This week, a series from urban designer Gloria Venczel (principal of Cityscape Design), who asked “Is Vancouver the Urban Design-City-Building leader in North America?”
After a Manhattan comparison, a contrast with Toronto.
I was also able to visit Toronto in the humidity and heat of the summer 2016. It is also a winter city with a plethora of underground shopping complexes downtown Toronto with edgy contemporary architecture. But the streets seem to be for people/car movement with limited public realm vibrancy.
How does this compare to Vancouver’s newer developments from a pedestrian oriented urban design perspective? Livability? Vibrancy?
“One York” – great architecture but nothing to do on the street as all the shops and services are below ground. No edge programming that would make the street more vibrant and safe.
Financial District, Toronto. Minimal building edge programming like cafes or shops to actuallygive people a reason to stay. Planters do not in and of themselves create vibrancy.
Greater Toronto Area (GTA) City Hall . No recognition of people in the urban design in theforecourt, ironically a very anonymous and dangerous space.
Downtown Shopping , Toronto. Barren streetscape, no trees, benches or concept of a “public living room” . Just people and goods movement – utilitarian- close to the Eaton’s Shopping Centre.