The dangerous domino effect of urban violence

From seemingly harmless events, a cascade of riots and mayhem can follow. Just look at the examples in Detroit, Watts and the 1992 violence in Los Angeles

The dangerous domino effect of urban violenceEverything is related to everything else, according to ecologist Barry Commoner. This is proven to be true in cities every day. If a driver slows on an expressway, a chain reaction back a few kilometres slows everybody down. When this causes 1,000 people to be late for work, there’s a loss of economic activity. There…

Big ideas: a guide to developing a more functional world

Oxford Prof. Ian Goldin's 2016 book is an asset for urban development officers and planners, helping to drive prosperity, education and innovation

Big ideas: a guide to developing a more functional worldYou don’t usually read a review of the physical makeup of a book, unless it’s an art book. But Ian Goldin’s book has been standing out on my desk and on my shelf for a while. It demands comment. Pursuit of Development: Economic Growth, Social Change and Ideas (2016) is an ambitious title and Oxford Prof.…

The lazy, hazy – and regenerating – days of summer

Our summers were a collage of friends, exploration, interaction, self-discovery. We were doing everything. Our kids deserve the same

The lazy, hazy – and regenerating – days of summerMillions of Canadian children are no doubt thrilled as summer holidays begin this week, after months of classrooms, tests and teachers. Most of us remember the long and lazy days of summer – an entire two months of winding down after a structured 10 months of schooling. For many of us raising kids today, summer…

How fighting urban sprawl inflates housing prices

Imposed greenbelts drive up land prices, which leads to much higher house prices in a metropolitan area

How fighting urban sprawl inflates housing pricesWherever housing prices are severely inflated, you’ll find urban growth boundaries, greenbelts or similar land rationing policies. Toronto is a perfect example. Talk continues of the potential for a housing bust in Toronto. Yet through the end of March, house prices had increased 33 per cent in a year. Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz…

Tales of three cities: a trio of books about decay and revival

From Detroit to Pittsburgh to Atlanta, from the rise and fall of industry to resurrection and environmental awareness, at least for some

Tales of three cities: a trio of books about decay and revivalTORONTO, Ont., April 25, 2017 /Troy Media/ – Writing styles can inform, entertain or put up barriers. Some make a connection between reader and writer. Others are bloodless. Three recent and important books about cities illustrate the point. Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story (2015) is by journalist David Maraniss. Beyond Rust: Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Fate of…

To save the world, save the cyclists

Bicycling is probably doomed by the short-sighted attitudes that raise barriers to people feeling safe in exercising their health and economic choices

To save the world, save the cyclistsHow Cycling Can Save the World By Peter Walker Published by TarcherPerigee RED DEER, Alta., April 24, 2017 /Troy Media/ – Of course cycling can’t save the world. That’s a far more complex issue, involving getting past climate-change denial, economic and social inequality, a looming cost-of-health-care crisis and the built-in resistance of city planners, traffic…

Millennials reinventing urban living and saving our cities

People have been fixing up homes and neighbourhoods ever since drawings brightened up a drab cave. This trend may be rescuing cities

Millennials reinventing urban living and saving our citiesTORONTO, Ont., April 19, 2017 /Troy Media/ – Every generation tends to think it invented popular trends – and many did, or at least reinvented them. During the Summer of Love, in 1967, the Grateful Dead and countless other young people famously lived in clapboard homes in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Many fixed up these…

Creative class millennials revolutionize small-town life

Big cities were going to be nirvana for artists, designers and technology freaks. But high costs are leading them to happy lives in rural settings instead

Creative class millennials revolutionize small-town lifePOWELL RIVER, B.C., April 16, 2017 /Troy Media/ – Way back in 2003, urban planning guru Richard Florida was in Calgary to lecture on creative capital, the emerging millennial wave and the new cool concept of Bohemian index. Big cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal were going to become the new nirvana as a wave of musicians,…

City-bound: the changing face of New Brunswick

As population declines outside of the province’s big three centres continues, it should force a rethink on how to nurture growth in rural areas

City-bound: the changing face of New BrunswickHALIFAX, N.S., April 6, 2017 /Troy Media/ – New Brunswick is often thought of as a rural place, aided by the absence of a single large urban centre. This sets it apart from the other three Atlantic provinces, which all have one dominant city. Figures from the 2016 census suggest things may be changing. New Brunswick's urbanization…

A rusty book: a look at urban renaissance that lacks context

Beyond Rust tells the story of Pittsburgh's resurrection, but too often fails to look beyond the surface to explain why initiatives succeeded

A rusty book: a look at urban renaissance that lacks contextTORONTO, Ont. Feb. 15, 2017 /Troy Media/ – I judged a book by its cover recently – Beyond Rust seemed like it would be a good read. I’d learn more about Pittsburgh and the phenomenon known as the rust belt, and how some rusty areas came back. The Pittsburgh Renaissance was aided by the Allegheny Conference…