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  #21  
Old Posted May 15, 2009, 10:50 PM
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Another step towards an improved Saskatoon.

Condo battle about city's future
By Steven Lewis, Special to The Star PhoenixMay 15, 2009

Following is the personal viewpoint of the writer, a Saskatoon resident and president of Access Consulting Ltd.

After listening to some heated arguments against the project, city council approved a zoning change that allows 120 condo units to be built on a forlorn piece of underused land bounded by Haultain Avenue and Ruth Street.

Coun. Bob Pringle stood loud and proud for the NIMBY legions who overwhelmed proponents of the project at the April 20 meeting of city council. He went so far as to suggest that only residents of the immediate area were entitled to an opinion.

I suppose by that criterion I no longer count; while I lived at Munroe Avenue and Ruth Street for 28 years, my wife and I moved to Nutana last October. I watched the debate with a growing sense of irony. What the opponents of the project wished to preserve, we wished to leave behind.

Adelaide-Churchill has a density of 3.5 units per acre. In some countries this would be considered semi-rural. The lifeless streets are needlessly wide and are, despite the noble efforts of homeowners, the dominant aesthetic feature.

There is little pedestrian traffic, and for good reason. Woody Allen observed that the problem with the countryside is that there's no place to go for a walk. He meant, of course, that a good walk requires human and visual stimulation, variety, and the prospect of a spontaneous experience.

Opponents of the project want neither density nor the prospect of commercial enterprises intruding on their solitude. The essence of an interesting urban landscape is mixed use on a human scale. Big box retail outlets are as ruthlessly efficient as they are sterile; they are built for cars, not people. Monochrome subdivisions are their residential counterpart. They are isolating by design: the private preserve of the big backyard; the firewall between the domestic and the commercial; houses set well back from the street.

The obvious response to this is that I'm entitled to my perspective and the locals are entitled to theirs. To each his own, and, as the area residents kept repeating, they like what they have, and all they want is its perpetual enjoyment. Fair enough; my question is whether, even on their own terms, they are overreacting and needlessly fearful.

No one is proposing to turn the neighbourhood into Hong Kong; the project would add perhaps 200 residents who are 55-plus. The traffic argument was almost surreal. Yes, Clarence Avenue has become much busier in the past year, but it is entirely due to thousands of people living the same dream that created Adelaide-Churchill half a century ago. The Law of Sprawl comes back to haunt: Today's pastoral sanctuary is tomorrow's drive-through corridor to Home Depot and Stonebridge.

How the presence of a couple of hundred older, mainly churchgoing adults would disturb the tranquillity of the neighbourhood taxes the imagination. The complex will have its own parking. Building up the site would turn a desolate landscape into something potentially pleasing; the risk of it being aesthetically worse is near zero. And there is no better deterrent to speeding drivers than density.

From a quality of life perspective, the opponents may have it exactly wrong. They should insist on 200 units, not 120. They should demand an intimate pub, a coffee house, a courtyard, a multi-purpose centre for community get-togethers. The development should create volunteer and paid work for teenagers and ecumenical services at the church. Set aside a unit or two for artists-in-residence.

This was not just a local skirmish in Adelaide-Churchill; it was about the future of the city, the viability of the low-density model typical of prairie cities without natural boundaries, and a meditation on civic democracy.

Saskatoon is not immune to global realities, and time and economics will have the last word on the sustainability of how we live, travel, and work. The good life comes in many packages. Happy children grow up on Saskatchewan farms and in Manhattan amid the concrete and the towers. No one in central Barcelona or downtown Vancouver lives in a single-family dwelling. By choice and necessity, public and private life are more integrated, the streets are abuzz, the cafes are full, and pedestrians still matter.

There can be no gentler introduction to densification than what's proposed for my old neighbourhood. The opposing passions seemed disproportionate to the stakes and the risks. If anything, the problem with the project is that it lacks ambition.

It is neither imaginative nor transformative, but on balance it is better than doing nothing or doing less. It will be pleasant and quiet; its imprint on the neighbourhood will be minimal.

The gentleman who feared for the loss of his sunsets may find compensation in a new friend or two. The people accustomed to looking across their back fences at nothing might come to appreciate a different view. My hope is that we are all at the beginning of a larger conversation about adding vitality to neighbourhoods, and how Saskatoon might become the little metropolis that could.

© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix

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Ha, Councilor Bob Pringle has a very contradictory vision for the City of Saskatoon, as evident in his opposition to the Adelaide-Haultain 120 unit condo development.

He is for vibrant neighborhoods...
Quote:
DOWNTOWN MUST BE DAY-NIGHT DESTINATION
By Coun. Bob Pringle

Downtown Saskatoon should be a place where we all want to come -- to live or work, shop, dine, learn and gather and experience its beauty. It should be economically vibrant, affordable, fully accessible, welcoming and safe.

A group of young people recently told me they want public engagement in River Landing and core area development. They desire more benches and public washrooms, dark-sky lighting, art displays, green spaces, important cultural symbols, festivals, entertainment, cycling paths and many small businesses. The Mendel Art Gallery and the Public Library have relatively high visitors/members because they are accessible -- both by location and affordability. This is not the case in every city in Canada.

The youth also would like to see a general grocery store -- a common concern among many who reside downtown.

Those of us who do not live downtown need to be able to get there safely when the need or desire arises. Our transit ridership is increasing significantly, which is positive. Some of us may need to drive, and the city has plans for additional parking spaces.

Saskatoon enjoys the second highest per capita rate of cyclists in Canada and the city has plans to provide greater road safety for this environmentally responsible practice. Fundamentally, our businesses have to be doing well for our downtown to thrive, and the signs here are generally very positive.

Many people tell me they like to sit outside at quaint coffee and eatery places: around food is always a great place to socialize. We should continue to plan and design gathering places for children close to the river, and these will become family places. (eg: Kinsmen rides). Additional murals on "character buildings" would brighten up the downtown and, at the same time, display the creative talent of our artists.

Regardless of how we get to downtown, a vibrant city ensures that its citizens want to be there on both evenings and weekends, as well as during the workday. While downtown needs to be a desirable destination, we must ensure that all areas of Saskatoon are appealing and vibrant -- the two are connected. Our entire community should be a desirable place, where all citizens can participate in the life of our community in a meaningful way.
Source

He is against vibrant neighborhoods...
Quote:
City council passes eastside condo development
By David Hutton, TheStarPhoenix.comMay 4, 2009

The need for more housing in older neighbourhoods trumped the loud voice of concerned Adelaide-Churchill residents as a controversial condominium development was passed Monday by city council.

Saskatoon Full Gospel Church has approval to build a 120-unit, three-storey seniors’ condo complex at Ruth Street and Haultain Avenue. Condo developer Medican will build the complex in exchange for a new church and Christian school at the east end of the park site.

The development has pitted the church against local residents for more than a year. Many area residents argued the development was out of character in the primarily residential neighbourhood and would lead to further traffic problems. Council chambers were packed again on Monday night as residents and church congregation members awaited a decision.

The debate at council lasted about one hour before the decision was made to pass the zoning change.

“I’m very disappointed,” said area resident Darryl Millar in an interview after the decision was made. “I don’t know how else you can get involved and get the majority of the people from the neighbourhood stating their opposition to the project. . . . It seems city council just doesn’t get it.”

Coun. Bob Pringle said he could not approve the rezoning because of overwhelming neighbourhood opposition. To make his decision, Pringle counted letters and people who spoke at council two weeks ago and concluded a large majority didn’t support the condo complex going forward.

“The whole concept of designing a community is listening to the community,” Pringle said.


Historically, controversial housing projects in the city almost always work out to benefit a neighbourhood, said Coun. Glen Penner.

“The fact of the matter is that this isn’t just a neighbourhood issue, it is a city-wide issue,” he said.

Norman Rawlings, representing the church, said the group will have to work hard to repair the divide in the neighbourhood created by the issue and “convince residents it’s a good development for them.”

Several councillors and Mayor Don Atchison voted for the project in order to send a message council needs to be consistent with promoting more housing developments across Saskatoon, not just in the inner city, in order to reduce urban sprawl.

“We are faced with growing more responsibly as a city,” said Coun. Charlie Clark. “The costs of servicing the city, infrastructure and providing transit is coming to bite us.”

dhutton@sp.canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix
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Say one thing, do another...that can not continue, lest we threaten the success of our entire city.

Last edited by Ruckus; Sep 3, 2009 at 6:25 PM.
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  #22  
Old Posted May 21, 2009, 3:47 PM
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Open innovation council needed
By Gerry Klein, The Star Phoenix May 21, 2009

For the majority of Saskatoon's first century, the city's economy was inextricably linked to agriculture.

The success of mining in the 1970s helped build a streak of independence and fuelled an industrial spurt on the northern fringes of the city, but even in the 1980s, when drought brought grief to the land, the pain was felt through much of the city.

Agriculture is still important -- particularly when one considers it in its broadest aspects, with the global reliance on specialized farm equipment and fertilizer, two areas where Saskatoon is a world player -- but most Saskatoon residents are well-insulated from the price of grain or the amount of rain.

Although natural forces helped with this diversification, much of the credit must go to civic and provincial officials, local business leaders and an unusually close relationship among these major players and people at the University of Saskatchewan who, since its birth, tailored its research and curriculum to strengthen economic opportunities.

Because of the lack of tall skyscrapers associated with large head offices, a predominant industry or the great confluence of government or administrative buildings, it's easy sometimes to miss the importance of Saskatoon's greatest success. That is providing the critical link in a growing number of disciplines, from farm machinery manufacturing to research in nanotechnology to providing expertise in space technology.

This diversification of expertise is unusual for such a small city as Saskatoon. In a column in Tuesday's Toronto Star, David Wolfe, the Conference Board of Canada's 2009 CIBC scholar in residence, pointed out that historically, larger cities have tended to have more diverse economic bases with innovative economies, "while medium and smaller-sized cities were more specialized in relatively fewer industrial sectors."

When those industrial sectors thrived, as was the case with the auto sector for decades, smaller cities such as Oshawa and Windsor could thrive and support a quality of life that was hard to match. The same could be said of Calgary with oil, through much of its first century, and Halifax with shipping.

But when those industries took a hit, the host city's economy would be threatened.

That can be the case even in very large cities. Toronto, with all its diversification, was still heavily reliant on the auto sector and other manufacturing. In his column, Wolfe suggests the current "reset" in the world economy, which has dealt such a blow to Toronto, is an opportunity for the city's leaders to reorganize policy-making in order to get business, social and political actors to focus on a diversified innovation agenda so Toronto can come out of the economic malaise stronger and weather any future storms.

It's an idea Saskatoon should steal.

Unlike Toronto, Saskatoon has a host of academic, civic, business and provincial leaders who are already pulling in the same direction. What this city is missing, however, is a formal mechanism to monitor successes, address failures and quickly adjust to opportunities or challenges.

Wolfe suggests the creation of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, which brought together many of the regional players to discuss a multitude of initiatives, is taking that city in the right direction. But such initiatives typically only come about in times of crisis and they fall to the wayside when times are good.

Kent Smith-Windsor, executive director of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, pointed out this trait exists here as well. The community (or, better said, communities) came together when they had to, for example, to land the Canadian Light Source or InterVac and when the chamber helped push city hall to develop a productivity strategy that is the envy of the nation.

But these efforts are ad hoc, opportunity-based and mostly kept informal.

Similarly, the U of S and the city hold regular joint meetings to discuss items of similar interest, but they are informal and closed.

Often there are great spurts of achievement that flow from these relationships. When the CLS needed more money to push the U of S's bid over the top, city hall stepped up with another $1 million. Similarly, as Smith-Windsor points out, when the InterVac initiative seemed to stall, city council again came to its rescue.

But because these initiatives lack the formality of regular and open meetings, quick changes in direction are often seen as retreats or, worse, conspiracies.

Such is the case, for example, with the renewed push to capitalize on Saskatchewan's strength in uranium, both in resources and research expertise. Also, the push to move the art gallery to River Landing is characterized by some as a backroom deal to disrespect the memory of Fred Mendel rather than a logical attempt to move past the immovable obstacle of a federal government that would never support a renovation project.

Sometimes the backroom dealing is essential -- such as when the city stickhandled past community activists, local and out-of-town bidders and three levels of government to land the St. Mary Community School project in order to help a seriously disadvantaged neighbourhood.

But the darkness has its costs. When the wrecking ball comes down on the oldest Catholic school in the city, a piece of Saskatoon's soul will die.

The problem with the informality and backroom meetings, Smith-Windsor points out, is the public often doesn't know the rules of the game or even what winning or losing looks like. If a win from having the CLS is seen to be making Saskatoon the only centre for nanotechnology and the Mayo Centre of Canada, then being a critical link in these areas is a loss.

That clearly is not the case.

If Saskatoon had regular open meetings with key stakeholders and the public, and included annual reviews of strategies, successes and redirections, there is no telling what could be achieved.

And there would be a lot less suspicion generated in the process.
© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix

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  #23  
Old Posted May 28, 2009, 4:04 PM
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An intelligent response to the above...

Inclusive decisions vital
The Star Phoenix May 28, 2009

Innovation can be about creating something new or solving a chronic problem in a new way.

As Gerry Klein notes in Open innovation council needed (SP, May 21), Saskatoon has shown remarkable spurts of achievements and innovation. While we all directly or indirectly enjoy the benefits, the current process of choosing a path for development predictably anoints winners and losers. We need to be innovative about how we live, work and make decisions together about what's best for the community.

Civic issues require more than backroom conversations and council chamber debates. Both are necessary for progress, but aren't sufficient on their own.

A strength of Saskatoon is the desire for civic participation. However, this city needs an environment that fosters dialogue and learning, so that informed decisions can be made on tough choices and use of resources.

We cannot be content with government-driven community consultation processes. Too often these leave a trail of unanswered questions and assumptions, and lack critical information and perspectives from some stakeholders.

Creating another council isn't the solution; it would become just another "in" group. If we are to learn from other communities, consider the model developed in Vancouver through partnership with Simon Fraser University.

The Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue was designed for meetings and conferences, and has a full range of supports, technologies and programs that facilitate dialogue and participation by all sectors on community issues.

Locating such a facility in the centre of Saskatoon would communicate a powerful message to the world and ourselves about who we are and how things get done in this amazing community.

Dennis Chubb

Saskatoon

© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix

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  #24  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2009, 3:09 AM
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Encouraging words from President Peter MacKinnon...College Quarter can't start soon enough.
______________________

Town-gown link enhances culture
By Gerry Klein, The Star Phoenix June 25, 2009

When University of Saskatchewan President Peter MacKinnon surveys the land south of College Drive between Cumberland and Preston Avenues, his face becomes uncharacteristically firm.

It's not the student athletes practising on the fields, or the people moving to and from the residences that he focuses on as he scans this block known as the Campus Quarter. Rather, it's the future that he sees -- a future that includes more residences, an ice rink to replace the dilapidated Rutherford Rink and, the piece that brings a determined glint to his eyes, a fine arts performance centre.

This, he says, is part of his mission for both the university and the city.

Lots of talk and planning have taken place over the last couple of decades on how to accomplish the important growth of the province, campus and city. Chambers of commerce and business groups have prepared reports, councils have proposed tax incentives, civic administrators have drawn up policy changes and planned neighbourhoods, and campus officials have developed complex and rigorous integrated planning schemes and set international standards. Even this newspaper has launched series of discussions about how to advance Saskatchewan's and Saskatoon's economic development.

When MacKinnon considers the need for a performance arts centre, it isn't only to provide needed space for the university community, but also for the entire city. It will also help enhance Saskatoon's already high reputation as a city of culture -- one that landed it among the top spots in Canada in a recent magazine comparison of cultural cities and helped acquire its bragging rights as a cultural capital of Canada a couple of years ago.

By the way, that designation was recognized again as recently as this week, when Federal Heritage Minister James Moore wrote to congratulate Saskatoon for its "long-standing commitment to the cultural development of its community and the inclusion of its First Nation population ... Saskatoon has explored its potential to grow as a creative city and to highlight its abundant artistic talents."

When the university, then the community and finally the province set out to convince the country and the world that the U of S campus was the logical place to build Canada's flagship research facility, the mission was accomplished by an unprecedented level of inter-jurisdictional and multi-group co-operation. So universal was the effort that internationally renowned researchers became convinced to move to Saskatoon after being regaled by restaurant servers and taxi drivers with minute details about the workings of a synchrotron.

What is unusual about MacKinnon's mission is that, in Saskatoon at least, it is all in stride to have a university president pondering a top-shelf development on Campus Quarter that will be at least as important to the entire city as it is to his institution.

In a city that continues to thrive in one of the most serious economic upheavals of our times, it is easy to lose sight of how unusual and fortunate is this connection between town and gown.


The university owns some 18 per cent of all the land within five kilometres of Saskatoon's core, including the block north of College Drive. In order to reduce infrastructure costs and lessen Saskatoon's carbon footprint as the city grows, City Hall has set increased population density as one of its planning missions; the university will play a critical role in that.


These various areas of interfaces between the university and city, from the cultural to the economic and social, have become so common that they are often invisible. In many ways, however, they are better than gold.

In explaining the increased number of six-figure salaried civic employees, City Manager Murray Totland last week pointed out that City Hall has to compete with the private sector and other cities for professional staff. But it isn't just money that keeps the cream of the crop in Saskatoon. Headhunters haven't been rare, either at City Hall or on campus, but a lot of top public officials -- including, no doubt, people such as Totland and MacKinnon -- remain in Saskatoon because of the cultural, social and intellectual advantages to be found in a city that shares such a close connection to a vigorous institution of higher learning.

- - -

Besides the congratulation from Moore and an award from the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association for Saskatoon's social housing program, City Hall also received recognition this week for its culture of openness.

The Government Finance Officers' Association of the United States and Canada awarded the City of Saskatoon its Canadian Award for Financial Reporting. It's the sixth time Saskatoon has won the award, and the second time in as many years. It was cited for its constructive "spirit of full disclosure."

As Totland told council Monday, this is simply a reflection of the culture of openness that has always existed in the bureaucracy.

Awards are nice, but sometimes action is even more impressive. Twice during Monday's council meeting, this commitment to openness was discreetly demonstrated -- both times by City Clerk Janice Mann, who also serves as the city's privacy commissioner, information officer and electoral officer.

When council was asked if a camera would be installed in a new recycling centre on Primrose Drive, she pointed out that, to protect people's right to privacy, the city only installs security cameras when there is no other option to offer personal protection. That need hasn't been demonstrated at the Primrose site.

But in a more telling incident, Mann, who I have known to take her responsibilities seriously from the day she took office, reacted immediately when she thought she saw a citizen being denied access to council chambers.

A man with a long beard and disorderly hair, dressed in an old sweatshirt, faded jeans and running shoes without socks, was quietly questioned by a new security guard and sent away.

Mann quickly sent her assistant to instruct the guard to go after the man and make it clear that he has the right to see his local government in action.

It was an act that escaped the notice of most, but said more about Saskatoon's culture than any award or national recognition.

© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix

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______________________

Here's one for ya, what if the City of Saskatoon and the U of S merged and became one entity, what would that look like...this is more of a thought experiment on my part. What are the practical advantages and disadvantages, structure of government, operations... (curious wondering is what I do best).

For now we will keep em' close together
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  #25  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2009, 5:35 AM
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^^ lol might work for building a heavy reaserch and development community that relies heavly on new minds from the school
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  #26  
Old Posted Aug 27, 2009, 2:51 PM
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A nicely time article considering the bit in the Star Phoenix yesterday. I particularly like the reference to tear down suburbs in the U.S. at the end...

Planet S NEWS · AUG 27 2009

Planning For The People
RENOWNED URBAN DESIGN EXPERT URGES CITIES TO PRIORITIZE HUMANS, NOT CARS
by William D. O’Dell

JAN GEHL
August 31 and September 1
Frank & Ellen Remai Arts Centre

“My philosophy is that we should be very conscious of people, and build from the people — who are made by nature to be a walking animal — outward,” says Jan Gehl from roughly one-third the way around the world, munching on a roll and drinking tea at 8 a.m. in Denmark (midnight here in Saskatoon).

Gehl is a world-renowned architect, urban design consultant, teacher, author and leader — and, many would say, a true visionary. Without a doubt, those outside of the urban design community have probably never heard of the Copenhagen resident, who holds international honorary fellowships from the British, American and Canadian Institutes of Architecture — but mention his name in progressive planning circles and you’ll be met with the same type of excited squeals that 14-year-old girls reserve for the Jonas Brothers.

Gehl’s presentations on August 31 and September 1 at the Frank & Ellen Remai Arts Centre in the Persephone Theatre will mark the first time he’s visited Saskatoon. However, he’s taught in numerous colleges across the world, and has worked with city councils across the world in cities like New York, Copenhagen, London, Melbourne, Sydney and Seattle.

While most of those major metropolitan areas have much larger land bases (and therefore, larger planning and architectural issues) than Saskatoon, Gehl notes that he’s also worked with many cities of about the same size and climate — and he argues that, regardless of a given city’s size or population, urban design should centre on humans, and how to utilize space on a human scale.

Gehl, like some other contemporaries from the 1960s and 1970s, believes that cities need to worry more about walkers and bikers than about the supposedly all-important automobile. His overall philosophy on urban design revolves around how cities can be improved from the point of view of the people who actually inhabit them.

“Modernistic planning completely overlooks the fact that people want to use the space around them — [and] the automobile has squeezed the life out of cities,” he says.

“What I’m working on is a counter-movement to what we have seen all over the world in the last 50 years — making automobiles happy has been the major concern for cities over [that time].”

New York City is just one example of a North American city that has this problem. Gehl says that when the city’s mayor contacted his firm in 2007, roughly a million cars were moving in and out of Manhattan Island each day. The mayor’s PlaNYC Initiative is a 20-year vision for a “greener, greater NYC,” in which the Big Apple would become the greenest metropolis in the world.

(New York has already started work on improvements that have been used throughout the world and espoused by Gehl — include shutting down certain intersections to make traffic flow better, the most noticeable of those being in Times Square.)

For most North American cities, the major deterrents to people-based planning are either suburban sprawl or — as is most definitely the case in Saskatoon — weather, both of which lead to the predominance of car culture. Gehl, however, believes that overcoming the latter, even in a cold-weather country like Canada, is entirely possible — if planners are willing to focus on the positive, rather than the negative.

“One has to have a balance between winter and summer — [but] I would be generally focused on the good days, which are the majority of days, instead of having city planning focused on the relatively few bad days.”

Indeed, Gehl believes that despite our long history of enduring the elements, the ability of Canadians to live with winter is less developed than in Finland, for example.

“I’ve always thought [Canadians] have been not focused on relieving the climate — they have always been focused on getting out of the climate,” he said about Canadians.

In terms of relieving the climate, Gehl notes that cafés and street-side vendors that offer their services to pedestrians every day of the year are springing up even in cold-weather cities, thanks to advances in climate control such as special lighting and heating techniques — all energy efficient — or even things as simple as screens for wind or blankets for chairs. In Copenhagen, for example, where for years no such sidewalk cafés existed, there are now about 7,000, he says.

While weather is tricky but not impossible to overcome in terms of creating people-friendly cities, combating suburban sprawl is far simpler, says Gehl — simply put, don’t give into it in the first place, especially as North America’s fixation with suburban living is clearly on the way out in many cities across the continent, he says.

“We want the cities to take much more care of the people who use the city — we want them to invite people to walk,” he adds. “I think it’s interesting that they are tearing down suburbs in some American cities, because they realize that no one wants to live in them anymore — it was only because we had 50 years of cheap gasoline that we had the sprawl.”

By addressing the issue of sprawl and human scale, cities will become livelier, more sustainable, safer and definitely healthier, says Gehl — but taking the necessary steps to achieve this takes courage and vision from those in charge.

“When I have looked at the cities where I’ve worked, the leadership has been very evident,” he says.

One hopes that Gehl’s pair of presentations will inspire similar vision and leadership from those who run the City of Saskatoon.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2009, 7:00 PM
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Originally Posted by molasses View Post

In terms of relieving the climate, Gehl notes that cafés and street-side vendors that offer their services to pedestrians every day of the year are springing up even in cold-weather cities, thanks to advances in climate control such as special lighting and heating techniques — all energy efficient — or even things as simple as screens for wind or blankets for chairs. In Copenhagen, for example, where for years no such sidewalk cafés existed, there are now about 7,000, he says.
Hmm, according to this site: http://www.myforecast.com/bin/climat...04&metric=true the average temperature in Copenhagen through December/January/February is around 1°C and the Record lowest temperature is -18°C. Is there a better example of a city with a winter climate closer to ours? I'm kind of skeptical of a sidewalk cafe working with a windchill of -45°C, even with windscreen or a blanket for your chair heh.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Wyku View Post
Hmm, according to this site: http://www.myforecast.com/bin/climat...04&metric=true the average temperature in Copenhagen through December/January/February is around 1°C and the Record lowest temperature is -18°C. Is there a better example of a city with a winter climate closer to ours? I'm kind of skeptical of a sidewalk cafe working with a windchill of -45°C, even with windscreen or a blanket for your chair heh.
Yes, that shows the utter disconnect between Gehl, and similar "walking biking" thinkers, and the reality of life in Saskatoon. My other favourites from that article:

"""
“One has to have a balance between winter and summer — [but] I would be generally focused on the good days, which are the majority of days, instead of having city planning focused on the relatively few bad days.”
"""

Not in Saskatoon.


"""
“I’ve always thought [Canadians] have been not focused on relieving the climate — they have always been focused on getting out of the climate,” he said about Canadians.
"""

"""
In terms of relieving the climate, Gehl notes that cafés and street-side vendors that offer their services to pedestrians every day of the year are springing up even in cold-weather cities, thanks to advances in climate control such as special lighting and heating techniques — all energy efficient — or even things as simple as screens for wind or blankets for chairs. In Copenhagen, for example, where for years no such sidewalk cafés existed, there are now about 7,000, he says.
"""

Let us invite Gehl back on Jan. 15th. and he can sit outside on 2nd Avenue with a wind screen and chair blanket. Someone can pick up his corpse later (using an energy efficient method, of course).
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Old Posted Aug 31, 2009, 5:16 PM
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[QUOTE=molasses;4427161]A nicely time article considering the bit in the Star Phoenix yesterday. I particularly like the reference to tear down suburbs in the U.S. at the end...

Planet S NEWS · AUG 27 2009

Planning For The People
RENOWNED URBAN DESIGN EXPERT URGES CITIES TO PRIORITIZE HUMANS, NOT CARS
by William D. O’Dell

JAN GEHL
August 31 and September 1
Frank & Ellen Remai Arts Centre

I plan on going to this,
anyone know how much, and at what time it is at?
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Old Posted Aug 31, 2009, 6:18 PM
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This should help you out. Jan Gehl

Events in the College of Arts & Science


Jan Gehl in Saskatoon: Liveable, Sustainable Cities Symposium

August 31, 2009 to September 1, 2009


Jan Gehl in Saskatoon: Healthy, Liveable, Sustainable Cities Symposium, sponsored in part by the Regional and Urban Planning Program (RUP), will take place on August 31–September 1, 2009. The symposium features the following two lectures by the renowned Danish architect and urban design consultant Jan Gehl, both of which are open to the public:
Presentation Part I: Monday, August 31 at 7:30,
Presentation Part II: Tuesday, September 1 at 7:30
Frank & Ellen Remai Arts Centre, 100 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon
Tickets: www.picatic.com
per presentation: Students $7, Public $12
package for both presentations: Students $12, Public $22


Last edited by Jerry; Aug 31, 2009 at 6:33 PM. Reason: added poster
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  #31  
Old Posted Aug 31, 2009, 6:18 PM
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[QUOTE=EarlyByrdProductions;4433389]
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Originally Posted by molasses View Post
A nicely time article considering the bit in the Star Phoenix yesterday. I particularly like the reference to tear down suburbs in the U.S. at the end...

Planet S NEWS · AUG 27 2009

Planning For The People
RENOWNED URBAN DESIGN EXPERT URGES CITIES TO PRIORITIZE HUMANS, NOT CARS
by William D. O’Dell

JAN GEHL
August 31 and September 1
Frank & Ellen Remai Arts Centre

I plan on going to this,
anyone know how much, and at what time it is at?
It's $12 for students for both days, maybe $16 for non-students. Doors open at 645, presentation at 730.
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  #32  
Old Posted Aug 31, 2009, 7:27 PM
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It appears to be sold out.
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  #33  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2009, 4:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry View Post
This should help you out. Jan Gehl

Events in the College of Arts & Science


Jan Gehl in Saskatoon: Liveable, Sustainable Cities Symposium

August 31, 2009 to September 1, 2009


Jan Gehl in Saskatoon: Healthy, Liveable, Sustainable Cities Symposium, sponsored in part by the Regional and Urban Planning Program (RUP), will take place on August 31–September 1, 2009. The symposium features the following two lectures by the renowned Danish architect and urban design consultant Jan Gehl, both of which are open to the public:
Presentation Part I: Monday, August 31 at 7:30,
Presentation Part II: Tuesday, September 1 at 7:30
Frank & Ellen Remai Arts Centre, 100 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon
Tickets: www.picatic.com
per presentation: Students $7, Public $12
package for both presentations: Students $12, Public $22

I ended up getting a ticket from a friend.
Really nice presentation and Jan has a great sense of humour.
It did drag on a bit though by the end when he kept trying to reinforce his point on why bicycles should be the main transportation in cities.

A couple quick points and ideas:

He started out noting he finished school in the 60's, what he calls the worst period of architecture design ever. Focused on bold models where it looks nice from a plane but no studies ever went into how people interact with these new highrises and landmarks. (He likes to call Dubai, a city of Giant Perfume Bottles)

Our current obsession about the car, cities are built around the car and not people. Cars are made more and more visible (driving, parking) and people more and more INvisible.

Every city has a Traffic board and planning committee with ample data and statistics on everything regarding cars and traffic. Until recently nearly NO city had any data on pedestrians and people traffic with in cities!
Data is key to pushing the necessity of more people places.

A great public space is defined by history as being:
1) gathering space (socialize)
2) market place (trade goods/ services)
3) connecting link (to other parts of the city)

Ex. Venice streets and spaces still function with all 3

Most current North American Cities only focus on the 3rd function.

Questions did arise later (which everyone was thinking) about how to convince a population obsessed with the car to switch to public transit or bicycle when it is -40 below. (He had an example of Dane's using their bikes still in their winter but it doesn't get as cold there)

He pushed to still focus on the good days and that Saskatoon still has many more good days than Danemark, even though it gets colder here.
An interesting point he had was his confusion over why Calgary and Montreal are building subways to be rid of a couple bad months when they are losing all the good days as well hiding underground. He likes bikes!

It was great to see a fullhouse last night and should be another good talk tonight. It still is a bit of a utopia but at least the ideas are out there and we are starting to build our architecture around people now.
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  #34  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2009, 7:09 PM
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Questions did arise later (which everyone was thinking) about how to convince a population obsessed with the car to switch to public transit or bicycle when it is -40 below. (He had an example of Dane's using their bikes still in their winter but it doesn't get as cold there)

He pushed to still focus on the good days and that Saskatoon still has many more good days than Danemark, even though it gets colder here.
I still think this is a poor argument. I'd be interested to have him come back and make this presentation in the middle of February and try to get people not to laugh when he says this--the turnout would probably be less as well with people saying it's too cold to go out lol . He does have some interesting thoughts on other things from the sounds of it though.
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Old Posted Sep 1, 2009, 7:48 PM
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I still think this is a poor argument. I'd be interested to have him come back and make this presentation in the middle of February and try to get people not to laugh when he says this--the turnout would probably be less as well with people saying it's too cold to go out lol . He does have some interesting thoughts on other things from the sounds of it though.
This argument always interests me. Unfortunately I couldn't make the talk last night (hopefully I'll make it to tonights), so I can't speak to what Jan said, but the argument against more public space, bike lanes & transit oriented planning due to a the cold months doesn't seem to make much sense to me. It seems like you are proposing to plan for 2-3 months of the year at the expense of the other 9 or 10 months of the year.

Obviously everyone won't ride their bikes year around, but we still have more days that people can be outside and people do want to be outside in nice public spaces (look at the farmer's market...it fits with everything Jan Gehl suppors and it's a huge success, even in the winter) and even in the dead of winter, in the core neighbourhoods/downtown people still walk, even it's just a few blocks from the office to a restaurant etc, so having well designed pedestrian spaces that do have some protection for the weather would be a positive thing, which during the warm months will be used by everyone, because you will have people driving in from the suburbs to enjoy a day in a more urban environment (again look at the farmer's market).

Wyku, what proposals of Jan's do you see as something that would be a negative development for Saskatoon? I think it doesn't have to be argued that people won't sit outside for coffee in mid-january (though I do have to say, I spent Christmas in Poland one year and we did sit outside on a heated patio in -20 on new years eve for some barbeque and beer...in the right place, with the right culture/design it can work), but of Jan's proposals, what would actually be something that wouldn't benefit Saskatoon for the majority of the year or maybe what would act as a barrier to whatever type of development you would like to see?
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  #36  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2009, 7:54 PM
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"It's cold here" is just short hand for "I like the current living arrangment regardless of its impact on the social and ecological environemnt and don't want to change".
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  #37  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2009, 8:03 PM
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"It's cold here" is just short hand for "I like the current living arrangment regardless of its impact on the social and ecological environemnt and don't want to change".
ha! likely true...sometimes I just hope there is more to people arguments...
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  #38  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2009, 9:19 PM
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This argument always interests me. Unfortunately I couldn't make the talk last night (hopefully I'll make it to tonights), so I can't speak to what Jan said, but the argument against more public space, bike lanes & transit oriented planning due to a the cold months doesn't seem to make much sense to me. It seems like you are proposing to plan for 2-3 months of the year at the expense of the other 9 or 10 months of the year.

Obviously everyone won't ride their bikes year around, but we still have more days that people can be outside and people do want to be outside in nice public spaces (look at the farmer's market...it fits with everything Jan Gehl suppors and it's a huge success, even in the winter) and even in the dead of winter, in the core neighbourhoods/downtown people still walk, even it's just a few blocks from the office to a restaurant etc, so having well designed pedestrian spaces that do have some protection for the weather would be a positive thing, which during the warm months will be used by everyone, because you will have people driving in from the suburbs to enjoy a day in a more urban environment (again look at the farmer's market).

Wyku, what proposals of Jan's do you see as something that would be a negative development for Saskatoon? I think it doesn't have to be argued that people won't sit outside for coffee in mid-january (though I do have to say, I spent Christmas in Poland one year and we did sit outside on a heated patio in -20 on new years eve for some barbeque and beer...in the right place, with the right culture/design it can work), but of Jan's proposals, what would actually be something that wouldn't benefit Saskatoon for the majority of the year or maybe what would act as a barrier to whatever type of development you would like to see?
I'm not against the ideas, I just find that argument a little silly. Simply stating "Well the Danes ride their bikes in winter, it can work here" doesn't make it an easy feat to get across to people, especially when a little research is made into the fairly stark contrasts towards the definition of "winter" when talking about temperatures and snowfall.
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  #39  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2009, 9:25 PM
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"It's cold here" is just short hand for "I like the current living arrangment regardless of its impact on the social and ecological environemnt and don't want to change".
A great comment from someone in the crowd yesterday was,
"I bike all year and I much prefer biking in Saskatoon with -20 and the sun shining then to +5 and constant rain in Vancouver."
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Old Posted Sep 1, 2009, 9:29 PM
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It's not just about biking everywhere, like bike lanes on circle drive would fix the problem.

Biking from Stonebridge to downtown is an improvement over a car but doesn't change the fact that the density in Stonebridge is too low and there is no easy, non-vehicle access to basic services.

I get that people like 2500 sqft houses and big back yards.

I bet deep fried bacon tastes real good but it's probably not a good idea either.
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