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Thread: Why did the city planners do this in Canada

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Why did the city planners do this in Canada

    Why did the city planners in Canada and very much so Toronto area embrace this suburb look?

    The lack of stores ,homes and businesses and factories on the through roads and the backing of these stores ,homes and businesses and factories off other street that can be seen from through roads where you have to drive off the through road on to other street or two to get to those stores ,homes and businesses and factories .


    I really hate this look it makes a city feel disconnected and very boring looking when driving down those roads .




    I feel like calling some of the urban planning schools.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nec209 View post
    Why did the city planners in Canada and very much so Toronto area embrace this suburb look?

    The lack of stores ,homes and businesses and factories on the through roads and the backing of these stores ,homes and businesses and factories off other street that can be seen from through roads where you have to drive off the through road on to other street or two to get to those stores ,homes and businesses and factories .


    I really hate this look it makes a city feel disconnected and very boring looking when driving down those roads .


    I feel like calling some of the urban planning schools.
    What makes you think a city planner drew this out as opposed to a planner working for the developer? What makes you think a city planner failed to notice, take action, convince the Council and all pols involved that this was the best outcome?
    -------
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nec209 View post


    I really hate this look it makes a city feel disconnected and very boring looking when driving down those roads ....

    I feel like calling some of the urban planning schools.
    Ummm ok so you hate the look, but your not the one buying the house(s), so your not the market. The market dictated the design, it sold, someone made money, someone else derived enjoyment for the product... welcome to capitalism, even with its socialistic Canadian spin. And yes please.. call those planning schools... I am sure they need a solid yelling at for the dumb "panners" that come up with that type of tripe...
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Many aspects of the form of post-war American and Canadian suburbs are the result of an overreaction to the ills urban areas then faced, one of which was extremely heavy traffic congestion by today's standards. This was time when cars were much larger, roads were much narrower, traffic signals were primitive, protected left turns didn't exist, there were no expressways, and the pre-war built environment had few accommodations for an exploding number of automobiles.



    One solution was a street network based on a hierarchy or "functional classification" of intensity and use. Functional classification in North America is usually along the lines of major arterial > minor arterial > collector street > local street. Major arterials would be wide streets designed mainly to carry traffic across a region, minor arterials across town, collectors distributed traffic in a neighborhood, and local streets were lined with houses.



    Major arterials, like shown in the image (Erin Mills Parkway), are designed only with the purpose of moving traffic. There's minimal "conflicts" -- cross streets and "curb cuts" or driveways -- which could slow traffic down. In some areas, major arterials would be fronted by commercial or high-density residential uses, which had few curb cuts. If the road is a state or provincial highway, there may be access management policies or requirements that limit the number and spacing of driveways or intersections accessing such roads. If a builder can't get permission for a curb cut, they need to come up with another way to access properties that border the road. Thus, the local roads and what planners call "through lots" - lots where both the front and back border a street right-of-way.

    It's a type of design that doesn't take placemaking into consideration; just moving vehicles from point A to point B with as high of a level of service as possible. It's falling out of favor with planners, but still considered a best practice among traffic engineers.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    The market dictated the design, it sold, someone made money, someone else derived enjoyment for the product... welcome to capitalism, even with its socialistic Canadian spin.
    So the market has a full complement of TND/NU/SG neighborhoods, and these rational utility maximizing agents in these neighborhoods calculated their Pareto optima and rationally "chose" this neighborhood over other designs with a sense of place, street connectivity, nearby destinations, etc?

    Really?

    Nevertheless, your underlying caution about calling a planning school because they need a verbal dressing-down is solid.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    So the market has a full complement of TND/NU/SG neighborhoods, and these rational utility maximizing agents in these neighborhoods calculated their Pareto optima and rationally "chose" this neighborhood over other designs with a sense of place, street connectivity, nearby destinations, etc?

    Really?
    My market argument is more so the developer pushing these types of designs because its "we know what sells" bs. More so trying to prove a quick point that city planners are not sim city players when it comes to designing. We are should be advocates for place making, however we are trumpeted either by our a) clients or b) governing bodies.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I have not seen US city do that.

    Most through roads in US have stores , businesses , factories ,retail ,service so on on the through roads .Yes some city in the US it norm not to put homes on through roads .But most through roads in US have stores , businesses , factories ,retail ,service .

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nec209 View post
    I have not seen US city do that.
    It's far more common in western and southwestern states, where land wasn't fragmented into very small farm and frontage parcels before it was developed.

    A few examples:

    Colorado: http://g.co/maps/p3pnh
    Arizona: http://g.co/maps/rjxfy
    Texas: http://g.co/maps/xn3n7
    Nevada: http://g.co/maps/6xgxj

    And outside of North America:

    South Africa: http://g.co/maps/bz7b7
    Australia: http://g.co/maps/9vdtx
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    It's far more common in western and southwestern states, where land wasn't fragmented into very small farm and frontage parcels before it was developed.

    A few examples:

    Colorado: http://g.co/maps/p3pnh
    Arizona: http://g.co/maps/rjxfy
    Texas: http://g.co/maps/xn3n7
    Nevada: http://g.co/maps/6xgxj

    And outside of North America:

    South Africa: http://g.co/maps/bz7b7
    Australia: http://g.co/maps/9vdtx
    I will have to get back to you on that has I have some school work to do now.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I would say that this is a lot more common than you think. In California, a lot of the developments that popped up in the last 6-7 years all look like giant suburban nightmares. The key is that it worked for the developers. The urban designs were all about maximizing profit. Why put in corner stores, and other commercial areas that take away from sellable housing acreage? A lot of the planners that worked on the projects had one major, overarching task: get the plans approved. Smart growth and mixed use took a back seat to profit. I would be much more upset if they were redevelopment projects, but the majority were privately financed.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    My market argument is more so the developer pushing these types of designs because its "we know what sells" bs. More so trying to prove a quick point that city planners are not sim city players when it comes to designing. We are should be advocates for place making, however we are trumpeted either by our a) clients or b) governing bodies.
    Yes, exactly. The 'market' argument is BS. They are slapping them up and that is the choice, like it or not. Slap in a vaulted ceiling to dazzle the unknowing and call it good. :o/ .

    And I would say that most planners are advocates for good places, but this is Murrica, where profit rules.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    This subdivision pattern is extremely common in my city, particularly on the west side. Indeed, if it was less green, I could belive the OPs pics were from here.

    I agree also about the issues of "the market" versus "what people really want." The developer's set the market by creating the products and just because a particular model or subdivision sells, it is assumed that it is what people want. But really, I would argue that it is really just the best people could find, which is not necessarily the same thing. And what is "desired" is only part of what drives people to buy a particular home. Location, affordability, etc are all factors beyond just what looks or feels good.

    As for why planners "let" this happen, the way these things get built doesn't exactly work like that. Planners don't plat out these subdivisions let alone decide the styles of homes built. Instead, there are ordinances that govern construction and development that attempt to create a desired range of subdivisions. Sometimes the ideas of what would constitute a "good" design are indeed misguided, but ultimately, it is the developer that comes to the table with a proposal for subdividing the land and building in a particular manner. The City/County can enforce its regulations, but it is limited to what has been formally entered into the code.

    We have a project pushing its way through right next to where I work that is essentially a self-contained, cul-de-sac ridden townhouse development (80 units on 7 acres) with only one in and out that looks just like what was posted here. And its in the urban core no less. But somehow they have been able to twist the language here that governs subdivision and development to support what they are trying to do. The residents know they are not true to the intent of local plans, but are having a hard time arguing this to the powers that be (its almost halfway throught e approval process) because the governing language is so squirrely. For exmple, the local plan says there should be a range of housing options available to local residents. The developer says since there are no townhouses in the area, that his provision of 80 - with 10 feet in between clusters of joined units - provides a product that is missing here. The intent was to say that are larger developments should mix different types of housing, but since the langauge is more general than that, they have spun it to their favor.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    I'm still doing some school work but in mean time check out these links all have businesses , industrial buildings and retail that face the street .It has been common practices of the 60's in US and Canada to now not to put homes on arterial streets but I have not seen them do that with businesses , industrial and retail services and stores in the US.

    I know that not every arterial street can be lined full of businesses , industrial buildings ,stores and retail so on but most every 2 or 3 arterial street in the US does have this



    Businesses , industrial and some retail face the street
    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll...2653,0.003433\
    &t=h&z=18

    Businesses , industrial and some retail face the street .
    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll...2653,0.003433\
    &t=h&z=18

    What looks like Businesses , industrial and some retail face the street in cookie cutter parking .
    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll...2653,0.003433\
    &t=h&z=18

    Businesses face the street .
    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll...2653,0.003433\
    &t=h&z=18



    Some time ago I was in the city of Mississauga just west of Toronto population 700,000 !!! I was looking for restaurant or fast food I drove done some of the busiest streets in the city like Eglinton Avenue ,Britannia Road ,Hurontario street north of Eglinton Avenue to the city border and yes even Winston Churchill Boulevard and Erin Mills Parkway !! Yet I could not find any restaurant or fast foods !! I found out later some of the streets did have restaurants and fast foods but it was more tuched away.

    Had I gone to US this would not been case .Most businesses , retail and services or restaurant , fast foods so on have slow down and pull in road side feel
    http://www.ftscities.com/files/before_v3.jpg

    I think with such high crime rate in some of these cities putting such businesses ,industrial zones , retail and services, stores,restaurant , fast foods so on !!! On none strip by police patrol and people driving by would have B&E or robbery over night in non grid system and tucked away thus may be why they are not doing it in US cities like in Canada.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I believe you've been misled about the US. If you go to suburban towns in the US, you're not going to see a heavy handed approach to mixed use. In fact what you'll see is the exact opposite. All housing in one area, then a car ride away you'll get commercial, then an even longer ride away industrial uses. Suburbia is the birthplace of the strip mall, keep that in mind.

    Perhaps in more urban areas, and city centers, you'll get business and homes on the street, but usually not in the burbs. I will say that there have been a few developers in Southern California who attempted to create housing developments that had a "city center" that was developed around a grocery store and other small businesses. But the reasons for those are because of the placement of the new developments. When you are constructing thousands of homes 30 minutes away from the nearest restaurant, grocery store, UPS store, etc. you need to have some draw to your community.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    I was looking in cities like Las Vegas , Albuquerque ,Tampa, Miami ,Fort Lauderdale and Broward County cities like Coral Springs and Pompano Beach and other cities in Broward County.

    I have not seen them backing of businesses and factories off other street that can be seen from through roads Where you have to drive off the through road on to other street or two to get to those businesses and factories ...

    I know they do this with homes built in 60's to now do to street hierarchy but I have not seen them to this in for any of the businesses , stores , factories or commercial retail.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Some places in the Sunbelt are terrible aesthetically due to things like that. Basically ease of access usually trumps aesthetics except in the urban core. This is often compounded with a lack of zoning in unincorporated areas.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    At least Canadians seem to want to fix things like this.

    http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/downtown21 is one case in point. I also worked on an urbanization scheme for Whitby a few years ago.

    When I worked in Long Island, people called this type of thing desirable and demanded that plans be created to preserve it (prevent developers from doing anything that would jeopardize their cul-de-sacky single use neighborhoods).

    The challenge is fixing stuff like this through densifying retrofits when the residents tire of it and ask for something else, since the street grid or lack thereof constrains refit/retrofit outcomes. You end up wtih stuff like this:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=san+di...ornia&t=h&z=20

    I appreciate the atempt to retrofit densification and mixed-uses on that corner of a 60s-era bedroom 'burb in San Diego, but, architecturally speaking, it smacks of desperation.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    That area has always felt odd to me.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Huck View post
    That area has always felt odd to me.
    What area are you looking at ? The cities like Las Vegas , Albuquerque ,Tampa, Miami ,Fort Lauderdale and Broward County cities like Coral Springs and Pompano Beach ?


    Most cities in Canada starting in the 60's started backing of businesses and factories off other street and doing away of cub cuts .Where in Las Vegas , Albuquerque ,Tampa, Miami ,Fort Lauderdale and Broward County cities like Coral Springs and Pompano Beach have so many cub cuts and buildings like businesses , factories , commercial , retail that it looks very odd then you look at cities in Canada.

    There not many factories in Florida and Nevada has the economy is service sector so it probably retail and warehouses. I understand from traffic point view through roads is to move traffic and cut down on cub cuts.But when you do than than you get ghost streets.

    Also I'm well aware cities in Canada and US stop building homes on through roads do to street hierarchy of post ww2.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    I was talking about the post above mine.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Huck View post
    I was talking about the post above mine.

    The post you replied to above me was Cismontane explaining the same problem I started at the start of the thread. The picture is of suburb of Mississauga just west of Toronto population almost at 700,000 people now.

    Yes most 98% of the growth of Mississauga is all post ww2 mostly boom in the 60's and on.There was not too much growth in cities in Canada in the 20's , 30's and 40's .

  22. #22
    Actually I got the impression that all the single/ duplex along major roadways are being demolished to build condos, either midrise slab or highrise towers. With the expansion of the subway, I expect to see even more condos on the North. I understand these development projects have been driven by the forecast for incoming immigrants, but one has to wonder, really, where do they find the people to fill all these new units?

  23. #23
    ...
    Last edited by OfficialPlanner; 11 Jun 2012 at 2:31 PM. Reason: double post

  24. #24
    ^

    -The City of Toronto alone has received about quarter of all new immigrates to Canada in the 2000s
    -Average household size has been steadly falling over the years
    -Rental vacancy rates in Toronto are currently around 2%
    -There were a total of 45,926 new home sales in the Greater Toronto Area last year

    The 46,000 new housing units doesn't seem unreasonable given the population growth due to immigration and low supply of housing as reflected in the vacancy rate. What makes Toronto unique is that 28,466 of the new home sales last year were in high-rise residential condos.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    Check out The Woodlands, TX
    http://goo.gl/maps/GyL6

    I wouldn't necessarily say the buildings back-up to the major roads, but they definitely don't face them. Buildings face minor, internal streets within each superblock (see Dan's diagram).

    Of course, what makes The Woodlands very different than the original Canadian example (and makes the comparison intriguing, at least to me) is that The Woodlands is often referred to as an outstanding example of a master planned community, conservation development, and new urbanism. Iím not going to comment on whether it is or is not those things, but it can definitely be very difficult to navigate.

    http://www.thewoodlands.com/pdfs/CriticalMass.pdf

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