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Discussing big picture urban/city planning and design issues.

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You are currently viewing archive for July 2008
In one of the most horrifying incidents I have ever heard of, a man, presumably with mental illness, used some kind of Rambo knife to repeatedly stab/kill, then decapitate a young passenger on a Greyhound bus. Here is the story from the National Post. This story raises a number of questions about safety, travelling in groups, and more.

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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." This is a quote from St. Augustine, in one of the sidebars of the Kingston, Ontario Official Visitor Guide 2008.

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My father-in-law mentioned that on Bill Carroll's 1010 CFRB Morning Show today, some discussion revolved around the numbers of kids hanging around at Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre. Mississauga is a suburb of Toronto, to the west...

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Following Friday's entry about guerrilla gardening, I had a thought about guerrilla pedestrians. I'm not proposing anything illegal here, but I am suggesting that us walkers and joggers may have a way to help take back the streets, all at the touch of a button.

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I paid a visit to the Devonian Botanical Gardens just southwest of Edmonton today. There were many things to be impressed with, and after making the comment that "this is what a park should be" to the family members I was with, I started to take lot more pictures.

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In the latest edition of People magazine, we learn about a non-traditional hero in the "Heroes Among Us" section who has planted a number of positive seeds in his Long Beach, California community.

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Benches. They provide a place to rest, a design element for the public realm, and somewhere to converse with a friend. They are also supposed to provide something to look at, but not in this case...

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A friend recently came back from a trip to Ireland, and was sharing some of his photos with me. I was amazed at the colour, the street life, the public art, and the greenery.

I asked another friend who is originally from Ireland why things were so clean and colourful there, and his answer was simple: "The TidyTowns Competition".

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An email I received from the Conference Board of Canada today cited the following: "Despite dire economic news on many fronts, The Conference Board of Canada counsels that there is no need to panic." Isn't that good news?

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CNN Money has just posted its new Top 100 Smaller Cities list for 2008. The factors compared included housing, financial and quality of life.

I was actually thinking the other day that the most exciting places in Canada to watch over the next 10-20 years will be those localities with populations in and around the 100,000 mark: Kelowna, Thunder Bay, Victoria, and Kingston, as examples.

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A friend/colleague who recently moved to England dropped me a line today. She is interested in becoming a Parks Planner and wanted to get a few ideas about where to go to school and what sorts of qualifications are needed.

Naturally I'm not the foremost authority on the field, but here's what I had to say...

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I had the privilege of driving a very straight and fast Highway 400 South from North Bay to Toronto today. But my even greater privilege was getting this photo of something ugly coming the other direction...

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Quite the opposite of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the City of Niagara Falls left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Here is one of the Seven Forgotten Natural Wonders of the World, completely swallowed by tourist activity.

My last visit to Niagara Falls was over a decade ago and let's just say that it is not what I remembered.

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Just because a place is small is no excuse to have an ugly downtown. (Larger cities have even less of an excuse for ugly, unwelcoming downtowns.)

Thankfully, Niagara-on-the-Lake's downtown is a refreshing exception to the norm.

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Edmonton Sun writer Kerry Diotte wrote a story recently on panhandling and the homeless in Edmonton, which ended with the question "Suggestions anyone?".

In response, Edmonton's Urban Design Salon, which I help organize, met for lunch and developed a short report. We want to thank Kerry for considering our ideas and for printing many of them in today's paper.

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Historic buildings, a UNESCO heritage site and historic streets greet you in Kingston, Ontario. What a treat it was to visit here again!

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