Urban Planning

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It's Time To Stop Paying Extra For Inconvenience

Today, close to 70 per cent of all Canadians live in suburbs. Most bought homes early in their adult life. Most raised families. And many are now living alone or with an aging spouse in houses designed for four to six people. The kids have grown and left, so nearby schools are unsupportable, too. Even the strip malls are failing as old neighbourhoods hollow out -- as young buyers head to ever-more distant points in search of the latest "cheap" development.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Amazon's Micro-Drones Are a Good Thing

The newly announced Amazon PrimeAir drone concept is essentially a mini-flying airplane that will deliver small purchases to your door in about half an hour. The commercialization of drones continues a micro-trend that is changing how we live and interact with the world around us for the better.
AP

Canada's Success is Tied to All its Cities, Not Just the Thriving Ones

For 40 years or so, the economic forces of this global economy have reshaped, physically and socially, too, cities around the world and even delivered some, once mighty, into bankruptcy. Witness Detroit. Here in Toronto, vast expanses of our car-oriented post-war suburbs have become food, transit and social service deserts with scarce opportunity for employment,
Getty

Great Public Transit Makes for a Great City

When it comes to urban sustainability, cities in the U.S. and Canada are employing innovative programs and policies to improve the health and well-being of residents and their local environments. But (with some notable exceptions, such as Vancouver and Calgary) no successful rapid transit infrastructure projects have been built in Canadian cities for decades.
Alamy

Frightful Winter Weather Doesn't Scare Walkable Cities

What last week illustrated is that even Vancouver — not really a winter city in the common use of that title — needs to think more about our ability to handle tougher winter conditions. With the weather being less predictable, and frequency and intensity of storm events getting worse with the consequences of climate change, anticipating and designing for unusual weather conditions is going to be the new normal for all of us.

Why Canadian Cities Should Look to Phoenix

Municipal politicians are in positions in which they may abuse the public trust. These controversies should be a launching point for a broad discussion of how to improve municipal governance. Canadian cities need a new model, and for accountability, transparency, and efficiency, there is no better governance model than that in Phoenix, Arizona.
Getty

Does Your Neighbourhood Pass 'Trick-Or-Treat' Test?

On top of loving to dress up each year, Halloween is my favourite holiday because it's the most dependent on how we design and build our communities. In city planning and design, there's an old saying about the "Trick-or-Treat Test." It's often brought up in the context in suburban home design: Can kids easily find the front door to your house, or must they poke behind the huge multi-car garage, past the parking asphalt, to ring your bell?

Want Families Downtown? Design for Them!

The truth is that many downtowns are currently not great places to raise families, because they aren't designed to be. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. A city and building industry gives up on kids downtown, so no one designs and plans for them. No schools. Little daycare. No playgrounds, facilities or basic public environment to make downtown kid or teenager-friendly. Most importantly, no homes built to actually fit a family. Perhaps a couple, but as soon as baby comes, they start planning the move. This perpetuates the myth that families would never want to live downtown.

Suburbs: Nowhere to Grow but Up

Newmarket is one of the fastest growing cities in Ontario. Unfortunately, they've now run out of room to grow. Like many other cities, it has no choice but to grow upwards. The trouble is that some local residents are resisting high-density development. What they don't realize is that thanks to the provincial government, they don't have a choice in the matter.