Architecture Canada n°1 2nd semestre 2006
Architecture Canada n°1 2nd semestre 2006
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  • Parution : n°1 de 2nd semestre 2006

  • Périodicité : semestriel

  • Editeur : Naylor Canada

  • Format : (213 x 276) mm

  • Nombre de pages : 88

  • Taille du fichier PDF : 8,1 Mo

  • Dans ce numéro : design urbain, les villes de l'avenir.

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■ ■ ■ www.raic.org/2006 Urban Design Ken Greenberg, FRAIC, who in 1977 established a division of architecture and urban design in the city’s planning and development department. « Ken built a team – and you started to see little parks appear in the downtown area that were well designed and included public art, » says Gosselin. « And when developers came to the city to get their buildings approved, they got really pushed in terms of what they were contributing to the public realm – what sort of amenities they were providing for pedestrians and so on. « More than 25 years later, other municipalities are starting to pickup on this. » Greenberg says that Toronto’s division of architecture and urban design was created to « acknowledge the fact that cities are made by people working in many disciplines who make decisions that shape a city » – and should be a model followed in all municipalities at a time when urban Canada is experiencing unprecedented growth and attention. « We’re in a period where there’s a tremendous amount of discussion at all levels of government about reinvesting in cities where 80 per cent of Canadians live, » he explains. « Most major cities are at historical or exceeding historic levels of population in their cores, and we’re seeing young people and empty nesters especially preferring to live in city centres for convenience and the amenities. » Immigration is also playing a role in the city revival, with a lot of people coming from countries where they’re comfortable with an urban lifestyle and choosing to live in cities when they settle in Canada, says Greenberg, who runs his own consulting firmin downtown Toronto. He adds this social trend is also reflected in recent statistics that show condominiums have outpaced single-family homes in housing starts across the country. The transformation of industrial land into commercial and residential use in urban cores, coupled with the « organic » notion of how cities should function – as promulgated by such advocates as Toronto’s own Jane Jacobs – has created tremendous opportunities for urban design, argues Greenberg, who has worked on designs for the city’s Harbourfront Centre. Yet he also maintains that Canada’s cities face significant challenges. Despite recent Ontario legislation that is giving Toronto greater powers, other cities across the country are « creatures » of the provinces under the Canadian Constitution and as such have very limited decision-making powers. « During recent budget-cutting exercises across Canada, we witnessed how cities got stuck with huge responsibilities over infrastructure, transportation and the like, yet were given few financial resources to fulfil them. And that’s why cities that were once prosperous and successfulup to the late 1970s have fallen on rough times, » says Greenberg, who has been involved in restoring New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park and the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan and further south in Florida, creating a downtown master plan for Fort Lauderdale. He says that adding to the problems facing Canadian cities is « bureaucratic inertia » within municipal governments ; restrictive legislation, such as the Ontario Planning Act that « severely limits » municipalities from getting involved in design ; and the « overwhelming involvement by lawyers, which is generally not helpful. » « Instead of having discussions about quality of place in terms that people can understand, it often endsup being allabout numbers. » It’s frequently different in the U.S., where cities benefit from a « dialogue » between politicians, businesspeople, residents and the design community, according to Greenberg, who serves as interim chief planner for the city of Boston, and urban design advisor for several other American cities including Saint Paul, Minnesota and Hartford, Connecticut. His work in Canada, by comparison, is limited. « I get requests almost weekly to get involved in major studies in the U.S, » he says. « I don’t get many requests like that in Canada. » Greenberg says it’s time for architects to become more activist in Canada and « take back » some of the decision making about city planning currently floundering in bureaucracy. McGill University architecture professor Avi Friedman, MRAIC agrees. 16 THE ROYAL ARCHITECTURAL INSTITUTE OF CANADA/L’INSTITUT ROYAL D’ARCHITECTURE DU CANADA ARCHITECT : DEMARAIS AND ASSOC., MONTREAL/PHOTO : AVI FRIEDMAN Only between 5 and 10 per cent of all mass housing in Canada is designed by architects. « Architects are not being consulted when municipalities and communities make big decisions. They have very little say of what residential developments look like, which is being done by developers. « Architects are not at the table to voice their concern – and they should be, » he says, adding that only between 5 and 10 per cent of all mass housing in Canada is designed by architects. Friedman believes Canadian architects should lobby governments at all levels – and perhaps architects should even run for office, particularly at the municipal level, to ensure that urban design remains a priority. He’s already seen what change architects can bring to city-planning exercises. Director of the graduate-level affordable homes program at McGill’s school of architecture and considered the father of the Grow Home (with Witold Rybczynski) and the Next Home designs, Friedman has spearheaded a cross-country initiative he developed in 2000 called « common sense » communities in which cities have invited him to help design neighbourhoods. To date, he has worked in several cities, including Fredericton, NB, Cornwall, ON, the Alberta communities of Lethbridge (which earned him an honorary citizenship) and Medicine Hat, as wellas Regina, SK and Winnipeg, MB. Winnipeg | A Reinvigoration In the latter case, Friedman worked on a project with the University of Winnipeg in which he converted nearby homes that wereeither dilapidated or abandoned into student housing – and, in the process, reinvigorated a small section of the city’s run-down core. He says this one example illustrates the
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