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Issue No. 166 | September 26, 2010

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Feature Stories

  1. BHN Editor Wins Jane Jacobs Prize
  2. Re-shaping the Debate about Conservation
  3. National Post: Heritage Debate
  4. NewsMcLatchy.com: Review of Roberta Brandes Gratz': The Battle for Gotham
  5. Windows Stolen from Building Site

Events

Windows Conservation for Historic Places
29 -30 September 2010
+ read


Riverdale Historical Society September Event
Tuesday, September 28, at 6:00 pm.
+ read


2010 Heritage Toronto Awards & William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture
Tuesday, October 5th
+ read


Endangered Places of Faith Roundtable
Thursday, September 30, 2010
+ read


Buckets of Colour at the Alton Mill
Saturday September 25th-October 11, 2010
+ read


Universities as City Builders: a panel discussion
September 29 2010
+ read


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1. Provincial Policy Statement 2005: Five Year Revew
Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

The province is conducting a review of the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005 (PPS). The PPS sets out the Ontario governments policy direction for land use planning and development. The PPS supports the provincial goal of strong, livable and healthy communities. We are asking for your input on how the PPS is working and whether any changes are needed to the PPS to protect provincial interests and to make sure that the PPS is adequately addressing emerging land use issues.

What is land use planning and how does it impact me?

Land use planning helps to shape how our communities look, feel and function. It helps to determine where homes and businesses should be built; where our parks, schools and community facilities should be located; and where roads, sewers and other essential services should be provided.

Land use planning helps establish a communitys vision and identifies development goals. It also provides guidance on ways to balance important social, cultural, economic and environmental concerns.

Good land use planning helps to make sure that:

* communities grow efficiently and in a way that respects the environment
* economic competitiveness is promoted
* opportunities for intensification and new development are available to meet a communitys housing needs
* adequate infrastructure and other municipal services are provided
* cultural heritage and natural resources are protected
* public health and safety is maintained.

What is the PPS and why is it important?

The PPS plays a key role in Ontarios land use An empty canoe on the shore of a lake with pine trees on the shore.planning system by providing policy direction on matters of provincial interest. It provides the foundation necessary to regulate the development and use of land.

The PPS applies province-wide and provides the policy basis upon which provincial plans such as the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Greenbelt Plan are built.

The Planning Act requires that decisions on land use planning matters made by municipalities, the Province, the Ontario Municipal Board and other decision-makers shall be consistent with the PPS. This includes, for example, when municipalities develop their official plans and zoning by-laws. This shall be consistent with standard ensures that the policies in the PPS are an essential part of making decisions on land use planning matters.

PPS policy sections

Building Strong Communities

The PPS provides policy direction to help build strong communities in Ontario through:
* the effective management and use of land to meet current and future needs
* the protection of employment areas and other policies to promote economic development and competitiveness
* the provision of a range of housing types (including affordable housing) and densities to meet the needs of current and future residents
* the availability of appropriate infrastructure, e.g., transportation systems, and sewer and water services, to accommodate projected needs
* the promotion of energy efficiency and minimizing negative impacts to air quality.

Wise Use and Management of Resources

The PPS protects Ontarios natural heritage (e.g., wetlands and woodlands), water, agricultural, mineral, petroleum, mineral aggregate, cultural heritage and archaeological resources. The protection of these important resources helps to ensure Ontarios long-term prosperity, environmental health and social well-being.

Protecting Public Health and Safety

The PPS protects people, property and community resources by directing development away from natural or human-made hazards (e.g., flood plains or contaminated lands).

Questions to consider

1. What policies of the current PPS are working effectively?
2. Are there policies that need clarification or refinement?
3. Are there policies that are no longer needed?
4. Are there new policy areas or issues that the Province needs to provide land use planning direction on?
5. Is additional support material needed to help implement the PPS?
6. Do you have any other comments about the PPS?

How do I participate?

We want your feedback to help ensure that Ontarios communities are strong and healthy, investment ready and our resources are effectively protected.

1. To review the PPS, please go to: ontario.ca/pps. You can also contact the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (see contact information below) to request a copy.
2. Review the questions identified in this pamphlet.
3. Please give us your feedback by October 29, 2010. The deadline to submit comments has been extended from August 31, 2010 to October 29, 2010.

You can submit your written comments on the PPS to:
Provincial Policy Statement Review
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Provincial Planning Policy Branch
777 Bay St., 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5

Fax: (416) 585-6870

You may submit your comments electronically by sending them to the following email address: PPSreview@ontario.ca or you may visit the following website and fill out the electronic form: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page7244.aspx.

Should you have any questions about this initiative, please call: (416) 585-6014 or 1-877-711-8208.

This is just one opportunity for you to participate in the PPS review and help improve Ontarios land use planning system. Please check the ministry website for regular updates on other opportunities for you to participate: ontario.ca/mah.
If you are interested in learning more about Ontarios land use planning system, please visit: ontario.ca/landuseplanning.

ISBN 978-1-4435-3335-5 (Print)
ISBN 978-1-4435-3336-2 (HTML)
ISBN 978-1-4435-3337-9 (PDF)


2. Five year Review of the Provincial Policy Statement 2005: Particpation of Heritage Community
Geoff Kettel

As noted elsewhere in Built Heritage News the Five Review of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) is underway.

Why is it important for the heritage community to participate in this Review?
In Ontario the municipalities are major players in land use planning and the Provincial Policy Statement is one of the major documents through which provincial policy direction is exercised. Unfortunately the current heritage policy in the PPS is weak, with implications for consideration of heritage by municipalities in planning documents and for decision-making by the Ontario Municipal Board of appeals of municipal decisions. This weakness has been noted by experts in the heritage field. For example,

The heritage preservation policies in the Provincial Policy Statement are so brief and skeletal in comparison with the other policies that they convey a clear message that heritage is a very low and subordinate Provincial policy. Michael Vaughan, in Built Heritage News, Issue No. 164, June 14, 2010.

Therefore the heritage community should take the opportunity to call for stronger provincial policies to protect and preserve heritage buildings, districts, and landscapes.
 


3. City urged to consider expert planner
Barriefield Village Association

A respected planner with 30 years’ experience in heritage conservation is highly critical of a proposal by the City’s consultants for 47 residential units in Barriefield and says it violates the Barriefield Heritage Conservation District Plan, local planning and zoning laws, and national and international protocols for conserving cultural heritage.

In a report delivered today, Wayne Morgan recommends that Kingston not proceed with the proposal to build affordable housing along Highway 15 in Barriefield Village. The proposal was made public by consultants hired by the City on August 9 and will be finalized and voted on by Council on September 7.
Mr. Morgan, who has considerable experience in heritage planning and administration, has appeared a number of times before the Ontario Municipal Board and is very familiar with the Barriefield property, states that the proposal does not comply with provincial policy issued under the Planning Act, Kingston’s Official Plan and zoning by-law, the Barriefield Heritage Conservation District Plan, the Ontario Heritage Act and national and international protocols for heritage conservation.


He was commissioned by the Barriefield Village Association (BVA) to provide a professional, independent assessment of the $250,000 report being prepared for Council by Kitchener-based consultants.


“The Barriefield Village Association (BVA) expects that the City’s consulting team will fully honour its commitment made at both public meetings that it shall make no recommendation to the City of Kingston that is not consistent with the Barriefield Heritage Conservation District Plan,” said Doug Morrow, spokesperson for the BVA.


“Much is at stake here. We are committed to protecting Barriefield’s unique heritage and Mr. Morgan’s report is unequivocal in stating that the consultants’ proposal violates that integrity,” said Mr. Morrow.


The BVA estimates that City and Department of National Defence easements for water, sewers and electricity, as well as a steam line which runs through the centre of the property from the CFB Kingston generating plant, take out about 38 per cent of the 13,500 square meters on parcel 2, where a seniors apartment building is proposed, and about 35 per cent of parcel 3’s 16,000 square meters, which would be the location of the remaining 15 dwellings in the proposal.
Mr. Morgan noted that the utility corridor on the west side of the property meant that the City consultants proposed the housing development be built right next to Highway 15, eliminating the green buffer to the village and necessitating a number of design features to block highway noise, with the result that the project contravenes heritage requirements as well as the principles of good planning.


“It is alarming that the City was apparently unaware of the 30-meter-wide steam line before the consultants brought the issue to public attention. There is even some question as to whether Council knew about the City’s own easements on the property. The $250,000 tab is a high price to pay for information that should have been known before the costly study was launched,” said Mr. Morrow from the BVA.


The Morgan Report also focused on the proposed development of a 32-unit senior citzens’ apartment building on the parcel of land adjacent to J.E. Horton Public School, which the Limestone District School Board has scheduled for closure in two years.


“Development of (this) parcel at this time may preclude the optimum development of the school site and (this) parcel and the potential to consider the relocation of underground services to more appropriate locations,” Mr. Morgan states.


The main theme of Mr. Morgan’s report is that the proposed built form of the apartment building and the locations and orientations of both the apartment building and the houses do not ‘respect the prevailing character of the District’ and do not comply with the Barriefield Heritage Conservation District Plan. The Plan takes precedence over other city bylaws, according to Mr. Morgan.
Mr. Morgan was also critical of the height of the proposed structures and such elements as garages placed in front of houses and street parking, which violates the BHCDP and introduces design elements more in keeping with a modern development than a historic village.


Mr. Morrow said he welcomes Mr. Morgan’s report and hopes both the consultants and City Council will give it serious consideration.


“Mr. Morgan’s professional opinion is based on many years’ experience in senior planning roles for the City of Toronto and as a consultant focused on heritage conservation. His advice is very important to Kingston and its taxpayers as City Council prepares to vote on the Barriefield development proposal.


“His input is especially important since our own local heritage watchdog, the Kingston Municipal Heritage Committee, was not given the opportunity to play a meaningful role in the process determining Barriefield’s future.


“We have always stressed that we recognize that eventually development will occur on some of the land now vacant along Highway 15. But we have insisted, and will continue to do so, that any development must comply with the Heritage Conservation District Plan and that Barriefield’s unique heritage be protected now and in the future.


“The proposal set out by the City’s consultants on August 9 at the public meeting in Memorial Hall clearly violates the Barriefield Heritage Conservation District Plan and calls into question our trust in elected officials to value and protect our city’s unique heritage.


“Spending so much taxpayers’ money is truly irresponsible when it could have been used for greatly needed affordable housing that can be built a lot more cheaply and quickly in areas of the city that do not have to conform to heritage laws, are more accessible and have services already in place,” Mr. Morrow added.

-30-
For further comment or information
Doug Morrow 613 542 9872
Christine Sypnowich 613 542 2549
On behalf of the BVA


4. Ontario: Yours to Discover
Catherine Nasmith

Our Car- loaded to explore Ontario
Great coffee shop in former school house, Burnstown, Ontario

Summer is a great time for exploring the wonders of Ontario. This year I had occasion to drive from Temagami down through the Ottawa Valley to Forthton. (A prize to the first BHN subscriber who knows where Forthton is.)


Along the way I tried to stop in as many local museums as I could and encountered some very helpful docents in Mattawa, and Eganville. Readers may recall that the previous summer I enjoyed Champlain’s Dream, so was hoping to find more of the sites that he had visited in his travels through Ontario. In Mattawa I learned that Champlain had turned here to get to Lake Nippissing, the French River and on to Georgian Bay.

One day I doubled back two hours to visit the Champlain Trail and Pioneer Museum in Pembroke. With Champlain in the banner I must admit I was expecting to find much more about him. There was a reproduction of his astolobe and a little about navigating in the 16th century, but the rest of the museum was devoted, as many local Ontario museums are, to the pioneering of that part of the province. It does seem like a missed cultural tourism opportunity to not offer some kind of linked curatorial overview for visitors travelling from place to place so that Ontario’s stories connect better from one museum to the next.


In Eganville I found out about the Opeongo Road that was a settlement route from east to west across the province. I also found out about the railway from Ottawa to Parry Sound, that had been the shortest route across Ontario for American travelers heading West to Minnesota, Wisconsin and beyond. Part of that railway is now a cycling trail near Parry Sound.


I don’t think I am alone in my love of travelling Ontario’s back roads, hoping to piece together stories of this place. What I have often wished for was a set of maps that actually mark out the original pioneer roads as an overlay on modern Ontario, with an accompanying guidebook to give background on dates, who opened the roads, what happened to them. The old railways and waterways would also be of interest to many.


If we encouraged people to explore early roads such as the Talbot Trail, The Dundas Highway, the Opeongo trail and others that I don’t know to name, we would link up some of the earliest settlements and buildings, and likely encourage regeneration along them. Such routes are often the best cyclists, another great way to discover Ontario. Perhaps the development of such guidebooks might be combined with some grants to the local museums to develop displays along particular themes.


One great example of an out of the way town that has been revived by artists is Burnstown in the Mattawa Valley. It is not much more than a cross roads, but has a great coffee shop/theatre, as well as three galleries in older buildings. There are hundreds of such potential successes all across Ontario, it would be a matter of better linking culture, tourism, and heritage….

Hey wait a minute, we have a Ministry that does just that!

Editor's Note:
In a lunch conversation with Richard Moorhouse of the Ontario Heritage Trust I discovered that such a map already exists but is out of print...and that the idea of creating themed links between different local museums is being explored. Hope all that bears fruit.


5. Threatened Properties in Milton
Marshe Waldie

Milton, the fastest growing municipality in Canada, is facing a major controversy over the imminent demolition of the 1850/1890’s St. Paul’s United Church at 123 Main St.


The church meets all of the criteria necessary for it to be designated by Milton’s Town Council. It has design value as a beautiful crafted example of an amphitheatre style church sanctuary, historical value having served as a focus of Milton’s religious, social and cultural life for nearly 120 years. It also has contextual value as a landmark presence anchoring the west end of Milton’s historic residential and downtown core. The Sanctuary features significant architectural exterior and interior features.

With a congregation of just over 600, the Church Council has decided that the building no longer suits its needs. Yes, the building requires maintenance and church requires roof repairs which they have raised money for, but they now want to put their resources toward outreach ministry. Less than 30 % of the congregation voted to pursue a development proposal which would attach a smaller multipurpose sanctuary to a 9-storey 105 unit life-lease building. In order to make this a profitable development, their developer has told them he will not proceed until he has a clean site to work with. The Church Council has applied for a demolition permit which will remove the sanctuary, the 1950’s addition and small house that may be the oldest building on Main Street.

This is a very divisive situation for our community. Our Town Planning Department has ensured that all the heritage protections are in place for designated buildings. However, lack of political will to interfere in matters of our churches has left us without the protection of our most significant heritage structures. The request for a demolition permit has brought the matter to a head just as we are entering a municipal election.

In the spring of 2009, a group of concerned citizens formed “Preserving Milton’s Heritage” committee, to work together to find common ground in our efforts to protect and preserve our Town’s heritage. Composed of members of St. Paul’s who want to save the Sanctuary, the Milton Historical Society, and Neighbours of the church, we have been researching and preparing for the submission of the church’s development proposal. We have gathered a petition, written letters to the local paper, attended Heritage Milton & Council meetings and been involved with the Town’s new updated Official Plan which has many heritage related aspects. We have a sign campaign in progress and an information tool kit to educate our Councillors and candidates. We will be asking our candidates where they stand on our Town’s overall heritage preservation. This will be an election issue.

Our problem is designation. We know designation protects heritage buildings but the Church Council is threatening to abandon the church if it is designated. We would appreciate suggestions, anything or anyone who could help save this grand gem? Letters of support about the value of preservation would certainly help and could be presented to Council as we move forward.
Note pictures of this historic church are available from our website

http://www.miltonhistoricalsociety.ca/Projects/St.%20Paul's%20Demolition/index

Marsha Waldie
President of the Milton Historical Society
16 James St.
Milton, Ont. L9T 2P4
miltonhistoricalsociety@bellnet.ca

 


6. Notice of Request for Proposals:
RFP#-10-36 Historic Railway Station Opportunity

The City of Burlington wishes to receive proposals for the acquisition, relocation, restoration, and re-adaptation of the historic Freeman/Burlington West 1906 Grand Trunk Railway Station.

The building has been moved from its original site and is presently being stored on timber cribbing at a temporary location. The successful proponent will be required to relocate this heritage resource to a new site, preferably within the City of Burlington. The building can be moved intact only if a very short distance is involved without roadway or railway overpasses as a consequence of its height. Otherwise, the structure must be disassembled, moved, and reassembled at a new site.

For more information about this opportunity, please visit the City’s website at www.burlington.ca/freemanstation

For further information about obtaining the RFP document, please contact:

Maria Tavares
Purchasing & Financial Services Assistant
Tel. 905-335-7600, Ext. 7710
Fax. 905-335-7663
Email: tavaresm@burlington.ca


7. City Zoning Proposal Flouts Heritage Commitment
Heritage Ottawa Press Release

OTTAWA, September 13, 2010 – Tomorrow, the City’s Planning and Environment Committee will vote on a re-zoning of Lansdowne Park that violates policy protecting the historic Horticultural Building and Aberdeen Pavilion and opens the way to demolish and move the Horticulture Building in order to make way for a parking garage and commercial development.

The re-zoning plan flies in the face of provincial policy requiring that a Cultural Heritage Impact Statement be prepared for any new development adjacent to a heritage property. If the CHIS finds that the potential impact of the development is detrimental to the heritage property, the new development must be re-planned to respect the heritage property. Since, to date, the City has not disclosed any heritage impact statement, the re-zoning appears to be a device to flout heritage protection legislation.

“Heritage Ottawa agrees that Lansdowne Park has been neglected for too long, and neglect is the enemy of heritage,” says David Flemming, President of Heritage Ottawa. “We have consistently supported the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park and many specific aspects of the plan. But Ottawa deserves enlightened development that showcases, rather than diminishes, the heritage value that could provide historic, aesthetic and commercial value to Lansdowne Park. This re-zoning plan ends all pretence of the City’s commitment to protection of heritage.”

A report to City Council in June had promised that no decision would be made on the relocation of the Horticulture Building until the successful completion of the heritage impact assessment. The historical overview prepared in February by the City’s heritage consultant, Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd., falls far short of what is required for such an impact statement. Heritage Ottawa urges the disclosure and public discussion of the Cultural Heritage Impact Statement before any discussion of re-zoning, in conformity with the legislation and principles of transparency. For anyone worried about the process the City is using to push the development plans, the PEC meeting on Tuesday is the last opportunity to launch an appeal of this development to the Ontario Municipal Board.

The proposed re-zoning would also constitute the City’s formal endorsement of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group insistence that the Horticulture Building be moved to convenience them in their commercial pursuit. “Relocation of a heritage-designated building is only considered in the rare case when a building is in physical danger from causes such as erosion or other environmental damage,” Flemming explains. “The inconvenience of its location to a private developer who wants to build a parking garage and offer more retail outlets does not come close to being a credible reason for moving the Horticulture Building.”

The claim by City staff and OSEG that relocating the building “would be a compelling way to preserve the building and re-establish it as a dynamic urban place grounded in, and reflecting its history” is spurious because this would hold true – and more so – in its current location. The only reason for relocating it is that OSEG wants to build on and under the present site. This is not a justification that would even be considered under any international and national standards and guidelines for the conservation of historic places.

Flemming called on Parks Canada, the National Capital Commission and the Ontario Heritage Trust, all heritage partners with the City in this development, to take public positions on the flouting of heritage principles. The more so, he says, because there is every reason to doubt that the Horticulture Building would actually be moved and restored successfully. There is a discouraging record of botched attempts to move old buildings or unforeseen budget constraints that have a way of cropping up to preclude completion of heritage relocation projects.

The City estimates the cost of demolishing and relocating the Horticulture Building at $3 million. This cost, to be borne by Ottawa taxpayers, amounts to nearly 9% of the $35 million budget allocated to the Urban Park component of the Lansdowne Limited Partnership. Flemming noted that one implication of the relocation would be that the Horticulture Building would never qualify for federal government funding as a national historic site and therefore would not benefit from the federal cost-share programme for restoration of heritage properties. The Aberdeen Pavilion, by comparison, has received $1 million of such federal funding.

“This is a travesty for taxpayers who do not want their dollars wasted on the unnecessary relocation of a heritage building, as well as for citizens who care about a culturally rich future for this city,” said Flemming. “They will see re-zoning as the official plan to put the developers before the voters. Heritage Ottawa urges members of the Planning and Environment Committee to prove them wrong.”

- 30 -

Contact:

info@heritageottawa.org

tel: 613 230 8841


8. BHN Editor Wins Jane Jacobs Prize
Catherine Nasmith

At a ceremony last week, Catherine Nasmith and the Spacing Magazine Team were both recipients of the Jane Jacobs Prize. Needless to say I was tickled pink by the honour, and it was very nice to share the day with the Spacing Team. 

http://spacingtoronto.ca/2010/09/14/spacing-receives-2010-jane-jacobs-prize/

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2010/14/c9624.html

http://www.ideasthatmatter.com/people/2010nasmith.html

http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/2010/09/15/  

Scroll down to "Toronto Built By K-Mart"

 

 


9. Re-shaping the Debate about Conservation
Catherine Nasmith

I attended the Heritage debate in Toronto and was struck by both the general agreement among candidates of the need for heritage conservation and also the difficulties the candidates had with understanding the language, and questions they were being asked. Heritagese is a language few speak and is not helpful to our cause.

For example all the candidates stumbled over the question of preserving cultural heritage landscapes, but all agreed that Heritage Conservation Districts are a great thing, and that we need more.

In an era where waste and economic decline seem to be the hottest topics on the municipal agenda....(at least here in Toronto), perhaps we need to ask our candidates some different questions. Some suggestions:

How are they going to stop the unbelievable waste of resources associated with demolition which accounts for 20-30% of all landfill? 

Do they believe that individuals should have the unfettered right to demolition, and its associated waste of resources?

Given that rehabilitation creates twice as many local jobs as new construction what are they doing to encourage re-use of our building stock? 

What are they doing to ensure there are affordable places for new enterprises in the community? 

What have they done to preserve the beauty left to us by previous generations?

What are they going to do to ensure the built legacy of our generation is worthy of the great society that we have in Ontario?

Such questions will get a different kind of thinking occurring around the value of our existing building stock, and as a by product make some different arguments for conservation of all resources, heritage included. 

Lining up a half a dozen volunteers at the mike at all candidates meetings to pose such questions would have a huge impact.  And you can easily set up web pages to let others know what the responses to such questions are. 


10. Globe and Mail: AGO agrees to talks for Serra sculpture
James Adams

Plan would see developer donate massive installation to art gallery in exchange for tax break, King township mayor says

The Art Gallery of Ontario has agreed to talks with a Toronto-based developer that, if successful, could make the gallery the owner of a large outdoor installation completed almost 40 years ago by internationally renowned New York sculptor Richard Serra.

Called Shift, the installation – six large concrete forms zig-zagging across rolling countryside in the Township of King, 50 kilometres north of Toronto – is on 68 hectares owned by Hickory Hills Investments, a subsidiary of Great Gulf Group of Companies. The fate of the work, completed in 1972 when Mr. Serra was 31 as a commission by Toronto art collector Roger Davidson on property then owned by his family, has been the focus of often heated debate for more than five years.

Hickory Hills/Great Gulf has plans to develop parts of the land for housing and other projects. While the company has indicated it has no intention of destroying Shift, it has for the most part resisted efforts to have the site designated a cultural or heritage property or to allow regular, unobstructed public access to it.

Details on the ownership talks are sketchy largely because Hickory Hills/Great Gulf approached the AGO’s curator of contemporary art, David Moos, only “a few days ago,” according to AGO director Matthew Teitelbaum. “I have not myself been involved in any conversation and we have no point of view on the matter other than we want what’s best for the sculpture and so we’re all ears. We’re waiting to hear what the proposal is and we’re waiting to see where it might lead. But we have no presumption about what the outcome might be,” he said on Wednesday.

Click here for Link


11. BlogTO: Harbour City Revisited
Derek Flack

Remembering Harbour City, Toronto's unbuilt town on the lake

When Rocco Rossi announced his fantasy tunnel earlier this week, it got me thinking about other grand Toronto projects that were proposed but never completed. There's been some dandies over the years, many of which are discussed in Mark Osbaldeston's excellent book, Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City that Might Have Been. From the Queen St. subway line to Metro Centre, had even a few of these been built, Toronto would be a considerably different city.

It's impossible to determine with any certainty which of these projects would have had the greatest impact on the city, but my nomination would be Harbour City.

Proposed in the late 1960s, the plan would have dramatically reshaped Toronto's waterfront. At the time, there was serious talk of relocating the island airport to the east end of the islands (near the Leslie St. Spit), which would have freed up the west end for urban development. But more than just a project involving the existing land on the island, Harbour City was to include mixed-use development on an additional 510 acres of artificial land.

Click here for Link


12. Globe and Mail: Woodlawn revived
John Bentley Mays

Historic Woodlawn, preserved and modernized

For many well-to-do politicians, lawyers and businessmen in early Victorian Toronto, the perfect house was a rural villa up Yonge Street, on the picturesque rise of land north of the built-up village of Yorkville, and far from the busy wharves, warehouses and immigrant tenements of Front Street.

Some of these people hired fashionable local architects, constructed and lived in their dream homes for a while, though almost all the mansions vanished when the once-expansive estates on which they stood were divided into small residential lots in the later nineteenth century. If these pleasant houses, with their handsome stables and orchards and gracious sociability, are remembered at all today, it’s because they have left a trace in the names of streets and neighbourhoods such as Summerhill, Farnham, Humewood and Rathnelly.

But at least one still exists. Last week, I visited Woodlawn, as this brick architectural survivor has been known since its construction on a 12-acre site in 1841. (Today, it is nestled deep among sturdy family homes built later along Woodlawn and Walker avenues.)

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The present owner has done a fantastic job....the care in saving the original detail is matched in all the new work.


13. National Post: Heritage Debate
Brett Gundlock

Mayoralty Debate over Heritage Conservation

The Toronto Historical Association, an umbrella organization representing heritage volunteer groups, and Heritage Toronto, an arms-length charitable organization that works with the city to preserve historic architecture.

The panel

Candidates Rocco Achampong, Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman and Sarah Thomson sat, and spoke, in that order. The debate was moderated by Paul Bedford, the city’s former chief planner and an adjunct professor of city planning at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University.

The crowd

Hundreds were gathered at St. Lawrence Hall’s Great Hall, underneath ceilings loftier than even the candidates’ rhetoric. Many in attendance were old. A surprising number were not. And the vast majority, in a show of hands, were downtowners. Advantage: Mr. Smitherman and Mr. Pantalone.

The issues

Last night’s disagreements were largely semantic. With respect to the broad strokes — especially the need to invest more in heritage and preservation — all candidates agreed. The Ontario Municipal Board, a provincial body charged with settling disputes between the city and developers, was also universally loathed.

There were varying opinions, meanwhile, on the long-discussed but never-built Toronto museum. Mr. Smitherman argued funds were desperately needed elsewhere, especially for transit. Now is absolutely not the time, Mr. Ford said. And Mr. Pantalone argued a Toronto museum should be approached as an investment in tourism.

The frontrunner

Rob Ford, it was clear, was not joined by the 40-odd per cent of decided voters on course to put him in the mayor’s seat. Mr. Ford won applause for promising to commit more resources to heritage (through re-allocation, of course, and not new spending), but lost the crowd after speaking out against the ongoing Nathan Phillips Square renovation. “Do you really want to spend $45-million outside city hall?” he asked rhetorically. “Yes!” came the crowd response.

The veteran

Thirty-year council veteran Mr. Pantalone had two of the night’s best zingers. First came this gratuitous dig at upstate New York: “We’d be an amazing American city like Buffalo or Rochester if America had won the war [of 1812].” Later, he exploited home-court advantage after Mr. Ford criticized the city’s plant-watering budget. “Heritage is keeping plants alive, so watering them is OK with me,” Mr. Pantalone said.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:It was great this was so well attended. The questions of candidates were a bit too technical for political discussion. I was gratified that Rocco Achampong commented on the debacle around the ruining of views of Queen's Park. The debate was very well covered in the mainstream media. All in all, congrats to Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Historical Association for putting this together.


14. Globe and Mail: Another Don Mills Modernist Building Over
Dave LeBlanc, forwarded by Geoff Kettel

Another modernist gem faces the wrecking ball

Street view, photo Dave LeBlanc
courtyard view, photo Dave LeBlanc

Canada Post is set to demolish the former Oxford University Press building on Wynford Drive. Why, asks the Architourist, can’t some visionary developer refashion it into a dazzling condo?

As my friend, North York Community Preservation Panel chair Geoff Kettel, suggests, Canada Post is about to pave (modernist) paradise to put up a parking lot.

Going through the approvals process right now, the demolition of the former Oxford University Press building (Macy DuBois, 1963) is “imminent,” says Mr. Kettel. Canada Post’s plan is to demolish the low-rise, street-facing building at 70 Wynford Dr. – which E.R.A. Architects labelled “high design” in the 2007 book Concrete Toronto – and save the anonymous warehouse portion at the rear of the site.

“In essence, Canada Post chose the wrong building to demolish,” writes Mr. Kettel in an e-mail.

Dave LeBlanc column for July 16, 2010. 70 Wynford Drive, Toronto, former Canada Post building slated for demolition.
I’ll say. But why should we care if another North York modernist building falls within a stone’s throw of where John C. Parkin’s Bata building or Peter Dickinson’s Inn on the Park once stood?

Because of the domino effect: I’ve seen it happen in residential neighbourhoods all over the city (think of Etobicoke’s Thorncrest Village or any of the formerly mid-century modern streets that run off Bayview near the 401 or Bathurst north of Eglinton), and I’ve seen it happen in commercial districts, too.

In 1999, when I first visited New Jersey’s blue-collar resort town Wildwood, it was a lost paradise of neon-drenched motel after motel stretching to the horizon. It was as if flower power, Nixon and Reaganomics had never happened and the Mad Men-era architects had just rolled up their plans and zoomed off in their rocket-cars a few years before. By the mid-2000s, however, fast-buck condo developers had moved in and changed the landscape forever with new, uninspired construction.

Click here for Link


15. Globe and Mail: Revell in Toronto
Lisa Rochon

Toronto City Hall: How Finnish architecture rebranded a city

Made modern: That was what happened to Toronto when it launched a 1958 international design competition and landed an emerging star of Finnish modernism, Viljo Revell, to design its futuristic City Hall.

It was an alien thing: a building of sublime concrete instead of Victorian brick; a building mandated by the sophisticated Nathan Phillips, Toronto’s first Jewish mayor, in a city dominated by a Protestant ethos. New City Hall was architecture that imagined something wide open and worldly for a collective consciousness. When it opened in 1965, the city was instantly rebranded.

Conceived together with his Helsinki teammates, Bengt Lundsten, Seppo Valjus and Heikki Castren, Revell proposed two curved tall towers of asymmetric heights that seemed to cradle the council chamber in a powerful embrace. It was as if a massive column of concrete scored with vertical fluting had been cracked open to reveal a civic surprise: a mushroom, a space ship, possibly a white pearl.

Click here for Link


16. Mississauga News - Heritage home damaged
Joe Chin, Eric Rogers

Heritage home damaged

In what might have been a deliberate act, the house where Streetsvilles first mayor was born was severely damaged  possibly to the point of being unsalvageable  sometime last weekend (Aug. 21-22).


Frank Dowling, who died in 1998, was born and raised in the bricked farmhouse, located at 2285 Britannia Rd. W. Hes renowned for being elected Streetsvilles first mayor when the village became a town in 1962.
Cause of the damage is unclear, but it likely involved a gravel truck unloading too close to the house, which, two years ago, was designated a heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act.


City of Mississauga Ward 11 Councillor George Carlson, chair of the Citys heritage advisory committee, was outraged by the news.


Its highly suspicious; you have to take a good run with the truck to do damage like that, he said.


Carlson says authorities, including the Citys bylaw enforcement department, have launched an investigation.


Those responsible could be fined as much as $1 million, if theres enough evidence, he said.


So far, nobody, including the owner of the land on which the house sits, has contacted the City about the matter.


According to Carlson, the parcel of land was approved for a small neighbourhood plaza a few years ago, but the project is on hold. The idea, he says, was to incorporate the so-called Dowling House into the development.
It could have been used for a professional office or something like that. Weve done it successfully a few times before  at the Roseborough Centre, for instance, he said.


The house was purchased by Dowlings grandfather, James Dowling, in 1886. It then comprised an existing large farm that included the Canada Brick lands to the north and the Credit Valley Railway junction to the east. Accordingly, it was called Junction Farm.


The house is a typical late 19th-century centre-gable farmhouse, with the gable perpendicular to Britannia Rd. After 60 years in the family, Frank Dowlings mother, Mary Alice Hepton Dowling, sold the farm in 1946. The subsequent owner subdivided it.


It was a typical farm building of the time; thats why it has contextual value, said Carlson. It would be a shame if it cannot be saved.

Click here for Link


17. Toronto Star: Canada Malting Demolition

A Toronto waterfront landmark is being torn down.

The city has begun a $1.8 million demolition at the Canada Malting complex on the western waterfront at Bathurst St. while preserving the silos as an industrial heritage site.

It’s seen as another step in enhancing the waterfront.

Two structures on the western part of Canada Malting, the germination and kiln buildings, are being torn down as part of an overall $12.2 million western waterfront enhancement project.

This demolition will last for several weeks.

Sometime after the municipal election, the city will develop a master plan to sell a portion of the site to private developers to fund parkland improvements and stabilize the silos.

The silos, built in 1929 and expanded in 1944, are in poor shape. Some people argue they are an eyesore.

Mary MacDonald, the city’s acting manager of Heritage Preservation Services, rejects that opinion.

“History isn’t always what’s pretty,” she said. “Our industrial history is a foundation of modern Toronto. The existence of the silos actually embodies that history. You just can’t put up a plaque that this was here.”

Click here for Link


18. Northumberland Today: Brighton School Going Down
T.J. LeBlanc

D-day looms for Brighton Public School

The walls that have housed Brighton area students since 1915 could soon come crumbling down.

During the Brighton council of Sept. 20, a tied vote found Councillor Dave Cutler's motion to encourage the Kawartha Pine Ridge (KPR) District School Board to find alternate use for the 95-year-old building go down to defeat.

"The key reason for recommending this is to make the point that we are community leaders and we would prefer that the school not be demolished," Coun. Cutler said.

During the discussion, he noted there other successful small communities, such as Bloomfield, that have embraced their heritage and history.

"There are visual signals that these communities have some history. You attract people to invest in your community because of a sense of place," said the Brighton councillor. "When developers see this rather large, impressive looking building, it immediately sends a signal that this community has deep roots."

Councillor Brain Ostrander hesitated to accept the motion given that construction on the new building has not yet begun and there is a possibility that further financial support may be needed from the Ministry of Education.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:I and others have written a lot about the flaws in the Ministry of Education's systems for evaluating existing school buildings....this seems to be a case where Ministry standards are actively preventing adaptive re-use of a community asset. There is something so wrong with this picture it is hard to understand why no one seems to see it. These problems have existed since the Harris government, McGuinty has had plenty of time to fix this.


19. Ottawa Citizen: Back off on building, city tells heritage trust - Provincial body told it has no power to stop relocation
MOHAMMED ADAM

The City of Ottawa has thrown down the gauntlet to the Ontario Heritage Trust, telling the provincial watchdog it has no power to stop the relocation of the Horticulture Building as part of the Lansdowne redevelopment.

PAT MCGRATH, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN The Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park, erected in 1914, is now boarded up and is being used for storage.

The building was erected in 1914. Its two-level front is in the Prairie style, designed by Francis Sullivan, the only Canadian student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The bulk of the building is an exhibition hall, an example of a style of architecture aimed at creating large open spaces for shows. Unlike the nearby Aberdeen Pavilion, which was built using similar technology, though, the Horticulture Building is boarded up and used for storage.

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20. Smitherman promises more protection for Toronto heritage buildings

Mayoral candidate George Smitherman says he will cut taxes for heritage property owners in a bid to get them to care about preserving the city’s history.

Standing a stone’s throw away from the corner of Yonge and Gould streets Monday morning, where blue and yellow tarp still cover the remains of a low rise brick building that collapsed in April, Mr. Smitherman called it a city “obligation” to protect its past.

He proposed establishing an “early warning system” that would single out properties that are at risk of neglect, and use fire, bylaw and building inspection officers to crack the figurative whip.

“We owe it to future generations that they be able to go around the city and not just look in picture books, but actually see those buildings which were built by people who first settled Toronto and helped it emerge as a city,” said Mr. Smitherman.

He wants to shuffle limited resources in the planning and heritage departments so that they start looking more to the suburbs. The city already offers a property tax rebate program to encourage conservation of heritage properties. Eligible owners are entitled to up to a 40% rebate on heritage portions of a property.

Mr. Smitherman also argued in favour of “community based planning” and held up the efforts in Councillor Adam Vaughan’s downtown Trinity-Spadina ward as a model for the rest of the city.

Polls show Mr. Smitherman in second place, behind Etobicoke Councillor Rob Ford, who has vowed to stop what he describes as wasteful spending at City Hall and cut the land transfer tax and the vehicle registration tax.

But, “people want to know how you’re going to protect their neighbourhood while building a city,” said Mr. Vaughan, who is also one of Mr. Ford’s loudest critics.

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21. St. Thomas Times Journal: Railway Station Restoration gets Boost
ERIC BUNNELL

Attraction gets boost

The president of Elgin County Railway Museum says his organization has gained traction with an announcement Tuesday of almost $260,000 in federal funding.

"Our years of hard work have not been in vain -even though I'm sure that some felt that we were spinning our wheels on slippery rails," George McNally smiled after Elgin -Middlesex -London Tory MP Joe Preston yesterday said the museum would receive $257,980 from the Sand Plains Community Development Fund.


"Hopefully, this bit of sand on the tracks will get us rolling."
The money will fund salaries of an executive director and support staff for two years, enabling the museum to move ahead with plans for development of the organization and its building.

Preston said the funding would help the museum become a year-round attraction, boosting tourism.

More than 60 people filled a corner of the museum's massive exhibit hall where Preston made his announcement from the commanding rear platform of a restored 1891 Grand Trunk Western caboose once used in international freight service between London and Chicago.

"I like this," he laughed. "I'm going to stand up here most of the day!" The Sand Plains Community Development Fund is a three-year, $15 million initiative established by Ottawa to help five tobacco-dependent counties in southwestern Ontario -Brant, Elgin, Middlesex, Norfolk and Oxford -diversify their economies.

Now in its second year, the fund provides loans to entrepreneurs, and grants to nonprofit organizations such as ECRM.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:All help welcome, but this seems a kind of back door way to support a heritage restoration.


22. Waterloo Record: Group wants to purchase historic train station from city
Melinda Dalton

Paul Puncher Mens Ware Ltd. has leased the old station on Regina Street from the city since 1997.

WATERLOO - The business tenants of the historic Waterloo train station are coming to council Monday with a more than $647,000 offer to buy the 100-year-old building off the city.

The sell or not decision is shaping up to produce a heated debate, with councillors on both sides insisting the city has an obligation to do the right thing. Depending on who you ask, that’s either preserve the city’s heritage and land assets, or uphold the intent of the agreement it entered into with the Puncher family more than a decade ago.

Paul Puncher Men’s Ware Ltd. has leased the old station on Regina Street from the city since 1997.

"We want to purchase the building because we love being a part of uptown Waterloo," said Scott Puncher, who took over the business from his father in 2007. "We moved our business here because we believe in uptown Waterloo and that’s why we made the significant investment in 1997 - to follow that path. We would like to operate here for many years to come."

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23. Wall Street Journal: Interview with Phyllis Lambert
Julia M. Klein

Joan of Architecture Speaks

from Wall Street Journal

Early afternoon sunlight pours into the conservatory of Shaughnessy House, a restored Victorian mansion with Grecian columns, ornamented plaster ceilings and marble floors. A little table is set, quite elegantly, for tea. The mood is calm, tranquil, refined. Then Phyllis Lambert strides in—still, at 83, a powerful, blunt-spoken and somewhat intimidating presence.

Ms. Lambert, dubbed "Joan of Architecture" and "Citizen Lambert," has charted an uncompromising course in the cultural world. "I don't believe in compromise," she says. "I think it's a terrible word."

The daughter of Samuel Bronfman, who founded the Seagram's liquor empire, this Montreal native chairs the board of the Canadian Centre for Architecture—a museum she launched in 1979. She is also a leader in urban planning and preservation. But she first earned a place in architectural history when she handpicked Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with Philip Johnson, to design the Seagram Building (1958) in New York.

"What was important was the plaza. It changed the design of the city," recalls Ms. Lambert, who is writing a book titled "Building Seagram." She describes it as "a cultural history of architecture and art—the alliance between the two—in New York" between 1950 and 2000.

The outlines of the Seagram story are familiar to architectural cognoscenti: How, at just 27, Ms. Lambert overruled her father's choice and traveled the country asking famous architects who should design the headquarters building. How she settled on Mies because of his generous praise of Le Corbusier, her emotional reaction to his 860 Lake Shore Drive building in Chicago—and the way other architects defined themselves in terms of Mies's achievement.

But how, at that age and lacking any architectural credentials, did she summon the confidence to override her powerful father and take charge of such a massive undertaking?

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24. The Economist: World Heritage Sites: Diminishing List

UNESCO's World Heritage Sites A danger list in danger

In its care for precious places, the UN cultural agency is torn between its own principles and its members’ wishes; the principles are losing ground

WHEN an archipelago famed for its flora and fauna is deemed to have escaped from environmental peril, that might sound like good news for anyone with an interest in the fate of life on Earth. But UNESCO’s recent clean bill of health for the Galapagos islands was greeted with dismay by many of the people who care passionately about the place.


The decision to remove the islands from the list of “world heritage sites in danger”—taken at a meeting in Brasília that concluded on August 3rd—was only one of several signs that the UN agency is bending its own rules under pressure from member states. And since UNESCO is supposed to be an unprejudiced protector of the whole world’s built and natural environment, such slipping standards are not merely of concern in remote Pacific islands.


But take the Galapagos case first. Since 1978, the 19 islands (each with its own idiosyncratic ecosystem) have been recognised as a place of “outstanding universal value” to humanity, and therefore placed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, which now number 911. The government of Ecuador is proud of the site’s inclusion and sensitive to any suggestion of poor stewardship. When, in 2007, UNESCO expressed concern about the islands, President Rafael Correa declared a state of environmental emergency and said he was ready to curb tourism. It was, and remains, clear why action was needed: the islands’ iguanas (see picture), tortoises and exotic birds are under threat from a noxious species known as homo sapiens, as well as creatures, from rodents to flies, which follow in its wake. Apart from an ever-rising influx of tourists, the islands’ resident population has grown in the past half-century from about 2,000 to more than 30,000, many of them illegal squatters.


Mr Correa’s move failed to pre-empt action by the Paris-based UN agency, which later that year put the archipelago on its danger list—one of the strongest signals it can send that the integrity of a place which matters to the world either has been, or could soon be, compromised. Depending on the circumstances, putting a site on that list can be seen as an act of solidarity with a country, or else as a scolding.


Ecuador felt that to stay on the list was a slight and lobbied to get the islands removed; by this year, when ministers (from a rotating group of 21 member states) convened for a world heritage meeting, it was clear that the Brazilian hosts had been won over. After a secret, contested vote, the islands were deemed out of danger.


All over the world, NGOs devoted to the Galapagos conveyed a similar message: yes, the government in Quito had done some helpful things, but it would be a disaster if UNESCO’s move suggested all was well. “I am concerned that [UNESCO’s] announcement is premature and may give the impression that the natural wonders of the Galapagos are no longer threatened,” said Toni Darton of the London-based Galapagos Conservation Trust.


Not all the decisions taken at UNESCO’s meeting in Brasília disappointed environmentalists. After another secret vote, a forest in Madagascar, where rosewood is being felled illegally, was declared in danger—despite the awkward fact that China is a big market for the timber, which takes a century to grow. And America, in a widely praised move, got the Everglades Forest in Florida reinserted on the danger list; it had been removed in 2007.
By declaring the alligator-infested wetlands in peril once again (because less water and more pollutants were flowing in), the federal government was giving itself an extra card in its dealings with other parties, from the local authorities to companies. Other cases where countries declared their own sites in danger have included war-ravaged lands like Croatia and Cambodia: in the port of Dubrovnik and the palaces of Angkor, a danger-listing attracted support for repair and conservation. “It’s a pity so many countries see the danger list as a slap in the face,” says Kishore Rao, acting head of UNESCO’s world heritage centre. “It can also mobilise help.”


But the hard fact is that danger listings, as well as inscribing sites in the first place, are getting infected by politics. At the Brasília shindig, some 21 new sites were added to the heritage list—even though the expert advice suggested only ten were eligible. Some countries, it seems, will not take no for an answer. China, for example, successfully nominated some wilderness in the south of the country, with subtropical forests and spectacular cliffs. The Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)—on which UNESCO relies for advice on natural sites—had opined that the bid was premature: not enough had been done to define the area and plan for its protection. But given that China had invested funds and prestige in the bid, a rejection would have been awkward, say people who went to the Brasília meeting. At least two other proposals for world heritage sites were so tied up with national pride that it would have been hard to turn them down: a village north of Riyadh where the Saudi royals originated, and an imperial palace in Vietnam where a millennium celebration is being held this year.


For man-made sites, UNESCO relies on advice from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a conscientious fraternity of conservation professionals. Its head, Gustavo Araoz, says that “we respect the UNESCO committee’s right to reject our views.” But as far as it can, his institution tells the UN body to ponder not just whether a site is nice or interesting, but whether it has been cared for, and will be in future. “We urge a renewed emphasis on conservation,” he sighs.


Why would it matter if UNESCO’s currency were debased? Well, it would be tough for countries who take the care of sites seriously, and for worthy Japanese who try to visit as many as possible. But as Tim Badman of the IUCN points out, graver matters are at stake. His agency talks a lot to mining firms who are keen to avoid sullying their name by harming places of cultural or ecological value. If the gold standard of a UNESCO listing is adulterated, such discussions lose their edge.


Meanwhile, UNESCO’s private competitors see the travails of the heritage list as symptomatic of wider problems. The New York-based World Monuments Fund has a “watch list”, and a programme of practical help with conservation, that carries no stigma, says a spokesman. Any individual in the world can propose a place for the watch list, so the process is not seen as a beauty contest, or a dunces’ parade, involving governments. And Jeff Morgan, of the California-based Global Heritage Fund—which provides intensive, long-term help at a limited number of sites—says UNESCO lacks the resources to monitor its ever-growing list of places, especially if they are vast bits of wilderness. Satellite technology has made monitoring (of forests, say) possible, but the Paris agency lacks the ability to use it. “If a firm had so little knowledge of the assets in its care, it would go out of business,” he said.


Imbued, even in its better moments, with old-world cultural pride, UNESCO is not about to become a corporation. But it could do one thing to enhance the credibility of its choice of sites and danger listings: its annual world-heritage meetings, including votes and the expert testimony, should be thrown open to the public.

Click here for Link


25. PlaNYC: Jan Gehl in New York City

Jan Gehl is Pulling New York's Strings

Behind Michael Bloomberg’s long-term plan for the city is a Danish professor and urban planner named Jan Gehl, who for several years has been quietly, if not slowly, guiding the remaking of New York.

Gehl is a legend in his field. Events at the Center for Architecture in the West Village are always well-attended, but Wednesday night there were, among other signs of something remarkable, a line to get in the door that stretched halfway down the block, overflow seating on the first floor that would beam the lecture from the gallery two floors down, and reserved seating for the press, almost all of which was occupied. I was sitting on an aisle on the far side of the lecture space, which has high ceilings, angular white walls and a concrete floor, waiting for the event to begin when people began to file into the space between the block of chairs and the wall—standing-room only for a two-hour talk.

Gehl was hired by the Bloomberg administration in 2007 to help implement PlaNYC, but public credit for the city’s efforts to increase bike traffic, among other initiatives, generally goes to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. His presentation was a reminder that strategies the administration has used—like removing traffic lanes to discourage driving—are in significant part a product of his life’s work.

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26. NewsMcLatchy.com: Review of Roberta Brandes Gratz': The Battle for Gotham
Mary Newsom

What urban 'renewal' didn't renew

It's tough to make a case that Charlotte's much like New York City. New York is the most densely populated place in North America. It has different politics, transportation, history, housing, stores, economics - you name it.

Nevertheless, some New York lessons can, in fact, translate into Charlotte lessons and I think what follows is one of them.

It starts with a book. I love books that change the lenses through which we see the world. For me, some of those have been Jane Jacobs' "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" and, overlooked and probably even more important, her "The Economy of Cities." Another is Tom Hanchett's "Sorting Out the New South City: Race, Class and Urban Development in Charlotte 1875-1975."

I'm now adding to my list Roberta Brandes Gratz' "The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs." (A bit of personal disclosure: I've known Gratz for years and I admire her work. I visited her in New York last weekend.)

Her book is partly urban observation and partly memoir of her life in the city. But the insight she offers that has resonance for Charlotte and other U.S. cities is this:

The post-World War II distress that afflicted New York and many cities - which began easing in the 1980s - relates to the start and end of urban renewal. New York began healing, she writes, only when urban renewal money dried up.

Gratz' observations - as well as Jacobs' - convince her that small businesses, and particularly small manufacturing, form the overlooked and underappreciated backbone of cities' economic vitality.

 

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/09/17/1700182/what-urban-renewal-didnt-renew.html#ixzz10O13pERg

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Editor's Note:Toronto has just passed new planning that will encourage the wholesale destruction of the small 20' wide properties along our main streets in favour of higher development. It is urban renewal in another form and will have a very big downside to it.


27. New York Times: Thieves Cart Off St. Louis Bricks
By MALCOLM GAY

Dan Gill for The New York Times - Brick thieves in St. Louis are believed to have stripped this house. The city's bricks are prized by developers throughout the South for their quality and craftsmanship.

ST. LOUIS — By the time Raymond Feemster awoke to the pounding of firefighters at his door, flames were already licking his shotgun-style home. The vacant house next door, which neighbors said was frequented by squatters, had burst into flames and was now threatening to engulf houses on each side.

Mr. Feemster, who gets around on an electric scooter, had to be carried out of the burning building, but today he considers himself lucky that the damage was contained to just two rooms.

“My neighbor’s house was completely destroyed,” said Mr. Feemster, 58. “I guess it was one of the crackheads in that vacant house.”

Perhaps. But the blaze, one of 391 fires at vacant buildings in the city over the past two years, may have had a more sinister cause. Law enforcement officials, politicians and historic preservationists here have concluded that brick thieves are often to blame, deliberately torching buildings to quicken their harvest of St. Louis brick, prized by developers throughout the South for its distinctive character.

“The firemen come and hose them down and shoot all that mortar off with the high-pressure hose,” said Alderman Samuel Moore, whose predominantly black Fourth Ward has been hit particularly hard by brick thieves. When a thief goes to pick up the bricks after a fire, “They’re just laying there nice and clean.”

It is a crime that has increased with the recession. Where thieves in many cities harvest copper, aluminum and other materials from vacant buildings, brick rustling has emerged more recently as a sort of scrapper’s endgame, exploited once the rest of a building’s architectural elements have been exhausted. “Cleveland is suffering from this,” said Royce Yeater, Midwest director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “I’ve also heard of it happening in Detroit.”

After the fire that devastated much of St. Louis in 1849, city leaders passed an ordinance requiring all new buildings to be made of noncombustible material. That law, along with the rich clays of eastern Missouri, led to a flourishing brick industry here. Historians say that at the industry’s height, around 1900, the city had more than 100 manufacturing plants, and St. Louis became known for the quality, craftsmanship and abundance of its brick.

“They love it in New Orleans and the South — wherever they’re rebuilding, they want it because it’s beautiful brick,” said Barbara Buck, who owns Century Used Brick. “It really gives the building a dimension, a fingerprint.”

Mr. Moore, who is drafting a bill that would increase the penalties for brick theft, said that while many thieves still used cables and picks to collapse a wall, arson had become the tool of choice. Thieves even set fire to wood-frame homes to create a diversion. Firefighters often knock down walls, making it easier for thieves to harvest the bricks.

“The whole block is gone — they stole the whole block,” Mr. Moore marveled as he drove his white Dodge Magnum through his ward’s motley collection of dilapidated homes and vacant lots. “They’re stealing entire buildings, buildings that belong to the city. Where else in the world do you steal an entire city building?”

There are more than 8,000 vacant buildings in St. Louis, and more than 11,000 vacant lots.

The maximum penalty for brick theft here is a $500 fine or 90 days in jail or both. The city police said there were 34 brick-related thefts in the last year.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/us/20brick.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Can%20You%20Steal%20a%20Whole%20Building&st=cse

Dan Gill for The New York Times - Brick thieves in St. Louis are believed to have stripped this house. The city's bricks are prized by developers throughout the South for their quality and craftsmanship.
 

Click here for Link


28. guardian.co.uk: Moscow's architectural heritage is crumbling under capitalism
Justin McGuirk

The city's avant-garde masterpieces are falling into ruin. It seems only the oligarchs' wives can save them

Gagarin's portrait is covered so that he won't have to look at the decrepitude of the 1966 Space Pavilion. Photograph: Justin McGuirk

From the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Moskva river towards the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour you normally have a clear view of the Kremlin. But for several days last week its fairytale towers had disappeared behind an acrid grey pall. With the thermometer stuck at a record-shattering 40C and the smog hidden by smoke from the burning marshes outside the city, this was a hellish Moscow that none of its residents had ever seen before.

I was in the city to give a talk at a new school, the Strelka Institute of Architecture, Media and Design. Located just across the river from the cathedral, the Strelka occupies the garages of the former Red October chocolate factory, which until two years ago had been producing chocolate on that site since the late 19th century. The school only opened earlier this summer but already it's one of the liveliest nightspots in the city, with film screenings, clubs and a restaurant frequented by Moscow's glamorous media set. If you're thinking that this doesn't sound much like a school, then you'd have a point, but we'll address that later. In all other senses the sight of a former industrial complex being turned into a cultural hotspot is one that we've been accustomed to in Europe and the US for several decades. In Russia, however, it's a more recent phenomenon.

One reason is that the gradual switch from an industrial to a services economy didn't begin until the Yeltsin years. And it was only around the turn of the millennium that developers started to speculate on factories (the more unscrupulous ones earned the description "raiders"). The other factor in the slow speed of the post-industrial project is that the Russians appear to value new things more than old ones.

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29. Eurasia Review: Russia's cultural

To Support Gazprom, Putin 'Liquidates' Russia's Cultural Protection Agency

Just as he worked to disband Russia’s forest protection service, the consequences of which have now become all too obvious, Vladimir Putin is seeking the liquidation of the federal agency responsible for ensuring that Russian laws protecting historical and cultural monuments are observed, an action that may have equally far-reaching effects.

 

The proximate cause of this latest action, “Kommersant” suggested, was the opposition of Rosokhankultura, the agency’s Russian acronym, to the construction of the 403-meter Okhta Center for Gazprom in St. Petersburg, a project Putin supports but that most preservations argue would destroy the integrity of the North Capital’s landscape.

But beyond that, Putin’s latest move, just like his destruction of the forest protection service five years ago, reflects his desire to promote business development at any cost and to push out of the way experts and activists who raise questions about the impact of what he and the Russian powers that be want to do.

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30. Architectural Record: Daniel Burnham on PBS
Carl Yost

City Beautiful Comes Alive in Daniel Burnham Documentary

After the overreaching of Modern city planning—barren plazas, rows of soulless apartment slabs—urban design got a bad rap. But as suggested in the documentary Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City, when ambitious visions are tempered with civic sensitivity, great things can happen.

The film Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City, which airs on PBS on September 6, recounts the life of Chicago architect Daniel Burnham (1846-1912).

 

The film, which premieres nationally on PBS on Labor Day, September 6 (check local listings for times), recounts the life of Chicago architect Daniel Burnham (1846-1912), famous for designing the Flatiron Building in New York, Union Station in Washington, D.C., and the landmark 1909 master plan for Chicago. He pioneered the skyscraper form, then introduced the City Beautiful to cities across the United States and the Philippine Islands; along the way, he practically invented not only the large, corporate architecture firm, but also the very discipline of urban planning.

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Editor's Note:Coming to your local video store soon.....perhaps can be downloaded from PBS.


31. Windows Stolen from Building Site
Lindsay Reid, ERA Architects

Sadly last night there was a theft at one our building sites. The vandals got away with four leaded glass windows (see attached image). It appears that they knew what they were doing as the windows were expertly removed.


If anyone comes across these or is offered them for sale please let me know. Or if anyone has ideas of potential purchasers (salvage shows, glazers, etc.) please feel free to reply with their contact information. We are speaking to everyone we can.

We'd very much like to see them returned.

If you spot them contact Kirsty Bruce at the main office, tel: 416 963-4497 x. 231