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  #201  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 2:14 AM
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Originally Posted by bsenka View Post
What other cities do is irrelevant. Those places already exist if that's the kind of city people want to live in.

I still have not heard a single argument as to why downtown needs to be anything other than offices and through traffic. People think it's self-evident that those are bad things, but they provide no rationale as to why.
There's aiming low, and then there's this guy.
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  #202  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 2:27 AM
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You could MAYBE make that argument if any three of the other areas were properly/fully developed.
If anything, the Forks is already over-developed. Too much stuff and too many people for the space.

Your definition of developed seems to be not having parking. Corydon and Osborne would be in much worse shape if they didn't have parking. If anything it's the scarcity of the parking that holds them back.

Downtown is not much different in that respect -- if we had a lot more parking we'd get more people there.


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Originally Posted by buzzg View Post
Contrast that to other cities: when you want to go out to a few places in Minneapolis, you go to Uptown; Saskatoon, you go Downtown.
I go to those cities a lot, especially Minneapolis. Uptown isn't even on the list of "must see" places. Most visitors are there for the Mall, Valleyfair, the Target Centre, the Science Museum, etc... all things that are nowhere near Uptown and that require a car to get between. The real "city centre" for visitors to MSP is Bloomington, that's why there are so many hotels there. Hotels with lots of free parking.
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  #203  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 2:37 AM
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There's aiming low, and then there's this guy.
I'm aiming high, just not in Downtown Winnipeg. People prefer other parts of the city, lets do more in those places instead of forcing them to go to a business district.
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  #204  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 3:05 AM
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  #205  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 3:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bsenka View Post
What other cities do is irrelevant. Those places already exist if that's the kind of city people want to live in.

I still have not heard a single argument as to why downtown needs to be anything other than offices and through traffic. People think it's self-evident that those are bad things, but they provide no rationale as to why.
I think you are defining a financial district, which is only one part of downtown. Commerce Dr and Nature Park Way fit your definition of downtown.

Maybe I was speaking to urbanism in general, regardless of neighbourhood. Urbanism is based on free market principles of land-use efficiency, and geographic gathering of firms within industries. But also on social interaction.

But it's an ideal and not always realistic or practical. I understand, I think. It's probably just personal preference; I just prefer dense urban environments. So there is your argument, my personal preference and the opportunity to provide others to make that choice.
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  #206  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 5:22 AM
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It's probably just personal preference; I just prefer dense urban environments. So there is your argument, my personal preference and the opportunity to provide others to make that choice.
That's a fair and honest answer.

It seems to me that it's the only argument that there is though. I read most of the articles that GarryEllice facetiously linked to, and they pretty much all came down to that same thing, an opinion that density is desirable.

If it's desirable to you because that's what you like, there's no argument. I'm wondering how it benefits the city as a whole to spend a lot of money trying artificially force people who prefer sprawl to accept density (especially the anti-car version of it).

Last edited by bsenka; Jul 30, 2016 at 5:25 AM. Reason: typos
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  #207  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 6:39 AM
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  #208  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 3:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bsenka View Post
That's a fair and honest answer.

It seems to me that it's the only argument that there is though. I read most of the articles that GarryEllice facetiously linked to, and they pretty much all came down to that same thing, an opinion that density is desirable.

If it's desirable to you because that's what you like, there's no argument. I'm wondering how it benefits the city as a whole to spend a lot of money trying artificially force people who prefer sprawl to accept density (especially the anti-car version of it).
I agree with you, maybe not 100% but at least 96%. Why don't people go back to first principles and ask themselves why exactly downtown development, density and all the other sacred totems are so important? If the demands of the Downtownists are so obviously justified, why can't anyone actually explain why, beyond hollering its slogans even louder or posting rolling-eye smileys? Why is one of the very few natural advantages that Winnipeg actually has -- plentiful space -- being tossed aside in dutiful obeisance to the Cult of Manhattanism?
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  #209  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 4:20 PM
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  #210  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 4:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy6 View Post
I agree with you, maybe not 100% but at least 96%. Why don't people go back to first principles and ask themselves why exactly downtown development, density and all the other sacred totems are so important? If the demands of the Downtownists are so obviously justified, why can't anyone actually explain why, beyond hollering its slogans even louder or posting rolling-eye smileys? Why is one of the very few natural advantages that Winnipeg actually has -- plentiful space -- being tossed aside in dutiful obeisance to the Cult of Manhattanism?
So suburban sprawl is a good thing? That's a perfectly valid position, albeit one that few urbanists would take. But it's completely disingenuous to suggest that the only arguments against sprawl involve "hollering slogans". There's a ton of literature on this. Anyone who wants to know "why" is free to go and educate themselves.
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  #211  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 4:51 PM
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If you want to live in sprawl, that's fine — but your taxes should match the higher pricetag for municipal services and infrastructure that comes along with that.
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  #212  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 5:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy6 View Post
I agree with you, maybe not 100% but at least 96%. Why don't people go back to first principles and ask themselves why exactly downtown development, density and all the other sacred totems are so important? If the demands of the Downtownists are so obviously justified, why can't anyone actually explain why, beyond hollering its slogans even louder or posting rolling-eye smileys? Why is one of the very few natural advantages that Winnipeg actually has -- plentiful space -- being tossed aside in dutiful obeisance to the Cult of Manhattanism?
I'll respond to you because you're smart and aren't basing a position on your own personal ignorance, like bsenka is. But bsenka can read this too and hopefully learn something.

A brief survey of why dense, use-integrated cities are better:

Economics
A dense city with mixed uses offers the best access to the market of any form of development. Physical proximity to the market is a huge factor in whether people get to the market and participate in it. We use infrastructure such as trams and roads to collapse physical distance, allowing greater access to the market, thus growing the market. There is a strong correlation between building transportation infrastructure and economic growth. While roads are a great way to improve access to the market from many distant points, they are themselves a barrier to the market for anyone without a car. When we allow densities to lower in order to accommodate car access to the market, we're robbing those without cars of the access to the market that they would enjoy in a dense environment. For example, for all the noise our previous government made about CentrePort being an economic engine, whatever jobs it creates will be unavailable to the poor living in central neighborhoods, whereas a factory next to the rail yard is very accessible to those same people. Therefore, dense environments are better at lifting people out of poverty.

A dense, mixed use city also offers many more opportunities for spontaneous economic activity, and therefore make an attractive environment in which to invest. The aesthetic advantages of dense, mixed use cities also make them better magnets for investment. The notorious cheapness of Winnipegers is a result of Winnipeg being an unattractive place to spend your money. People who will spend the bare minimum on maintaining their city home will happily splash money into a high end cabin, for example.

Health

Obesity is a North American problem. It's partly attributable to the garbage diets that most North Americans partake in. It's also partly attributable to a sedentary lifestyle. Dense, mixed use environments can ease both causes of obesity, by giving people better access to the market--and, therefore, better food in greater variety--and by giving them opportunities for daily activity. I'm sure you've noticed that the poor of North America are disproportionately obese compared to their wealthier neighbors. Sprawl, and its accompanying food deserts are why. By allowing denser developments, we can solve a major health problem, have a healthier populace, and free up healthcare resources.


Social

People who live in dense, mixed use developments interact with people more on a daily basis. This fosters important social skills. Cars have a clear dehumanizing effect, hence the ridiculousness of road rage. Living isolated from other people denies people the daily opportunities to interact with others and develop valuable social skills such as language and empathy.

On a superficial level, the difference in socialization of North Americans compared to Europeans is obvious in crowds. Where North Americans become aggressive and agitated and require heavy policing, Europeans remain calm because being amongst people is something they're used to.

On a more meaningful level, this has an impact on crime. Besides the fact that dense, mixed use neighborhoods foster the kind of activity that keeps eyes on the streets and keeps people safe, better socialized people are less likely to become aggressive and commit violent crimes. This, again, frees up resources spent policing and imprisoning people, as well as leaving people free to participate in the economy.



So, there are some first principles. Winnipeg's plentiful space has a lot better uses than being parking lots and lawns. Like growing food, or being parks or allotments.
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  #213  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 7:05 PM
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I'll respond to you because you're smart and aren't basing a position on your own personal ignorance, like bsenka is. But bsenka can read this too and hopefully learn something.
It's not a matter of my ignorance, rather an amusement at the emptiness of your position.

•Economics:

Density does not create access. ACCESS creates access. Roads that can quickly and easily get you from one place to the next is what allows people to get the most out of their city. St. Vital, and Transcona, and Pembina, and Kenaston, and Polo Park are ALL local to you if you can get between them easily. Downtown is the least accessible because the roads are congested with too many choke points, and parking is a premium.

The economics of the lack of density allows for wide open spaces that would be prohibitive in dense areas. You can build an Ikea or a Costco (and provide all the parking for it) in the burbs, but that would be totally cost prohibitive downtown. You can have a huge lawn, a pool, and a double garage in the burbs, but that would be totally cost prohibitive downtown.

•Health:

A lack of density gives you wide open spaces with multi-use paths, parks, rec centres, golf courses, ski trails, hockey rinks, etc. Recreation and physical activity are what suburban life is all about. The more space you have, the more space you've got to be active.

Low density also has better access to healthcare. More suburban clinics and hospitals, and a good network of roads to get between them if one is busier than another.

•Social:

Interaction goes down as density goes up. People in lower density areas talk to their neighbours more and get involved in social-hobby clubs more often. They get involved in their community centres, they see all those people at all those recreational places over and over again, they really get to know all the parents of all those kids they are taking to all those activities.

Suburbs are like satellite small towns. People KNOW who their neighbours are. They have people over for backyard barbeques, partly because they actually have backyards to barbeque in, but also because they actually know who those people are to have them over.
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  #214  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 7:37 PM
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^

The theory of urbanism that you have just espoused predicts that dense cities like Montreal, Toronto, Boston, etc., ought to have poor economic outcomes (since the roads are extremely congested), poor public health (due to the lack of wide-open spaces), and dead social scenes (since high density minimizes human interactions, according to you). These predictions are all dead wrong. So there goes your theory.

The health point in particular is utter nonsense. City dwellers are thinner than suburb dwellers. All the multi-use paths in the world make no difference if your lifestyle revolves around driving everywhere.
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  #215  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 8:30 PM
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Pick your theory, pick your lifestyle. Southern California or New York? Personally I prefer New York, but a lot of people would take San Diego. Winnipeg to me is a bit in-between the two models. That is both its charm and its frustration (for advocates on either side who want to drive public policy).
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  #216  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 8:52 PM
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My two cents as an outsider who recently visited Winnipeg for the second time is that Portage & Main is a clusterfuck and very awkward and annoying to navigate through for the simple task of crossing the street. It adds to this feeling that, despite the lack of freeways (which is sort of a WTF in and of itself), Winnipeg is a city that appeals to the automobile first and foremost.

I'm sure seasoned Winnipeggers know how to traverse the winding hallways with ease. Everyone down there seemed to know where they were going and couldn't get there fast enough. The types of services below Portage & Main are definitely necessary and vital, especially to the business workforce, but could easily be kept as-is or moved above ground if the intersection removed the barriers and reopened up to pedestrians.
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  #217  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2016, 10:30 PM
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^There you have it. The outsider perspective is always the same: Portage and Main is stupid and should be open.


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Originally Posted by bsenka View Post
It's not a matter of my ignorance, rather an amusement at the emptiness of your position.

•Economics:

Density does not create access. ACCESS creates access. Roads that can quickly and easily get you from one place to the next is what allows people to get the most out of their city. St. Vital, and Transcona, and Pembina, and Kenaston, and Polo Park are ALL local to you if you can get between them easily. Downtown is the least accessible because the roads are congested with too many choke points, and parking is a premium.

The economics of the lack of density allows for wide open spaces that would be prohibitive in dense areas. You can build an Ikea or a Costco (and provide all the parking for it) in the burbs, but that would be totally cost prohibitive downtown. You can have a huge lawn, a pool, and a double garage in the burbs, but that would be totally cost prohibitive downtown.

•Health:

A lack of density gives you wide open spaces with multi-use paths, parks, rec centres, golf courses, ski trails, hockey rinks, etc. Recreation and physical activity are what suburban life is all about. The more space you have, the more space you've got to be active.

Low density also has better access to healthcare. More suburban clinics and hospitals, and a good network of roads to get between them if one is busier than another.

•Social:

Interaction goes down as density goes up. People in lower density areas talk to their neighbours more and get involved in social-hobby clubs more often. They get involved in their community centres, they see all those people at all those recreational places over and over again, they really get to know all the parents of all those kids they are taking to all those activities.

Suburbs are like satellite small towns. People KNOW who their neighbours are. They have people over for backyard barbeques, partly because they actually have backyards to barbeque in, but also because they actually know who those people are to have them over.
Everything you've written is demonstrably wrong. Like GarryEllice said, if anything you just wrote were right, the world would be exactly the opposite of what it is: New York would be poor, Americans would be thin, and Europe would have a higher crime rate than the US.

But that's the kind of poor analytical ability I'd expect from someone who thinks other cities are irrelevant. Thanks for confirming my first belief that you're just a wilful ignoramous and not worth engaging.
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  #218  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2016, 7:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bsenka View Post
What other cities do is irrelevant. Those places already exist if that's the kind of city people want to live in.

I still have not heard a single argument as to why downtown needs to be anything other than offices and through traffic. People think it's self-evident that those are bad things, but they provide no rationale as to why.
Please excuse the botchy quoting tags...

I hate to backtrack the conversation to this but...

From my perspective, part of the problem is that Winnipeg has never taken a strong stance in the last 100 years on how they want to develop Winnipeg's core. Let's look at other Canadian examples here; we have Calgary which has an office-heavy downtown, essentially you go to downtown Calgary to work which sounds like the vision that you have. Calgary throws in a few condos here and there to mix things up and bring a little more livability to their core but the foundation of their downtown is built on working in downtown. And then we have Vancouver with a downtown that everybody wants to live AND work in; and with the third largest port in North America, combined with stellar natural beauty, downtown Vancouver boasts being a tourist trap and a huge shipping hotspot in the western hemisphere. I say all this to point out that every downtown is different in some way and that Winnipeg, as a city, really hasn't designated what kind of a downtown we want to develop.

As for other cities being irrelevant... I 90% agree and 10% disagree lol. I only agree with you on the fact that I feel that Winnipeg needs to develop its own purpose as a metropolis in Canada. When the Fort McMurray fire occurred, which was a fire larger than some countries, they did need more fire equipment and I specifically remember that they called on Winnipeg for support because it was convenient to have the equipment shipped from Winnipeg. Also with the new Maple Leaf airlines (which, by the way is a Winnipeg-based company and I am surprised that there isn't a thread about this), they base themselves out of Winnipeg for the convenience of having access to both the East and West from our location. And I do feel that we have the advantage of being a city that can serve as a giant relay centre for the country for when Canada needs to store imports or exports for a certain amount of time or for when a city needs a certain resource fast. But that's just a little vision that I have.

I think that a big part of what has hindered our downtown development was the development of Office parks in the suburbs. From the vision that I quoted from above, I do think that Winnipeg is more likely to develop its downtown like Calgary; being a place to work. With more people working downtown there is usually spill-over demand for places to live near where they work, especially if there are no good transit options. And once you get people living in downtown again, new demands are made including livability, and transit, and the rest is history. If Winnipeg's downtown was a bigger tourist trap or a denser residential neighbourhood, its walkability score would be better but alas, we live in a city where most of the population is living in the suburbs and therefore we need to cater towards the majority population. And we are absolutely NOT one of the top places that international tourists choose to visit, when they think of visiting Canada. You cannot tell me that people outside of Canada would choose Winnipeg over Quebec City, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Victoria, Ottawa, or even Halifax. I don't think that tourism is our strong point. And yes I named Ottawa because they have a plethora of museums, art galleries, and a lot of historical locations that puts our efforts to shame (even though the HRM is amazing).

All in all, the (lack of) development in Winnipeg's downtown is no surprise and it's nothing new in history. It's just that Winnipeg developed different work centres (or nodes) all over the city, focused on its suburbs, and never invested in a vision which is my biggest criticism of the city. I wouldn't have a problem with a very spread-out city if its done right but Winnipeg has been waffling with this recently with the development of its half-assed "rapid" transit system, its hit-or-miss condo proposals, and lack of highway infrastructure (for a city as spread out as it is). I have only been a couple of times but the city of Phoenix, AZ comes to mind when I think of a very spread-out car-centric city that still manages to be lively. Yet Winnipeg is just not committing to a vision and it's flying by the seat of its pants.


Last edited by scryer; Jul 31, 2016 at 5:50 PM.
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  #219  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2016, 1:21 PM
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^There you have it. The outsider perspective is always the same: 7Portage and Main is stupid and should be open.
Good old confirmation bias. "What I favour is correct and what I do not favour is incorrect."

Polls state you are in the minority, the majority of Winnipeggers want the intersection to remain closed.
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  #220  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2016, 3:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bsenka View Post
It's not a matter of my ignorance, rather an amusement at the emptiness of your position.

•Economics:

Density does not create access. ACCESS creates access. Roads that can quickly and easily get you from one place to the next is what allows people to get the most out of their city. St. Vital, and Transcona, and Pembina, and Kenaston, and Polo Park are ALL local to you if you can get between them easily. Downtown is the least accessible because the roads are congested with too many choke points, and parking is a premium.

The economics of the lack of density allows for wide open spaces that would be prohibitive in dense areas. You can build an Ikea or a Costco (and provide all the parking for it) in the burbs, but that would be totally cost prohibitive downtown. You can have a huge lawn, a pool, and a double garage in the burbs, but that would be totally cost prohibitive downtown.

•Health:

A lack of density gives you wide open spaces with multi-use paths, parks, rec centres, golf courses, ski trails, hockey rinks, etc. Recreation and physical activity are what suburban life is all about. The more space you have, the more space you've got to be active.

Low density also has better access to healthcare. More suburban clinics and hospitals, and a good network of roads to get between them if one is busier than another.

•Social:

Interaction goes down as density goes up. People in lower density areas talk to their neighbours more and get involved in social-hobby clubs more often. They get involved in their community centres, they see all those people at all those recreational places over and over again, they really get to know all the parents of all those kids they are taking to all those activities.

Suburbs are like satellite small towns. People KNOW who their neighbours are. They have people over for backyard barbeques, partly because they actually have backyards to barbeque in, but also because they actually know who those people are to have them over.

Then Detroit should be a paradise to you
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