. The rowhouses remain, with their outside staircases and little balconies. And some of the old haunts, like Moishe's Steakhouse and Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen, are open for business as usual. The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre People come to Moishe's for the best steaks in town, while Schwartz's long, narrow dining room teems with crowded tables of patrons ordering sandwiches piled with smoked beef. Several blocks north is the St. Viateur Bagel Shop, celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is open day and night, 24/7, and regularly wins the prize for best bagels in Montreal -- as much for the atmosphere as for the bagels themselves. You can see the flames coming out of the wood-burning brick oven, and watch the bagels being pulled out on a long-handled tray and then dumped into a long, sloping bin. They still use the same recipe from 100 years ago -- hand-rolling the bagels and dropping them into boiling water for five minutes before baking. And forget about cinnamon-raisin or chocolate-chip bagels: It's sesame or poppyseed, and that's it! For a completely different scene, head west out Côte St. Catherine Road to Snowdon, a neighborhood of duplex and split-level homes, where many Jews moved after the war. There, you'll find a small campus of Jewish community and religious organizations and cultural groups. The Segal Centre for Performing Arts at the Saidye Bronfman Centre mounts plays of both general and Jewish interest, including an annual play in Yiddish. Montreal has the largest Holocaust-survivor population in Canada; across the street from the Saidye Bronfman are the Jewish Public Library and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, with 5,000 square feet of exhibit space. The library sponsors all kinds of lectures, readings, films, and live-music and other events for both residents and visitors. A few blocks south of Côte St. Catherine Road is the commercial Queen Mary Road, which feels something like the way Mile End must have felt a few generations ago. There are charcuteries (delis that specialize in meats) where everything is labeled only in Russian, with vats of sweet-and-sour cabbage and trays of whole smoked fish and caviar. There's Israeli fast-food at Chez Benny and kosher pizza by the Snowdon metro station. Cell phones ring, voices chatting in French and Arabic more often than in Yiddish. Yes, indeed, Jewish life in Montreal has changed, but remains alive and well. For more information, go to: www. tourisme-montreal.org.
  11. Don't have a million dollars for a Vancouver home? A new Twitter campaign shows youre not alone The #DontHave1Million hashtag is spreading on Twitter, as people complain about being priced out of the housing market. Photograph by: Screenshot , Twitter Don’t have $1 million for a house in Vancouver? Turns out you’re not alone. A hashtag campaign created by 29-year-old Vancouverite Eveline Xia is encouraging priced-out urbanites to speak up about their home ownership woes by sharing their age and profession on Twitter. The campaign, called #DontHave1Million, is attracting posts from engineers, planners and scientists, as well as real estate agents from other B.C. communities where housing is cheaper. “Will never be able to afford living in the city I grew up in,” tweeted a business graduate. “Every city everywhere in this country needs the people that keep it going,” added an industrial rigger and specialty mover. “If only I could plant a money tree instead of bok choi, kale or mustard,” said another poster. But others countered with posts calling the tweeters entitled. “Don’t be foolish ... rent and invest instead,” said one. “Buy within your means. Move to the burbs. Suck it up, buttercup,” said another. Responding to critics of her campaign in a statement on Twitter, Xia said her generation is “not looking for a handout,” but rather “asking for a fighting chance to stay here in the city we love.” Salaries have not kept pace with housing prices, she noted, and young, talented workers are beginning to leave in favour of communities where they can afford to buy a home for their families. “To have a diverse, interesting and thriving community, Vancouver needs people like us to stay, work and raise our families here,” she said. According to a VanCity report released in March, the average detached Vancouver home could cost $2.1 million by 2030. “Although 75 per cent of Millennials think that home ownership is a primary long-term goal ... many will have to revise their goals to accommodate rising unaffordability in Metro Vancouver,” said the report. Warning that if trends are not reversed, homes in the suburbs will also become increasingly unaffordable for people earning the median income, the report said a reversal would be possible through public policy and changes in financial practices. Those using the #DontHave1Million hashtag expressed hope that the social media campaign would be the start of a “revolt” leading to change. [email protected] sent via Tapatalk
  12. Site internet: http://www.pps.org/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/projectforpublicspaces About Placemaking for Communities Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Our pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs. PPS was founded in 1975 to apply and expand on the work of William (Holly) Whyte, the author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Since then, we have completed projects in over 3000 communities in 43 countries and all 50 US states. Partnering with public and private organizations, federal, state and municipal agencies, business improvement districts, neighborhood associations and other civic groups, we improve communities by fostering successful public spaces. Having been brought into to apply Placemaking in a broad range of contexts around the world, an increasing focus of our work is in training and capacity building, often helping to build local Placemaking organizations. PPS trains more than 10,000 people every year and reaches countless more through our websites and publications. PPS is the internationally recognized center for resources, tools and inspiration about Placemaking. Through research, conferences, and strategic partnerships, PPS promotes Placemaking through a series of transformative agendas to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. Our Building Community Through Transportation agenda runs a biannual ProWalk/ProBike conference through our National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW) which is a resident program of PPS. Our leadership on Public Markets has included a regular international conference series as well. Internationally, we are looking to influence the governance of developing cities and nations though our partnership with UN Habitat. We are doing this through trainings and projects and a joint conference series, called the Future of Places, that will culminate in a written document to encourage the adoption of Placemaking principles at the Habitat III UN global gathering in 2016. Through the development of a Placemaking Leadership Council (including over 500 members) PPS is working to support a broad network to drive the further evolution of Placemaking and build its potential impact as a movement. In its broadest application, Placemaking is a catalyst for building healthy, sustainable and economically viable cities of the future. Agendas PPS is structured around seven agendas that have the potential to transform cities by breaking down what Placemaking means and how it can happen. These agendas form a lens through which we can view the greater mission of PPS. Place Governance Place Capital Healthy Communities Building Community Through Transportation Architecture of Place Entrepreneurial Places: Markets, Main Streets, and Beyond Creating Multi-Use Public Destinations Team Jobs & Internships Press Room Contact Us Placemaking Leadership Council
  13. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100312/mtl_un_report100312/20100312?hub=Canada UN urges Canada to take action against discrimination Brian Daly, ctvmontreal.ca Date: Friday Mar. 12, 2010 3:37 PM ET Montreal is one of several cities where ethnic Canadians are facing rampant discrimination in policing, education and labour, says a wide-ranging report issued by the United Nations. The document follows a visit to Montreal and other Canadian cities by Gay McDougall, the UN's Independent Expert on minority issues. Among the communities she visited last October was Montreal North, which was still tense more than a year after the police shooting death of teenager Fredy Villanueva that triggered widespread riots. She said many people expressed concerns about Quebec's system of police investigating each other when civilians are hurt or killed during police operations. "Montreal North residents claim that investigations of police misconduct have not been independent," she wrote. Community members told the UN envoy that they want an independent civilian body to probe any allegations of police misconduct. McDougall agreed. "It is essential … that mechanisms of civilian oversight are strengthened where they exist or established where they do not." Profiling McDougall's report also raised concerns about racial profiling, echoing observations in a report issued earlier this week by the Quebec Human Rights Commission. The UN report heard from people who described racial profiling as systemic. Response Montreal police had a chance to defend their practices during a meeting with the envoy. Her report said police provided information on their zero-tolerance policy towards racial profiling. "They pointed to specialist expert committees established with advisory roles, including on racial profiling and with respect to specific communities," said the report. "They rejected claims of excessive force and impunity." A civilian police ethics commissioner and outside police forces oversee officer conduct across the province. But McDougall wrote that "police representatives acknowledged that the process currently fails to have the confidence of the community," adding that government officials are trying to improve the system. Recommendations McDougall also visited Toronto and Vancouver, where she noted similar concerns by ethnic communities. She issued a number of recommendations: Cracking down on racial profiling in all areas of society: Ensuring that ethnic groups have access to jobs while penalizing employers that practice racial discrimination: Making sure that provinces enforce existing employment equity laws: Ensuring that governments recruit, retain and promote minorities to senior posts: Gathering more detailed demographic data on Canadians to get a better picture of ethnic communities: Increasing political participation of minorities Ensuring that anti-terrorism measures don't violate human rights Granting better access to legal aid and human rights agencies.