Shabby Public Realm

Discussion in 'Toronto Issues' started by junctionist, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. junctionist

    junctionist Senior Member

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    The clutter in the public realm at University and College is ghastly. There's already a pole by the curb for the street light, yet there are those massive arms extending from another pole so that the traffic signals can be hung over the roadways. Topping it off is a third kind of pole inches away from the street lighting pole presumably for the TTC. And all of this is in front of the grand landmark that is Ontario's legislative building. Is it so inconceivable to the agencies putting this stuff up that a little coordination can make for a more attractive city? It's a basic matter that most big seem to have figured, at least in the places that matter the most.
     
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  2. DSC

    DSC Senior Member

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    I certainly a gree that Toronto tends to have far too many poles on the sidewalks but at least one of these excess poles is an old TTC/lighting one that has replaced an older pole. Of course it takes the TTC and Hydro years to move over all their wires (Hydro are worst) and then remove the older pole. Because of the new streetcars there are many of these 'duplicate poles' all over the place as the TTC have to string new wires and need newer/stronger poles.
     
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  3. pman

    pman Active Member

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    You could say the same thing about 99% of Toronto. This city has always had a shabby, ugly public realm and always will.
     
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  4. Miscreant

    Miscreant Senior Member

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    Where it's urban. And dense.
    Yeah, it does. Somehow I look through most of it, though. So used to it or something.
     
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  5. Tewder

    Tewder Senior Member

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    The reason we see this kind of mess is because people really don't care and certainly don't demand any better. Let's not kid ourselves, we're a bit of microcosm here at UT. Unlike Parisians, Montrealers, Chicagoans, Osloborgers, Melburnians or people just about almost anywhere you can think of hosers in Toronto just don't care... or certainly just don't care enough to do anything about it. We are indeed a slovenly bunch.
     
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  6. p5connex

    p5connex Active Member

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    Totally agree Tewder. We don't expect more, or care about it enough to make demands to have it changed. Sad state of affairs if you ask me.

    pfunf
     
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  7. AlvinofDiaspar

    AlvinofDiaspar Moderator

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    It's less that we don't care - but more that as a whole Torontonians are cheap - every single improvement to the public realm needs to be nickel and dimed to death and constantly evaluated against value for money (and if you don't, you'd be labelled as wasteful). The end result shows.

    AoD
     
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  8. Torontovibe

    Torontovibe Senior Member

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    But are we really that different, than people in other big cities? Aren't New Yorkers and Parisians just as cheap and greedy as we are? If we are indeed cheaper, what made us this way and how do we change it? I'm not sure I buy it. How can we be that different, than all these other major cities?
     
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  9. Xray_Crystal_Junkie

    Xray_Crystal_Junkie Senior Member

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    I'd be satisfied if they just cleaned up the University Street median a bit and got those fountains working again. I feel like even that is expecting too much.
    At least there are some good looking buildings all around this area with pretty diverse architecture.

    More direct to this building, I took a walk all the way around the base an hour ago looking for cladding... But alas we're made to wait a little longer.
     
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  10. AlvinofDiaspar

    AlvinofDiaspar Moderator

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    Apparently yes - greedy, perhaps more so, but certainly not as cheap. Do remember Canadians (and Torontonians) tend to be extremely risk adverse, especially when it comes to money - and there are pluses and minuses to that. Just think of it this way - I wonder what's the per capita expenditure on parks and landscaping in Toronto, vis-a-vis these other cities mentioned. Or on that matter, things like arts and culture.

    AoD
     
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  11. Torontovibe

    Torontovibe Senior Member

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    Could it not be that we Torontonians just spend our tax dollars differently, in a more socially responsible way? It's just a theory here but let's take Chicago. Chicago spends lots of money on it's great neighbourhoods and city attractions in the core BUT head south and you will see that the infrastructure is falling apart. The schools look in bad repair, the sidewalks are falling apart and garbage collects in huge piles, on abandoned properties. The city of Chicago let's those areas just rot away. (seemingly almost no upkeep at all)

    Also look at public housing complexes, like Cabrini Green, which look more like prisons, than housing complexes. Not only are the buildings terrible but the entire neighbourhoods (I'm talking infrastructure and the public realm) are like war zones.

    Toronto obviously spends less on our main streets. Sure, our public realm is bad in many places but over-all, our entire city is kept at an acceptable level. You will not see long stretches of completely neglected sidewalks and crumbling infrastructure. Our tax dollars seem to be more spread out, so everybody gets some benefit. We seem to have a more socially equitable city, when it comes to how we maintain our public spaces. Many of you guys just look at the big, flashy baubles, like Millennium Park but never see how the other half lives, when traveling and comparing cities. Take a good over-all look and it might present a whole different picture.

    I don't know if actual figures will bear this out but it's something to consider. Do we spend the same percentage of money but just spread it around more evenly? Anybody have some stats on that?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
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  12. AlvinofDiaspar

    AlvinofDiaspar Moderator

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    It's getting OT but in any case...

    am not suggesting that models like Chicago necessarily the way to go (and Millenium Park is partly funded by corporate largesse that makes what the ours have given for the sake of public realm here in Toronto a joke). Not sure about parks and such, but the hard data on arts is certainly gives you an idea (and this is a comparison with other Canadian cities):

    http://www.torontoartsfoundation.org/News/NEW-STUDY-MUNICIPAL-FUNDING2

    AoD
     
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  13. gristle

    gristle Senior Member

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    The culture of parsimony is one where some of our elected officials actually celebrate the run down look of the public realm as a success of public management and civic cheapness.
     
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  14. Coruscanti Cognoscente

    Coruscanti Cognoscente Senior Member

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    Maybe if Toronto Hydro got its act together and buried all the electrical wires then the TTC would be shamed into investing in some of those new streetcars Bombardier makes that get their power from the ground instead of overhead.... or not.
     
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  15. Transportfan

    Transportfan Active Member

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    The wires could still be strung between streetlights
     
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