Space and Scale

stthomasnearbloor.jpgThere is a great discussion at Bricoleurbanism on the absence of people-scaled spaces in Toronto’s urban streetscape. The discussion takes as a starting point construction hoarding on two sides of the street near Bloor that inadvertently created a humane street scale not unlike that found elsewhere in the world. This contrast in city scale is evident even between Toronto and Montreal. The urban core in Montreal, despite the presence of modern high-rises, and not entirely due to semi-random occurrence of buildings from the past 300 years, has this more human scale. Why? Proportions. The article at Bricoleurbanism offers a brief look at examples in Toronto that have achieved this scale and ends with a call for attention to the dehumanizing scale of our modern city. The infrastructure that allows machines ready access to and from the core also dehumanizes the space and creates the need to actually move to and from the core. When spaces are achieved they are like pearls in the streetscape and there clearly is the intention at times to create these spaces. I include some photos from New Dundee square, the sculpture park between King and Adelaide and the pleasant walk near the Dominion marketplace on Front Street.
This need for humanizing our urban spaces isn’t a new message, but it certainly does reinforce one of the causes behind the familiar scene of streams of workers fleeing the inner city in Toronto on the Go Train every evening rather than lingering in a concrete jungle.

By the way, there is also a companion set of photos from the new Michael Lee-Chin crystal at the ROM, so that those of us unable to attend the public unveiling recently can vicariously appreciate the new space.

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