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  1. Hey everyone! for this discussion, I want to talk about our downtown. I know and we all know that we have a unique and busy downtown compared to other cities and one that is envied by others as well. But I've been noticing a lot of people from the city and tourists saying how quickly the downtown area gets "dead" after 9 pm (in winter and summer). Personally, I disagree 110% since I find the downtown bust from 5am-3am every day no matter what season. But what do you guys think? is the downtown area getting busier or "quieter" as others have been saying, and if so, what would you do to make it livelier? I definitely want to hear others opinions on this and see others observations as well.
  2. Article intéressant dans le NYMAG : The Psychological Cost of Boring Buildings By Jacoba Urist April 12, 2016 10:56 a.m. <cite class="credit">Photo: Philip Laurell/Getty Images </cite>New Yorkers have long bemoaned their city being overrun by bland office towers and chain stores: Soon, it seems, every corner will either be a bank, a Walgreens, or a Starbucks. And there is indeed evidence that all cities are starting to look the same, which can hurt local growth and wages. But there could be more than an economic or nostalgic price to impersonal retail and high-rise construction: Boring architecture may take an emotional toll on the people forced to live in and around it. A growing body of research in cognitive science illuminates the physical and mental toll bland cityscapes exact on residents. Generally, these researchers argue that humans are healthier when they live among variety — a cacophony of bars, bodegas, and independent shops — or work in well-designed, unique spaces, rather than unattractive, generic ones. In their book, Cognitive Architecture: Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment, Tufts urban policy professor Justin Hollander and architect Ann Sussman review scientific data to help architects and urban planners understand how, exactly, we respond to our built surroundings. People, they argue, function best in intricate settings and crave variety, not “big, blank, boxy buildings.” Indeed, that’s what Colin Ellard, a neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo and director of its Urban Realities Laboratory, has found in his own work. Five years ago, Ellard became interested in a particular building on East Houston Street — the gigantic Whole Foods “plopped into” a notoriously textured part of lower Manhattan. As described in his book, titled Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life, Ellard partnered with the Guggenheim Museum’s urban think tank to analyze what happens when someone “turns out of a tiny, historic [knish] restaurant” and encounters a full city block with nothing but “the long, blank façade of the Whole Foods Market.” The Whole Foods on Houston. In 2011, Ellard led small groups on carefully planned Lower East Side walks to measure the effect of the urban environment on their bodies and minds. Participants recorded their response to questions at each stopping point and wore sensors that measured skin conductance, an electrodermal response to emotional excitement. Passing the monolithic Whole Foods, people’s state of arousal reached a nadir in Ellard’s project. Physiologically, he explained, they were bored. In their descriptions of this particular place, they used words like bland, monotonous, and passionless. In contrast, one block east of the Whole Foods on East Houston, at the other test site — a “lively sea of restaurants with lots of open doors and windows” — people’s bracelets measured high levels of physical excitement, and they listed words like lively, busy, and socializing. “The holy grail in urban design is to produce some kind of novelty or change every few seconds,” Ellard said. “Otherwise, we become cognitively disengaged.” The Whole Foods may have gentrified the neighborhood with more high-quality organic groceries, but the building itself stifled people. Its architecture blah-ness made their minds and bodies go meh. And studies show that feeling meh can be more than a passing nuisance. For instance, psychologists Colleen Merrifield and James Danckert’s work suggests that even small doses of boredom can generate stress. People in their experiment watched three videos — one boring, one sad, and one interesting – while wearing electrodes to measure their physiological responses. Boredom, surprisingly, increased people’s heart rate and cortisol level more than sadness. Now take their findings and imagine the cumulative effects of living or working in the same oppressively dull environs day after day, said Ellard. There might even be a potential link between mind-numbing places and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. In one case, physicians have linked “environmental deprivation” to ADHD in children. Homes without toys, art, or other stimuli were a significant predictor of ADHD symptoms.Meanwhile, the prevalence of U.S. adults treated for attention deficit is rising. And while people may generally be hardwired for variety, Dr. Richard Friedman, director of the pharmacology clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, makes the case that those with ADHD are especially novelty-seeking. Friedman points to a patient who “treated” his ADHD by changing his workday from one that was highly routine — a standard desk job — to a start-up, which has him “on the road, constantly changing environments.” Most ADD is the result of biological factors, said Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD, and co-authored numerous books on the subject, such as Delivered From Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life With Attention Deficit Disorder. But, he explained, he sees a lot of socially induced ADD, too, a form of the disorder that makes it appear as though you inherited the genes, although you really haven’t. And one way you might have the socially induced condition, according to Hallowell, is to suffer severe boredom or live in a highly nonstimulating environment. “It makes total sense that for these people changing where they work or live to add more visual stimulation and daily variety could be extremely helpful,” Hallowell said. At the same time, many adults may feel they have ADHD because the world has become hypersaturated with constant texts, emails, and input. For them, life has become too adrenalizing. “They don’t have true ADHD,” Hallowell said, “but, rather, what I call a severe case of modern life.” So the trick, it seems, is to design a world that excites but doesn’t overly assault our faculties with a constant barrage of information: Scientists aren’t proposing that all cities look like the Vegas strip or Times Square. “We are, as animals, programmed to respond to thrill,” said professor Brendan Walker, a former aerospace engineer and author of Taxonomy of Thrill and Thrilling Designs. In Walker’s University of Nottingham “thrill laboratory,” devices gauge heart rate and skin conductance to see how people respond to adrenaline-producing experiences such as a roller-coaster ride. And he’s reduced “thrill” to a set of multivariable equations that illustrate the importance of rapid variation in our lives: A thrilling encounter moves us quickly from a state of equilibrium to a kind of desirable “disorientation,” like the moment before you rush down the hill of a roller coaster. “Humans want a certain element of turmoil or confusion,” he said. “Complexity is thrilling whether in an amusement park or architecture.” Environmental thrill and visual variety, Walker believes, help people’s psyche. As many of us instinctively feel a wave of ennui at the thought of working all day in a maze of soulless, white cubicles, blocks of generic buildings stub our senses. It’s not only that we’re genetic adrenaline junkies. Psychologists have found that jaw-dropping or awe-inspiring moments — picture the exhilarating view of the Grand Canyon or Paris from the Eiffel tower — can potentially improve our 21st-century well-being. One study showed that the feeling of awe can make people more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to help others. In an experiment, researchers showed students 60-second clips of waterfalls, whales, or astronauts in space. After only a minute of virtual images, those who said they were awed also felt less pressed for time. In a second experiment, individuals recalled “an awe-inspiring” event and then answered a range of survey questions; they were also more likely to say they’d volunteer for a charity, as compared to those who hadn’t spent time thinking about a past moment of awe. And in yet another variation, people made hypothetical choices between material and experiential goods of equal monetary value: a watchor a Broadway show, a jacket or a restaurant meal. Those who recently “felt awe” were more likely to choose an experience over a physical possession, a choice that is linked with greater satisfaction in the long run. In other words, a visual buzz — whether architectural or natural — might have the ability to change our frame of mind, making modern-day life more satisfying and interactive. It’s important to note, however, that architectural boredom isn’t about how pristine a street is. People often confuse successful architecture with whether an area looks pleasant. On the contrary, when it comes to city buildings, people often focus too narrowly on aesthetics, said Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City: Transforming Our Through Urban Design. But good design is really is about “shaping emotional infrastructure.” Some of the happiest blocks in New York City, he argues, are “kind of ugly and messy.” For instance, Ellard’s “happier” East Houston block is a “jumbled-up, social one”— the Whole Foods stretch, in comparison, is newer and more manicured. Sometimes what’s best for us, Montgomery explained, just isn’t that pretty. His research also shows cacophonous blocks may make people kinder to each other. In 2014, Montgomery’s Happy City lab conducted a Seattle experiment in which he found a strong correlation between messier blocks and pro-social behavior. Montgomery sent researchers, posing as lost tourists, to places he coded as either “active façades” — with a high level of visual interest — or “inactive façades” (like long warehouse blocks). Pedestrians at active sites were nearly five times more likely to offer help than at inactive ones. Of those who helped, seven times as many at the active site offered use of their phone; four times as many offered to lead the “lost tourist” to their destination. Fortunately, it’s not necessarily a dichotomy — new architecture can achieve the optimal level of cacophony and beauty. Take the 2006 Hearst Tower in midtown Manhattan. From the outside, the façade is likely to jolt city dwellers — if anything will — from their daily commutes, while “thrilling” employees who enter it each morning. Designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize–winning architect Norman Foster, Hearst Tower is a glass-and-steel skyscraper, 40 stories of which are designed in a triangular pattern contrasting the 1920s Art Deco base. For many who walk by, Hearst Tower’s design may not be the easiest to understand; it’s both sleek and old. The top looks like it traveled from the future. Inside, workers travel upon diagonal escalators, up a three-story water sculpture, through the tower’s historic atrium” flooded with light. It’s not the view from the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon, but it’s probably as close a modern lobby can come to awe-inspiring. Few New Yorkers who pass by would find this building boring. And they’re likely happier — maybe even nicer to each other — because of it. <cite class="credit"></cite>
  3. http://www.icisource.ca/commercial_real_estate_news/ When NIMBYism is warranted, and when it isn’t Of course, the question is whether a proposed development, infill project or new infrastructure build really does pose a risk to these cherished things. Developers and urban planners must always be cognizant of the fact that there is a segment of the population, a fringe element, who will object to just about anything “new” as a matter of principle. I’ve been to many open houses and public consultations for one proposed project or another over the years. There is almost always that contingent of dogged objectors who invariably fixate on the same things: Parking – Will there be enough if the development increases the population density of the neighbourhood or draws more shoppers/workers from elsewhere? Traffic – Will streets become unsafe and congested due to more cars on the road? Transit – Will this mean more busses on the road, increasing the safety hazard on residential streets, or conversely will there be a need for more? Shadowing – is the new build going to leave parts of the neighbourhood stuck in the shade of a skyscraper? These are all legitimate concerns, depending on the nature of the project in question. They are also easy targets for the activist obstructionist. Full and honest disclosure is the best defence Why? Because I see, time and again, some developers and urban planners who should know better fail to be prepared for objections rooted on any of these points. With any new development or infrastructure project, there has to be, as a simple matter of sound public policy, studies that examine and seek to mitigate impacts and effects related to parking, traffic, shadowing, transit and other considerations. It therefore only makes sense, during a public consult or open house, to address the most likely opposition head on by presenting the findings and recommendations of these studies up front in a clear and obvious manner. But too often, this isn’t done. I’ve was at an open house a few years ago where, when asked about traffic impact, the developer said there wouldn’t be any. Excuse me? If your project adds even one car to the street, there’s an impact. I expect he meant there would be only minimal impact, but that’s not what he said. The obstructionists had a field day with that – another greedy developer, trying to pull the wool over the eyes of honest residents. This is a marketing exercise – treat it like one This is ultimately a marketing exercise – you have to sell residents on the value and need of the development. Take another example – a retirement residence. With an aging population, we are obviously going to need more assisted living facilities in the years to come. But in this case, the developer, speaking to an audience full of grey hairs, didn’t even make the point that the new residence would give people a quality assisted-living option, without having to leave their community, when they were no longer able to live on their own. I also hear people who object to infill projects because they think their tax dollars have paid for infrastructure that a developer is now going to take advantage of – they think the developer is somehow getting a free ride. And yet, that developer must pay development charges to the city to proceed with construction. The new build will also pay its full utility costs and property taxes like the rest of the street. City hall gets more revenue for infrastructure that has already been paid for, and these additional development charges fund municipal projects throughout the city. Another point, often overlooked – when you take an underperforming property and redevelop it, its assessed value goes up, and its tax bill goes up. The local assessment base has just grown. City hall isn’t in the business of making a profit, just collecting enough property tax to cover the bills. The more properties there are in your neighbourhood, the further that tax burden is spread. In other words, that infill project will give everyone else a marginal reduction on their tax bill. It likely isn’t much, but still, it’s something. Developers must use the facts to defuse criticism Bottom line, development is necessary and good most of the time. If we didn’t have good regulated development, we would be living in horrid medieval conditions. Over the last century and a bit, ever growing regulation have given us safer communities, with more reliable utilities and key services such as policing and fire. Yes, there are examples of bad development, but if we had none, as some people seem to want, no one would have a decent place to live. It just astonishes me that developers and urban planners don’t make better use of the facts available to them to defuse criticism. It’s so easy to do it in the right way. Proper preparation for new development public information sessions is the proponent’s one opportunity to tell their story, and should not be wasted by failing to get the facts out and explaining why a project is a good idea. To discuss this or any other valuation topic in the context of your property, please contact me at [email protected] I am also interested in your feedback and suggestions for future articles. The post Why do public planning projects go off the rails? appeared first on Real Estate News Exchange (RENX). sent via Tapatalk
  4. BMW Welt by Coop Himmelb(l)au wins best of Production at WAFl Awards 2008 BMW Welt, literally “the World of BMW”, is a hybrid exhibition and automobile delivery centre designed by Austrian practice Coop Himmelb(l)au. The multi-functional centre is divided in 5 key areas: Premiere, at the center of BMW Welt, where the vehicles are handed over to customers on rotating platforms, from where they can drive out of the building via a generously sized ramp; Lounge, integrated into the roof and virtually suspended over the delivery area, supported only by the utility service shafts and a column; Forum, located in the north wing of the building, a state of the art Auditorium for up to 1200 people; Tower, in the southwest, a multifunctional area with restaurants, exhibition, sales floors and administrative offices; Double Cone, resting on eleven columns, a full-service event realm extending over several levels, including a stage with its own catering infrastructure, rotating platforms and infrastructure connections for events. Wolf D. Prix, co-founder and design principal of Coop Himmelb(l)au described the project: "The concept behind the design envisions a hybrid building representing a mixture of urban elements. Not an exhibition hall, not an information and communication centre, not a museum, but instead all of these things, along a passage organized under one roof and horizontally and vertically layered. A conjoining of urban marketplace and stage for presentations”. The WAF judges chose it as the winner amongst 12 shortlisted entries in the Produciton category and defined the scheme as “deeply indebted to Le Corbusier´s enquiring mind and dedication to experimental culture” adding that “Wolf D. Prix pursues new meanings and forms in architecture.” Incidentally BMW Welt represents the zenith of Wolf D. Prix’s fascination with turning clouds into architecture, as his words testify: "From the very start we’ve wanted to build cloud architectures and cities that change like banks of clouds.” The centre was also one of the 10 RIBA European Awards winners in 2008. Laura Sal http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10552
  5. On vient de me recommander ce livre; sûrement qu'il y en aura ici qui seront intéressés... The Endless City At the turn of the twenty-first century, the world is faced with an unprecedented challenge. It must address a fundamental shift in the world’s population towards the cities, and away from mankind’s rural roots.Over the course of two years, a group of internationally renowned professionals from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds gathered together in six world cities to take stock of the new urban condition and to offer an approach to dealing with it. The Urban Age conferences – organised by the London School of Economics and Political Science and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society – centred on six very different cities. In Shanghai and Mexico City, the urban population is experiencing rapid growth and change,while Berlin is coming to terms with shrinking expectations.The result was a sometimes passionate, always challenging and informed debate on how architects, urbanists, politicians and policy makers can constructively plan the infrastructure and development of the endless city, to promote a better social and economic life for its citizens. 34 contributors from across Europe, South America, China, Africa and the U.S. set the agenda for the city – detailing its successes as well as its failures. Authoritatively edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic, The Endless City presents the outcome of this pioneering initiative on the future of cities. It has a follow-up volume called Living in the Endless City (2011). http://lsecities.net/publications/books/the-endless-city/
  6. City planners take new look at urban vistas Frances Bula, Special to the Globe and Mail, March 30th, 2009 --------------------- Vancouver’s famous view corridors have prompted more anguished howls from architects than almost anything else I can think of over the years. Now, the city is looking at re-examining them. (And, as the sharp-eyed people at skyscraper.com have noted, the posting for people to run the public consultation went up on city website Friday. You can see their comments on the whole debate here.) You can get a flavour of the arguments from my story in the Globe today, which I’ve reproduced below. --------------------- Vancouver is legendary as a city that has fought to prevent buildings from intruding on its spectacular mountain backdrop and ocean setting. Unlike Calgary, which lost its chance to preserve views of the Rockies 25 years ago, or Toronto, which has allowed a highway plus a wall of condo towers to go up between the city and its lake, Vancouver set an aggressive policy almost two decades ago to protect more than two dozen designated view corridors. But now the city is entertaining re-examining that controversial policy, one that has its fierce defenders and its equally fierce critics, especially the architects who have had to slice off or squish parts of buildings to make them fit around the corridors. And the city’s head planner is signalling that he’s definitely open to change. “I’ve got a serious appetite for shifting those view corridors,” says Brent Toderian, a former Calgary planner hired two years ago, who has been working hard to set new directions in a city famous for its urban planning. “The view corridors have been one of the most monumental city-shaping tools in Vancouver’s history but they need to be looked at again. We have a mountain line and we have a building line where that line is inherently subjective.” The issue isn’t just about preserving views versus giving architects free rein. Vancouver has used height and density bonuses to developers with increasing frequency in return for all kinds of community benefits, including daycares, parks, theatres and social housing. A height limit means less to trade for those amenities. Mr. Toderian, who thinks the city also needs to establish some new view corridors along with adjusting or eliminating others, says a public hearing on the issue won’t happen until the fall, but he is already kicking off the discussion quietly in the hope that it will turn into a wide-ranging debate. “The input for the last few years has been one-sided, from the people who think the view corridors should be abolished,” he said. “But we’re looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks. Most people who would support them don’t even think about them. They think the views we have are by accident.” The view-corridor policy, formally adopted in 1989, was the result of public complaints over some tall buildings going up, including Harbour Centre, which is now, with its tower and revolving restaurant, seen as a defining part of the Vancouver skyline. But then, it helped spur a public consultation process and policy development that many say confused the goal of preserving views with a mathematical set of rules that often didn’t make sense. One of those critics is prominent architect Richard Henriquez, who said the corridors don’t protect the views that people have consistently said they value most from the city’s many beaches and along streets that terminate at the water. Instead, he says many of the view corridors are arbitrarily chosen points that preserve a shard of view for commuters coming into town. That has resulted in the city losing billions of dollars of potential development “for someone driving along so they can get a glimpse of something for a second.” And, Mr. Henriquez argues, city residents have a wealth of exposure to the city’s mountains throughout the region. “Downtown Vancouver is a speck of urbanity in a sea of views,” said Mr. Henriquez, who is feeling the problem acutely these days while he works on a development project downtown where the owners are trying to preserve a historic residential hotel, the Murray, while building an economically feasible tower on the smaller piece of land next to it. The view corridor means the building has to be shorter and broader and is potentially undoable. His project is one in a long list of projects that have been abandoned or altered because of view corridor rules in Vancouver. The Shangri-La Hotel, currently the tallest building in the city at 650 feet, is sliced diagonally along one side to prevent it from straying into the view corridor. At the Woodward’s project, which redeveloped the city’s historic department store, one tower had to be shortened and the other raised to fit the corridor. And architect Bing Thom’s plan for a crystal spire on top of a development next to the Hotel Georgia was eventually dropped because city officials refused to budge on allowing the needle-like top to protrude. But one person wary about the city tinkering with the policy is former city councillor Gordon Price. “When people talk about revisiting, it just means one thing: eroding,” said Mr. Price, still a vocal advocate on urban issues. “People may only get this fragment of a view but it’s very precious. And those fragments will become scarcer as the city grows. The longer they remain intact, the more valuable they become.” It’s a debate that’s unique to Vancouver. Mr. Toderian said that when he was in Calgary, there was no discussion about trying to preserve views from the downtown to the Rockies in the distance. --------------------- cet article n'est pas tres recent, mais je sais pas s'il avait deja ete poste sur ce forum. meme s'il y a des differences, a mon avis beaucoup de ces arguments pourraient s'appliquer aussi pour Montreal. est-ce qu'on devra attendre une autre vague de demande bousillee pour relancer le debat ?
  7. http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/exploremontreal/index.html montrealgazette.com series called Urban Villages, in which we look at Montreal's up-and-coming neighbourhoods.
  8. The New York Times July 15, 2008 Country, the City Version: By BINA VENKATARAMAN What if “eating local” in Shanghai or New York meant getting your fresh produce from five blocks away? And what if skyscrapers grew off the grid, as verdant, self-sustaining towers where city slickers cultivated their own food? Dickson Despommier, a professor of public health at Columbia University, hopes to make these zucchini-in-the-sky visions a reality. Dr. Despommier’s pet project is the “vertical farm,” a concept he created in 1999 with graduate students in his class on medical ecology, the study of how the environment and human health interact. The idea, which has captured the imagination of several architects in the United States and Europe in the past several years, just caught the eye of another big city dreamer: Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president. When Mr. Stringer heard about the concept in June, he said he immediately pictured a “food farm” addition to the New York City skyline. “Obviously we don’t have vast amounts of vacant land,” he said in a phone interview. “But the sky is the limit in Manhattan.” Mr. Stringer’s office is “sketching out what it would take to pilot a vertical farm,” and plans to pitch a feasibility study to the mayor’s office within the next couple of months, he said. “I think we can really do this,” he added. “We could get the funding.” Dr. Despommier estimates that it would cost $20 million to $30 million to make a prototype of a vertical farm, but hundreds of millions to build one of the 30-story towers that he suggests could feed 50,000 people. “I’m viewed as kind of an outlier because it’s kind of a crazy idea,” Dr. Despommier, 68, said with a chuckle. “You’d think these are mythological creatures.” Dr. Despommier, whose name in French means “of the apple trees,” has been spreading the seeds of his radical idea in lectures and through his Web site. He says his ideas are supported by hydroponic vegetable research done by NASA and are made more feasible by the potential to use sun, wind and wastewater as energy sources. Several observers have said Dr. Despommier’s sky-high dreams need to be brought down to earth. “Why does it have to be 30 stories?” said Jerry Kaufman, professor emeritus of urban and regional planning at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Why can’t it be six stories? There’s some exciting potential in the concept, but I think he overstates what can be done.” Armando Carbonell, chairman of the department of planning and urban form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass., called the idea “very provocative.” But it requires a rigorous economic analysis, he added. “Would a tomato in lower Manhattan be able to outbid an investment banker for space in a high-rise? My bet is that the investment banker will pay more.” Mr. Carbonell questions if a vertical farm could deliver the energy savings its supporters promise. “There’s embodied energy in the concrete and steel and in construction,” he said, adding that the price of land in the city would still outweigh any savings from not having to transport food from afar. “I believe that this general relationship is going to hold, even as transportation costs go up and carbon costs get incorporated into the economic system.” Some criticism is quite helpful. Stephen Colbert jokingly asserted that vertical farming was elitist when Dr. Despommier appeared in June on “The Colbert Report,” a visit that led to a jump in hits to the project’s Web site from an average of 400 daily to 400,000 the day after the show. Dr. Despommier agrees that more research is needed, and calls the energy calculations his students made for the farms, which would rely solely on alternative energy, “a little bit too optimistic.” He added, “I’m a biologist swimming in very deep water right now.” “If I were to set myself as a certifier of vertical farms, I would begin with security,” he said. “How do you keep insects and bacteria from invading your crops?” He says growing food in climate-controlled skyscrapers would also protect against hail and other weather-related hazards, ensuring a higher quality food supply for a city, without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Architects’ renderings of vertical farms — hybrids of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Biosphere 2 with SimCity appeal — seem to be stirring interest. “It also has to be stunning in terms of the architecture, because it needs to work in terms of social marketing,” Dr. Despommier said. “You want people to say, ‘I want that in my backyard.’ ” Augustin Rosenstiehl, a French architect who worked with Dr. Despommier to design a template “living tower,” said he thought that any vertical farm proposal needed to be adapted to a specific place. Mr. Rosenstiehl, principal architect for Atelier SOA in Paris, said: “We cannot do a project without knowing where and why and what we are going to cultivate. For example, in Paris, if you grow some wheat, it’s stupid because we have big fields all around the city and lots of wheat and it’s good wheat. There’s no reason to build towers that are very expensive.” Despite its potential problems, the idea of bringing food closer to the city is gaining traction among pragmatists and dreamers alike. A smaller-scale design of a vertical farm for downtown Seattle won a regional green building contest in 2007 and has piqued the interest of officials in Portland, Ore. The building, a Center for Urban Agriculture designed by architects at Mithun, would supply about a third of the food needed for the 400 people who would live there. In June at P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center in Queens, a husband-wife architect team built a solar-powered outdoor farm out of stacked rows of cardboard tube planters — one that would not meet Dr. Despommier’s security requirements — with chicken coops for egg collection and an array of fruits and vegetables. For Dr. Despommier, the high-rise version is on the horizon. “It’s very idealistic and ivory tower and all of that,” he said. “But there’s a real desire to make this happen.” ---------------- Peut-être pour Dubai en premier? Et le silo no.5, un de ses jours?
  9. Website: 1200redpath-cr.com [sTREETVIEW]https://maps.google.ca/maps?ll=45.50258,-73.583658&spn=0.006204,0.009516&cbll=45.502583,-73.583658&layer=c&panoid=S8SQW7jZasjLsujb3Tl06g&cbp=12,299.98,,0,-7.69&t=h&z=17[/sTREETVIEW]
  10. http://www.westislandgazette.com/news/28915 Dorval considering options for major facelift City wants public input on its draft of master urban plan Albert Kramberger The Gazette Wednesday, March 14, 2012 The city of Dorval is looking to make a few changes in how it looks - everything from revitalizing its waterfront to giving Dorval Ave. a facelift. The next step in preparing a new sustainable master urban plan is a public consultation set for March 26. The city has prepared a draft of its master plan, a general statement of the direction the city should follow over the next two decades regarding development, zoning and quality of life concerns as well as promoting and encouraging "greener" options. It now hopes to gauge input from citizens before adopting the formal version later this fall, said Mayor Edgar Rouleau. Among its proposals, the city aims to make its waterfront along Lake St. Louis more user-friendly and animated, possibly installing outdoor exercise equipment at Millennium Park. As well, it will consider purchasing select private lands near existing cityowned sites, like the Forest and Stream Club, should they ever come on the market, the mayor said. "There are sites along Lakeshore that may, in five or 10 years, become available and the council should at that time evaluate if it's worthwhile to acquire," Rouleau said of potentially adding to publicly owned space along the lake. "Is it going to expensive? As you know, yes." While the city is also looking at encouraging highdensity residential develop-ment, especially around the Pine Beach and Dorval train stations and along Bouchard Blvd., it will have to be measured in light of respecting the single-family home residential character in much of the city. There is also a goal to reverse an aging demographic trend by attracting young families and immigrants, the latter of which are expected to account for more than 30 per cent of Dorval's population by 2024. As of 2011, Dorval had about 18,615 residents and approximately 8,000 households, with an additional 2,000 housing units envisioned by the city within a decade, including more affordable housing. "Residents want the population to increase, but they don't want to lose that residential sector that we have," Rouleau said. "We're not going to change that, except those few big lots we have, like the one at the corner of De la Presentation and Lakeshore, which will soon be developed," he said. The city also aims to revitalize the commercial area on Dorval Ave. and make it more attractive. For example, by allowing outdoor terraces, and making it safer for both pedestrians and cyclists. A study has already been commissioned to prepare some proposals, the mayor said. "We want it more friendly, but the challenge is that we cannot widen the road," Rouleau said of Dorval Ave. "Whatever we extend, we have to take it from somewhere else. Right now it's two lanes each way with an island in the middle and sidewalks on both sides," he said, adding that perhaps the avenue could be reduced to one lane in each direction with a narrow median strip to allow for something like a bike path.
  11. http://www.playthecity.nl/ Play the City Play the City uses gaming to engage multiple stakeholders in resolving complex urban challenges. Changing the way we engage stakeholders, Play the City designs physical games as a method for collaborative decision making and conflict resolution. We tailor our games according to the questions of our clients. These can relate to large urban projects, refugee camps, violence prevention and other multi-stakeholder challenges societies face. We use gaming as a problem-solving method bringing top down decision makers together with bottom up stakeholders. In the accessible environment of games, freed from the jargons, various ideas, plans and projects meet, conflict and collaborate towards negotiated outcomes. We believe gaming is the real alternative to standard formats of public consultation in the 21st century. Our method has been acknowledged internationally and has been implemented for large-scale projects in Amsterdam, Istanbul, Brussels and Cape Town. You can gain more insight by clicking our projects page. sent via Tapatalk
  12. Hi all, I thought that I would share with you guys my progress on my Jeanne-Mance project that I have been working on during the past months. This work is largely incomplete as I barely had enough time to work on it. I acknowledge that, there is a lot of changes to do with the masterplan, so it is likely to be quite different on the report, which should be finished by April or Mai Update I just want to specify that this project is explorative. Its only purpose is to explore developmental opportunities within the context of reconnecting the area’s urban fabric to its surroundings and also to maximize land use efficiency, while finding solutions to offer more amenities than what they already have. Masterplan Here is a section of the extended Emery Street at the centre
  13. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/business/global/hip-cities-that-think-about-how-they-work.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&smid=fb-share The story of young people, full of ambition, energy, skill and talent, moving to enticing cities that call to them like a siren’s song is as old as modern civilization. And in a world where national borders are easier to traverse, where more countries are joining the prosperous global middle class and where the cost of a one-way plane ticket is more affordable, young professionals probably have more cities to choose from than ever before. This survey is not based solely on quality of life, number of trees or the cost of a month’s rent. Instead, we examine some cities that aim to be both smart and well managed, yet have an undeniably hip vibe. Our pick of cities that are, in a phrase, both great and good: Auckland With its beaches, inlets and lush coastal climate, the Kiwi metropolis has always had great natural beauty going for it (and, now, for the first time in 24 years, it is the home to the World Cup Rugby Champions). But we digress. Currently counting 1.5 million residents , the government is projecting the city to hit the two million-mark in just 30 years. The city has recently voted to create a new central core that mixes sustainable housing and mixed-use development. The public transportation system, which includes subways, trams, busses and ferries, is constantly being expanded. Measures to increase the density of the urban landscape, meant to ultimately prevent encroachment on surrounding lands, as well as planting “green carpets” along urban roads demonstrate a keen eye toward creating a greener future. Plus, the city is expanding its free Wi-Fi coverage, according to a city official. Auckland is doing its best to “up their game with urban design,” said Angela Jones, a spokesperson for the city, turning a beautiful but provincial capital into a smart city. Berlin This culture capital combines low rents, a white-hot arts scene, good public transportation and myriad creative types — from media to design to technology — from all over the world. Known as Europe’s largest construction zone for at least 10 of the past 20 years, 4.4-million-strong Berlin has probably changed more in that time than any other large European city. And while the restaurants have become more expensive, the clothes are now more stylish and the D.J.’s have added more attitude, there is still plenty of real city left to be discovered by the thousands of artists and young professionals who move here every year to make this the pulsing center of Germany, the powerhouse of Europe. Besides radical renovations to the government center, main train station and the old Potsdamer Platz, the city recently turned a historic airport in its heart into a vast urban park. A short-term bike-rental system is in place and the old subway system, reunited after the fall of the wall, like the city itself, is as efficient as ever. Besides artists and bohemians looking for the vibe, the city — home to several prestigious universities, research institutes and many a company headquarter — is brimming with smart scientists and savvy businessmen. Barcelona Anyone who has walked down Las Ramblas on a summer evening or has stared at the Sagrada Familia for long enough understands why this city attracts planeloads of tourists. Music, good food, great weather and strong technology and service sectors compete to make this city of 1.6 million a home for all those who want to stay beyond summer break. If all the traditional charms of Barcelona were not enough, an active city government is trying to keep this city smart, too. Under its auspices, photovoltaic solar cells have been installed on many public and private rooftops. Charging stations for electrical cars and scooters have recently been set up around the city, in preparation for the day when residents will be tooling around in their electric vehicles. A biomass processing plant is being built that will use the detritus from city parks to generate heat and electricity, and free Wi-Fi is available at hotspots around the city. Cape Town Wedged between sea and mountain, Cape Town’s natural setting is stunning. Nor does the city — with its colorful neighborhoods, historic sites, and easy charm — disappoint. And while its one of Africa’s top tourist destinations, it also attracts many new residents from around the globe. The local government is trying to lead the growing city of 3.5 million with a more inclusive government and development structure, to overcome the gross inequities of South Africa’s past. Four major universities and many research institutes make Cape Town one of the continent’s bustling research centers. Named the 2014 World Design Capital last month, the city government is encouraging a cluster of design and creative firms in a neighborhood called the Fringe. The 2010 World Cup of soccer was a boon for infrastructure, especially public transportation. A new bus system, with dedicated lanes, has been rolled out in recent years to keep the many suburbs connected and alleviate crushing traffic. Under a program called Smart Cape, libraries and civic centers have computer terminals with free Internet access. Poverty and crime are still issues in Cape Town, but overall quality of life indicators rank the city as one of the best in Africa. Copenhagen Progressive, cozy and very beautiful, the young and the elegant flock to this northern light. Rents might not be as low as in other hip cities, but the social infrastructure in this metropolitan area of 1.9 million cannot be beat. Offering a prosperous blend of art, culture and scene, this highly tolerant city is attracting young professionals lucky enough to work in the center of Danish industry and commerce. A mix of stately old European buildings and modern, green-oriented architecture speaks of a city that treasures the old but loves experimenting with the new. Despite its cool Scandinavian climate, the Danish capital might just be the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. Bike superhighways crisscross the city, and statistics show that more than a third of the city’s inhabitants commute to work or school on their trusty two-wheelers. A metro system was inaugurated in the last decade for those who choose to go without. With sunlight-flooded underground stations and clean, driverless subway cars, the system looks more like a people-mover at an international airport than an urban transport system. Having committed itself to reducing carbon levels by 20 percent before 2015, some of the city’s power is generated by wind. The city has been so successful in cleaning up its once-industrial harbor that it has been able to open three public baths in a harbor waterway. Curitiba, Brazil One of the smartest cities in Latin America, Brazil’s wealthy regional capital attracts many new inhabitants with jobs in service and production sectors, and with the promise a functioning city. The 1.7 million residents have access to a bus-based rapid transport system so good that more than 700,000 commuters use it daily. Buses run on designated lanes that, because of a unique and modern urban design, have right-of-way and preferred access to the city center. A beautiful botanical garden and other city parks, along with other strong environmental measures, keep the air largely clear of pollution, despite Curitiba’s land-locked location. The city strives to be sustainable in other ways, too. According to reports, it recently invested $106 million, or 5 percent, of its budget into its department of environment. The city government makes itself integral in the lives of Curitibans, not just seeking comment and feedback on policies, but also organizing a host of events. “Bike Night” is the latest craze in the active city. Each Tuesday, residents take to their bikes and peddle through the night, accompanied by municipal staff members. Montreal With its hearty French and North American mix, this city of 3.6 million has a real soul thanks to low living costs and long winter evenings. And it is no slouch when it comes to good food, hip culture, well-appointed museums and efficient transportation. With four major universities and plenty of bars, the nightlife in this bilingual city has a well-deserved reputation. Because the winters tend to be long and cold, the city possesses an extensive underground network connecting several downtown malls and a subterranean arts quarter. When spring finally does arrive, and snow is cleared from the many bike paths, the city puts out its 3,000 short-term-rental bicycles, known as Bixi. City-sponsored community gardens are sprouting around town, giving urbanites a chance to flex their green thumb. Montreal is an incredibly active town where festivals celebrating everything from jazz to Formula One dominate the city’s calendar during the summer. Thanks to Mount Royal, a large central park and cemetery that serves as cross-country, snowshoe and ice-skating terrain in the winter and becomes a verdant picnic ground and gathering spot in the summer, Montrealers never have to leave city limits. Santiago A vibrant mix of Latin American culture and European sensibility, this Chilean city is modern, safe and smart. The rapidly growing city of 6.7 million — , which, perhaps surprisingly, was first subject to urban planning mandates in the mid-20th century — is still ahead of others in South America when it comes to urban governance. A law curtailing urban sprawl and protecting the few natural spaces close to the city is exemplary. Beautiful old cultural jewels like the library and fine art museum are dwarfed by serious commercial skyscrapers. The smell of local food, good and inexpensive, brings life even to the streets of its financial district. One of the most extensive public transport systems on the continent whisks more than 2.3 million commuters to and from work or school every day. Because of its high altitude, pollution is a problem — one that the national government is trying to curb with various green initiatives. Short-term bike rentals exist in one of the more active parts of town, and significant city funds have been used to construct bicycle lanes. For a city this modern, however, Santiago has few parks. But the ocean is just a short drive to west and the mountains to the east. Shanghai China’s commercial heart has grown tremendously in the past couple of decades. Attracting young professionals with its jobs and opportunities rather than with museums and hip nightlife, this megacity of 23 million is surprisingly smart. Its top-down urban planning approach is efficient in a city made up of separate 16 districts and one county. City coffers are put to use building enormously ambitious infrastructure, like a deepwater port, tunnels, bridges and roadways. A good indicator for the rapid and deliberate growth of the city is the metro system. First opened in 1995, it is now the world’s longest subway network, according to city officials. Adding a futuristic aspect to the utilitarian system is a Maglev (magnetic levitation) line that connects the airport to the city, and on which the train travels at speeds of up to 431 kilometers, or 268 miles, per hour. But Shanghai’s urban development is also green. The city claims that it put the equivalent of $8 billion into environmental improvement and cleanup, which include sewage treatment systems but also an impressive number of city parks. In addition, Shanghai has made its city government more accessible by running a Web site were residents can find municipal information, and read a blog entitled “mayor’s window.” Vilnius, Lithuania One of the greenest of the former Eastern bloc capitals, Vilnius has a forward-thinking city government. In a recent Internet video that spread virally, the mayor, Arturas Zuokas, is seen crushing a Mercedes parked on a bike path with a tank. Beyond the obvious political theater of the stunt, the city, whose metropolitan area population is 850,000 takes providing good public transportation seriously. A recent study suggested that some 70 percent of the capital’s citizens either walk, bike or take the bus. Vilnius, a verdant city that despite some communist architectural clunkers is charmingly medieval and surprisingly well maintained, boasts an old town that is a Unesco world heritage site. After the fall of the old regime, the city took great pains to retool its waste disposal systems, building a modern landfill in 2005. The capital attracts young professionals, and not just from Eastern Europe, who see in Vilnius a rising star in business and appreciate all that the extensive cultural scene in the little capital has to offer.
  14. The jury members are: - Melvin Charney, architect; - Odile Decq, architect and Director of the École Spéciale d'Architecture, Paris; - Jacques Des Rochers, Curator of Canadian Art, Montréal Museum of Fine Arts; - Michel Dionne, architect, Cooper, Robertson & Partners, New York; - Raphaël Fischler, urban planner and professor at the School of Urban Planning, McGill University; - Mario Masson, landscape architect and Division Manager, Service du développement culturel, de la qualité du milieu de vie et de la diversité ethnoculturelle, Ville de Montréal; - Alessandra Ponte, associate professor, School of Architecture, Université de Montréal; - Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec, landscape architect and holder of the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design at Université de Montréal. Instructions for prospective entrants (Courtesy of CNW Telbec)
  15. http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/fr-evenements-new-cities-summit/ http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/new-cities-summit/ New Cities Foundation NEW CITIES SUMMIT The New Cities Summit, our flagship event, is the leading global event on urban innovation. The Summit brings together the top entrepreneurs, innovators, change-makers, CEOs, policy makers, investors and thinkers in this space. Our Next New Cities Summit New Cities Summit Montréal 2016 The Age of Urban Tech http://www.newcitiessummit2016.org Our Past New Cities Summits New Cities Summit Jakarta 2015 Seizing the Urban Moment: Cities at the Heart of Growth and Development http://www.newcitiessummit2015.org Read E-Book Dallas - New Cities Summit 2014 New Cities Summit Dallas 2014 Re-Imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis http://www.newcitiessummit2014.org Read E-Book São Paulo - New Cities Summit 2013 New Cities Summit São Paulo 2013 The Human City http://www.newcitiessummit2013.org Read E-Book Paris - New Cities Summit 2012 New Cities Summit Paris 2012 Thinking Ahead, Building Together http://www.newcitiessummit2012.org Read E-Book New Cities Foundation Shaping a better urban future Find out more : Our Mission Blog Members Contact Follow Us Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Sign up to our Newsletter Subscribe © 2016 New Cities Foundation | Credits | Powered by WordPress Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
  16. Ahead: A brighter horizon for Cabot Square Plans due; Downtown area in search of an identity Source: The Gazette Cty councillor Karim Boulos is standing in the Canadian Centre for Architecture, airing his optimism over a scale model of what is known as "the Cabot Square area" - a part of the Peter McGill district he represents. But the Cabot Square area is also a stretch of Ste. Catherine St. that makes many Montrealers wince. The thoroughfare between Lambert Closse and Chomedey Sts. has been this city's version of a picture of Dorian Gray, a pastiche of boarded-up storefronts, crumbling facades and grafitti that seems to have spread while other neighbourhoods renewed themselves. However, by this time next Monday, Boulos and the rest of the city will get a bigger glimpse of what might happen to the piece of downtown that's been in search of an identity for nearly a generation. That's when three teams of architects and urban planners will submit their versions of what should be done to revive the Cabot Square area. Boulos, Ville Marie borough mayor Benoit Labonté and members of an alliance of neighbourhood businesses and residents met the press yesterday to detail the attempts to revitalize the neighbourhood. The planning teams were formed after a collection of 25 business, property owners and residents' associations started the Table de concertation du centre-ville ouest. "The properties may be empty but the owners are still paying taxes," Boulos said. "They haven't left, they're waiting to see what's going to happen." The plans submitted by the teams will be judged by a jury that includes architect and Harvard professor Joan Busquest, Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal and founding director Phyllis Lambert of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The successful submission will form the basis for an urban plan that will produced by the borough and submitted to public consultations. Boulos suggests that if everything goes well, changes in the district might begin "by this fall." And for Lambert, whose architectural centre sprawls across the neighbourhood's southern edge, change is what's needed for a district that spent decades losing more than it's gained. "Over the last years, this area has deteriorated miserably," she said. "There used to be the Forum and all those stores where the Faubourg (Ste. Catherine) is. ... But it just goes down the drain further and further. "Then there's the block ... just to the east of the Forum with the (Seville) theatre on it, which has been boarded up for years. "And this just destroys the whole area. People have no respect (for the neighbourhood), and why would you? People just walk down the street and it's so miserable." Lambert's nephew, Stephen Bronfman, is chairman of Claridge Inc., an investment company that owns the Seville Theatre block. Asked in October about the condition of the block, Lambert told The Gazette: "It is coming along. Slowly, but we are working closely with the city and other landlords in the area. It takes time to do properly." Labonté says a development project for the Seville block is under study by the borough's urban committee. Boulos has said in earlier interviews that a private investor plans to turn the block into student residences. "What I can tell you about this project," Labonté said, "is that that there will be lots of room for students - especially for Concordia University - and the design of the building will be quite impressive. ... I'm pretty confident this project at the Seville Theatre will start the renewal of this leg of Ste. Catherine St." A decision by the borough on which development plan will be used is expected in May. But final approval will rest with the city's executive committee. In the meantime, Montrealers and the people who own the storefronts that make them wince wait to see what's going to happen.
  17. Voici quelques photos que j'ai pris aujourd'hui de l'événement. C'est vraiment intéressant et impressionnant ! Je vous invites tous à participer, c'est jusqu'à mardi. Plus d'infos : http://www.fta.qc.ca/spectacles/2011/bodies-in-urban-spaces
  18. Opinion dans la Gazette. Cooper: Can Montreal become a ‘future city?’ BY CELINE COOPER, SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE APRIL 8, 2013 Revellers at this year’s Nuit Blanche warm up by the fire at Montreal’s Quartier des spectacles. In his new book A History of Future Cities, Daniel Brook writes: “The true city of the future is not simply the city with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline but one that is piloted by the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges.” Can Montreal be one of these? Photograph by: Tim Snow , The Gazette MONTREAL — What is Montreal’s place among the world’s future global cities? I recently picked up Daniel Brook’s new book A History of Future Cities. In it, he skilfully braids together historical detail, journalism and storytelling to trace the impossible rise of Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai and St. Petersburg from developing world “instant-cities” into four of the world’s most influential global hubs. Brook looks at how these cities in China, the United Arab Emirates, India and Russia were forged. His description of how soaring cityscapes were planned and erected out of deserts, frozen marshland, oceans and rice paddies through both the ambition of visionaries and the cruelty of despots gives us some context for the emerging Asian era that we are witnessing today. We learn a bit about how the economic development of the world’s nations has come to be inextricably linked to the development of global cities. So what does this have to do with Montreal? As it happens, I started reading this book about future cities on the same day that a sinkhole swallowed two cars at Montreal’s Trudeau airport. On top of the crumbling bridges, man-eating potholes and mould-infested public schools, there was also news that day about Bill 14, the Parti Québécois’s bid to bolster the province’s language laws and further regulate who can speak what, when and where. Much of this discussion focuses on the fear that Montreal is becoming “anglicized.” Which brings me back to the question: what is Montreal’s place in this new world landscape that is no longer necessarily one of nations, but of cities? For many of us who live here, Montreal occupies a special place on the global grid and in our imaginations. We often think of it as a metropolis that straddles old and new, French and English, Europe and North America. But thankfully Montreal and its inhabitants are much more complex than that. As Columbia University sociologist Saskia Sassen and other scholars who study global cities have argued, cities are where new norms and identities are shaped. Despite the fact that it has been hemorrhaging economic clout since the late 1970s and the 1980s, and that its infrastructure is falling apart at the seams, Montreal remains an inspiring, dynamic city. Montreal’s creativity — its colourful population and the ideas they bring to life — is without a doubt the city’s greatest asset. And yet while other urban hubs are leveraging their cultural and linguistic diversity to build intellectual and economic corridors that connect them to the rest of the world, here in Quebec we are told (by our government, no less) that Montreal’s diversity is not an asset but a problem to be managed. There is too much pasta and caffè in our restaurants. Our artists are composing songs in the wrong languages. Our children are learning too much English in the classroom. These things must be regulated with new bills, laws and decrees. It reminds me of a line by urban thinker and activist Jane Jacobs in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961. Jacobs wrote: “There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.” And so it is. A History of Future Cities attests to the fact that a built urban environment is important. Dazzling feats of engineering, architectural brilliance, skylines of human-made steel and glass stalagmites are meant to be both inspiring and functional, a draw for the world’s financially and intellectually ambitious people. But one of the most compelling lines in the book — and the one that resonated with me as I pondered Montreal’s future in the world — was this: “The true city of the future is not simply the city with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline but one that is piloted by the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges.” In other words, a fancy cityscape matters, but the people who live there matter more. For Quebec to succeed as it moves into the future — whether as a sovereign country or as part of the Canadian federation — it needs Montreal to thrive. Montreal’s place among future global cities will depend on not only attracting the world’s best and brightest, but allowing them the freedom to be diverse, to be themselves, and to be brilliant. [email protected] Twitter: @CooperCeline © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Original source article: Cooper: Can Montreal become a ‘future city?’ Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Celine+Cooper+Montreal+become+future+city/8202375/story.html#ixzz2Puw40uY7
  19. 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
  20. :eek: :eek: Montreal gets geotourism designation The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago Montreal can expect a substantial boost in tourism as a result of becoming the first city to be awarded a geotourism charter by the Washington-based National Geographic Society. On his first visit here, John Francis, National Geographic's vice-president for research, conservation and exploration, said it was not hard for the multi-media publisher to select Montreal from other unnamed applicants. "This metropolitan city has and natural assets that appeal to visitors," he said before a signing National Geographic's "geotourism charter" with Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay and other officials today. Montreal, he said, can "stand as a guiding light for protecting cherished resources around the world." The city's "holistic approach to tourism" is a continuing process. Guatemala, Honduras, Norway, Rumania, Arizona, Rhode Island also have been singled by National Geographic out as global destinations. It recognizes the importance of urban centres to global tourism and rewards those who safeguard the "uniqueness of integrity" of special places. Special attention is given to architecture, cuisine, neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods, entertainment districts, green spaces, historical, cultural, and urban landscapes. After his first visit this morning, Francis said he could see Montreal is doing a good job of preserving its heritage and is "worthy of visiting." National Geographic, through its flagship magazine and other publications, TV channel, and other platforms, is said to reach some 300 million people each month. About 7.5 million visitors came to Montreal last year, pouring $2.5 billion into the economy
  21. I've always loved PJ O'Rourke It's worth the click, and there is even a Montreal reference http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704050204576218600999993800.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
  22. MONTREAL - When James Essaris looks out over his flat concrete kingdom of 20 downtown parking lots that he started collecting in 1956, he sees a precious urban resource where others see ugliness. The much-maligned parking lot, long considered an urban eyesore and enemy of public transit, is becoming an increasingly rare feature on the downtown streetscape. Essaris, longtime owner of Stationnement Métropolitain, sees his barren concrete as more than just a chance for him to pocket some cash on the barrelhead: he believes in the good that parking lots do and considers the spaces to be the lungs of downtown commerce. “The City of Montreal should give free parking to come downtown. We’re chasing people out to the shopping centres,” he said. The new parking lot tax was adopted in 2010 and brings in $19 million a year to fund public transit. The tax is determined by a complicated formula that Essaris says in practice makes city taxes about twice as expensive on a surface lot as it would for another type of structure. The city held public hearings on the issue this spring and response to the surface parking eradication campaign — through the new parking tax and allowing larger-scale buildings on the empty lots — was greeted positively, according to City of Montreal Executive Committee member Alan DeSousa. “It brings more money into the city coffers and removes the scars in the downtown area,” he said. He said that some of lost parking spaces have been replaced by indoor parking in the various projects. But after seeing his taxes double in recent years, Essaris is now doing what many other parking-lot owners have done: He has started sacrificing his supply of parking spaces for housing, most recently building a 38-storey Icône condo tower at de la Montagne St. and René Lévesque Blvd. He has some misgivings, however, knowing that those spots will be sorely missed. “We cannot survive without parking in the city. I wish everybody could take the bus and métro, it’d make things easier, but you cannot force people onto the métro when they have a car,” he said. Urban retailers have long begged their merchants associations to create more places to park, perhaps no more than on the Main where about half of all members regularly plead for more parking, according to Bruno Ricciardi-Rigault, president of the SDBSL. “It would be really nice if we had a few more parking lots,” he said. However, the dearth of spaces is only going to intensify as the few remaining parking lots near St. Laurent Blvd. are slated to be redeveloped. Ricciardi-Rigault is bracing for more complaints from restauranteurs who have lost customers because their motorist clientele was fed up with circling the block. “Some people want to spend the whole afternoon, shop, go to Jeanne Mance Park, come back for a beer. Paying $20 to park on the street, that‘s asking a lot,” he said. Condo towers have been replacing lots in the downtown core at an impressive pace and the result is higher prices at indoor garages, reflected in a recent Colliers study that ranks Montreal as having the second-highest parking prices of any big Canadian city. Rates have risen an eye-opening 11 per cent since last year, as the average monthly price for an unreserved spot in a downtown underground commercial lot was $330.96 — $88 above the national average. The proliferation of private parking lots once inspired many to liken Montreal to a bombed-out city, but that is no longer the case. “We were spoiled by having tons of parking lots, now Montrealers will have to get used to much higher parking costs,” said Colliers representative Andrew Maravita. He credits a lower commercial vacancy rate for pushing prices higher. Up until the 1960s, Montreal tacitly allowed even historic buildings to be demolished and replaced by parking lots and until recently turned a blind eye to the countless rogue illegal lots that dotted the downtown core. For ages, Montreal surface parking lots were fly-by-night operations, changing ownership to avoid bylaw restrictions ordering them to be paved, landscaped. The city always said they couldn’t chase every owner down. But in recent years, authorities have increased taxes and cracked down on illegal lots, combining the stick of punishment with the carrot of juicy rezoning booty. In the past, many property owners failed to see the point of building on their parking lots, as the zoning frequently only allowed for small buildings. Those restrictions have been lifted on many of those properties, resulting in a bonanza for parking-lot owners whose land increased in value. The strategy was put into place with input from architect and former Equality Party leader Robert Libman, who previously served on the city’s Executive Committee. “A lot of projects going on now, on streets like Crescent and Bishop and that area, were previously zoned for two or three storeys. The urban plan capped those at a minimal height. The rezoning has made it more alluring for owners to build instead of leaving it vacant,” he says. Libman’s war against above-ground parking lots is personal. “They’re ugly and they undermine the downtown urban fabric,” Libman said. But he concedes that commerce relies on people being able to drive to a business. “You’ve got to find that careful balance between offering too much parking, making it too easy vs. your objective of discouraging people to take their car downtown and using public transit, that’s the fine line you have to find between the two,” he said. Developers are required to include parking in new projects, but the amount varies from place to place. In Laval, many projects are required to have two parking spaces per condo unit, while in the Plateau it’s close to zero spaces, although a typical recipe calls for one spot per two units. The one part of the city perhaps most challenged by a dearth of parking facilities is the booming Old Montreal area. The issue has long been considered such an urgent problem that one proposal from a decade ago even suggested that the massive silos in the Old Port be used to park cars. More recently, Old Montreal planners have installed an electronic billboard indicating where spaces could be found, but the pressure on parking endures, according to Georges Coulombe, whose real-estate company has been snapping up properties in the area for the last four decades. Coulombe concedes that area commerce has been hurt by a lack of space for cars. “People from places like Longueuil want to come shop on the weekend, but they can’t do it anymore, it’s too expensive to park, they end up going to malls closer to home.” He attempted to address the problem through a plan to build a high-tech robotic parking facility that could accommodate twice as many cars as a regular indoor lot. However, he did the math and found that it wouldn’t make sense because of city taxes. “I had a small 3,000-foot terrain that I would have turned into 300 spaces, but the city wanted to tax not just the building but the machinery inside. It made it impossible.” Much-hyped futuristic robotic parking systems are seen by some as a potential solution to parking woes and have actually been around for quite some time. The city has had at least three pigeon-hole parking systems as the earlier incarnations were known; one was opened on de la Montagne St. in the 1950s and another on Mansfield, where a worker was crushed by an elevator. A third more recent one was in operation at St. Jean and Notre Dame until a decade ago. Authorities frequently cite the fear of being unable to put out a car blaze in their opposition to such facilities. And although a few such high-tech robotic lots could elegantly alleviate parking pressures, one expert says that the standalone dedicated parking buildings will probably never get built. Chris Mulvihill, the New Jersey-based President of Boomerang Systems, a high-tech car-stacking parking lot system, notes that any landowner would most probably opt for a different sort of project. “Take any place where it’s very hard to get a parking spot,” Mulvihill says. “You’d think building a garage and charging for parking would be a good business model, but the economics dictate that if there’s a high demand for parking in that area, it’s because it’s a hot, happening place, so there are real-estate developers who want to build on that land. The demand makes it uber-expensive. A landowner could make a lot more money doing something other than parking on it.” © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Parking+squeeze+Downtown+businesses+feeling/7453989/story.html#ixzz2ASqBCwJE
  23. Urban shift is reshaping Montreal Montreal will be a much greyer city 20 years from now, and the aging of our populace will influence everything from home design to urban architecture to public transportation. It will also be a more multi-coloured city, measured in terms of skin tone, and multi-linguistic, too, as new legions of immigrants flow in, altering its face, flavour and sound. It will be more condensed, with condominiums overtaking expensive single-family homes as the lodging of choice for first-time homebuyers. And it will be a poorer city mired in a heavily indebted province, forcing it to focus on necessities like rebuilding roads and paring down bureaucracies and services rather than investing in grand designs like megaprojects or metro extensions. Economic imperatives will force Montreal to focus on what it’s good at to survive — namely, being itself. The city will endure by hosting festivals and conferences, promoting its flourishing arts scene, throwing successful, peaceful street parties for hundreds of thousands at a time and inviting the world to come. It will market itself as a vibrant, fun, creative place to live, and a coveted vacation destination for legions of retired baby boomers with time on their hands and savings to burn. This in turn will lead the city to become more accommodating to pedestrians and cyclists, with stretches of thoroughfares like Crescent and Ste. Catherine Sts. becoming pedestrian-only enclaves. This is the Montreal 2033 vision of McGill University architecture professor and housing expert Avi Friedman. Author of 12 books on housing and sustainable development, he is called on by cities throughout the world to consult on urban development and wealth generation. He sees in Montreal’s future a metropolis that will be poorer, still paying for past transgressions of inept infrastructure design and inadequate maintenance. But at the same time, it will be buoyed by its four major universities and its cachet as one of the cool hangouts in the vast North American neighbourhood, a magnet for tourist dollars, immigrants and creative minds. “Montreal is a brand. We’re not talking about Hamilton or Markham or Windsor. Montreal is a brand. But we need to learn how to use our brand better,” he said. Statistics Canada released figures in the fall that indicated Montreal was becoming a city of singles. Nearly 41 per cent of its residents who reside in a private dwelling live on their own, as compared to 30 per cent in most large Canadian cities. Our aging population, large number of university students, exodus of families to the suburbs, low immigration numbers and high percentage of apartments are largely the cause. The numbers spurred Friedman to ponder where the city he’s lived in for more than three decades will be in 2033. Major urban shifts, he notes, generally take about 20 years to evolve. “I wasn’t looking for pie-in-the-sky ideas, not Jetsons-type futuristic predictions, just reasonable assumptions based on trends we are already seeing today.” The greatest influence will come from the aging of the huge demographic wave that is the baby boomer generation, which will be between 70 and 87 years old in 20 years. Most will no longer be working, or paying as much in taxes. “Montreal, like other eastern cities, is going to be a poorer city than it is today, which is likely to force greater efficiency of all operations and institutions,” Friedman said. “We will have to learn to do more with less.” As families shrink (the average family size has gone from 3.5 individuals in 1970 to 2.5 in 2006), and house prices rise, demand for smaller living units will increase. The era of the single-family house as a starter home within the city limits will be a thing of the past for most, as it has been in many European cities for a long time, Friedman said. First-time buyers, many of them young families, will move into the many condominium projects sprouting downtown. Older boomers will shift from their suburban homes to condominiums. The ratio of family homes to condominiums, now at a roughly 60-40 split, will probably reverse during the next two decades, he predicted. Already densely populated neighbourhoods like Notre Dame de Grâce will see residents and developers building upward, putting additional floors on houses or commercial buildings to add residential space. (In congested Vancouver, developers have already started stacking condominium complexes on top of big-box stores like Walmart and Home Depot.) Homeowners will transform their basements into separate apartments, and the division of single-family homes into separate units to take in two or more families will proliferate. Houses will be transformed as more people opt to work out of home offices, or as retirees alter their living spaces to pursue their hobbies or their work. And seniors will make room for live-in nannies and nurses to help care for them. There will also be more grab-bars, ramps and in-house escalators. Technological advances will allow many routine hospital procedures to be done at home via computer. Patients will be able to check their blood pressure and other health indicators at home and send the information to their caregivers over the Internet, all the while chatting with nurses or doctors face-to-face via Skype. “Aging in place will be on the upswing,” Friedman said. “There will be less and less reason for hospital visits.” The new superhospitals going up downtown and in N.D.G. will also spur residential development as thousands of hospital workers seek housing nearby. Condominiums have started sprouting already near the hospitals, and close to the métro stations and train stations that serve them. Private medical clinics, for locals and foreigners alike, will be built around and even in hospitals, as the cash-strapped government off-loads more services to the private sector for wealthier clients not willing, for example, to wait three years for a hip replacement. The condominium boom, well underway in Montreal and reaching the saturation point, will continue, although at a slower pace. Montreal is on the verge of a condo crash, Friedman predicted, part of the normal ebb and flow of residential construction that regenerates every five years. “You will hear about bankruptcies, about people going under, all sorts of bad stories. This is common. Then there will be a burst of energy and another wave.” Condominium developers will start incorporating more family-friendly features like larger units, terrace gardens and parks on their properties. Condo towers with shops and restaurants on the ground floor will become more common, as will the SOHO concept (Self-Office, Home Office) common in China, where residences are located on upper floors and small offices on lower floors, and people commute by elevator. Many boomers, liberated from their children and their jobs, will give up their suburban homes to live closer to services and entertainment and downtown. Their influx will spur elderly-friendly changes seen in other cities, such as automatic doors at unwieldy metro entrances. Métro stations will become poles of residential development, followed closely by commercial properties to serve the influx of people. Suburbs like the West Island will see more low-level condominiums of four to six storeys, and available land between municipalities will be slowly colonized, making for one continuous metropolis. The densification, with housing projects like those in Griffintown bringing tens of thousands of residents into the downtown core, will result in an even more active and vibrant city, with offshoots of more shops, restaurants, services and life downtown. Neighbourhoods like St-Henri, Rosemont and Park Extension, relatively close to downtown and well-served by public transit, will be the next regions to see a slow gentrification, Friedman predicted. In a sense, we will mirror Toronto’s growth, but on a smaller scale and with a Montreal twist. “In 20 years, downtown Montreal will be populated by many more people who will bring their flavour, their lifestyle and their unique Montreal brand, with things like after-hours clubs, which is not Toronto,” Friedman said. “This is a fun city, with restaurants and pubs and clubs. I believe it will be a fun place.” Friedman sees Montreal’s four major universities and an increase in immigration quotas to make up for low birthrates as other major drivers of change, with immigrants coming from burgeoning regions like Asia and Latin America and settling in the north and east of the city. Already, roughly 10 per cent of the students in Friedman’s bachelor’s-level architecture classes are from mainland China. Montreal needs to do more to attract the droves of computer engineers from places like China, India and Pakistan who currently see California as their first choice. And tourism, with the many jobs it brings, will be Montreal’s bread and butter. At this phase in its history, Friedman sees Montreal as a city bogged down by the sins of its past, fixated on corruption and mismanagement and with no sense of a grand vision coming from city hall. Things will get more difficult from an economic standpoint, and “poorer cities do nothing. If you have wealth, you can change things,” he said, pointing to bike and public-transit friendly European cities like Copenhagen, Helsinki, Amsterdam and Berlin as examples. There is hope for Montreal’s future, Friedman said. It is articulated in the plethora of condominium towers and cranes on its skyline, in Montreal’s reputation for its joie-de-vivre attitude, open-mindedness and its artistic energy, a magnet for the young, adventurous and creative. But the hope is tempered with this caveat: the successful cities that Friedman has observed, are those whose citizens are willing to enforce change, as opposed to hoping city councillors will do it for them. “Do-it-yourself cities are the successful cities. We have to ask ourselves ‘Are we a forwards city, or a backwards one?’ ” Developments already underway provide an indication of the answer. “The densification of the core we’re seeing here will bring life,” he said, gazing up at the condominium towers growing like mighty redwoods of metal and glass in Griffintown. “This city will be a hopping place.” Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Urban+shift+reshaping+Montreal/8071854/story.html#ixzz2NF8glXu5