News   Apr 19, 2024
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Cathedraltown...suburbia with a twist

Amazing photos! Great job :)

Though for the most part it looks like most suburbia, I like the fact that the garages are behind the houses on laneways, or so it seems for at least part of the development it is.

I am also very impressed with this:
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That looks like my friends townhouse in hamilton...... the ones he lives in are govt subsidized though.
 
Blechh. Could have been great, but it is what it is and it is anything but great. The empty field filled with lampposts was preferable for aesthetic simplicity, the surreality of unfinished megalomania, and for representing/suggesting possibilities...this wretched development only represents lost opportunities and suggests no one really cares any more.

How deliciously ironic that Ave Maria, a cathedral-centric project built by a pizza fortune and located in a friggin Florida swamp, is turning out better than a cathedral-centric project built with the best Old World intentions in Markham, a town that supposedly 'gets it' and practically considers quaintness one of the four food groups.

New Urbanism on the suburban fringe is a plague on an already sickly patient.
 
Say what you want about the development, the build quality and design is very high. This should be a desirable area to live in decades from now. (If we don't happen to have a suburban apocalypse)
:D
 
If this thing ends up looking like the original plans, it could be something.

Right now it's coming together really slowly and I have to agree that aside from the church it isn't doing much to distinguish itself from the rest of suburbia.
 
How deliciously ironic that Ave Maria, a cathedral-centric project built by a pizza fortune and located in a friggin Florida swamp, is turning out better than a cathedral-centric project built with the best Old World intentions in Markham, a town that supposedly 'gets it' and practically considers quaintness one of the four food groups.

New Urbanism on the suburban fringe is a plague on an already sickly patient.

I don't see any new (or otherwise) urbanism in the above photos at all. Is future development going to include any sort of walkable retail?

You mention the Ave Maria development in Florida, which does look like an honest attempt at "new urbanism", unlike Cathedraltown (so far):

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That development in Florida is garbage. It is so isolated and small. How many opportunities for walking can there be? Doesn't look like much.

I'm no fan of new urbanism, or Markham for that matter and its ridiculous anti-public housing policy, but even in its current unfinished state, I'll take Cathedraltown over Ave Maria any day.
 
Care to offer one criterion by which Cathedraltown is superior to the Florida garbage?

I can see at least a few by which the opposite is the case.
 
Care to offer one criterion by which Cathedraltown is superior to the Florida garbage?

Well first of all Catherdraltown is neither as small or isolated as the Florida garbage. That is big problem right there. If it is in middle of a swamp, it is obviously not going to support any level of transit. And residents will have to drive very far just to go to school, do groceries, go to work, etc. Walking will not be much of an option, judging from that picture only.

And of course, building a new any community right in the middle of an environmentally sensitive area is probably not a good idea either.
 
I didn't say Cathedraltown was New Urbanism - small letter new urbanism, maybe - but someone earlier said it would be better if it was true NU. Well, rubbish, I say, given failures like Cornell. It just doesn't work on the suburban fringe. The only thing within walking distance of Cathedraltown is an empty, unused cathedral, the 404, and assorted McMansions. Maybe there'll be a Subway one day. At least Ave Maria has a university and the beginnings of a college town. There's parking lots, yes (it is Florida) but I expect most of them to be built around, with parking forming the inner courtyard of some large blocks. I don't see how that's any worse than having 10+ feet of grass between every street and building.

Ave Maria is also very unfinished...it was a virgin swamp about 5 years ago. Maybe it's not ironic that Florida is ground zero for effective New Urbanism (in form, if not in function...perhaps we can look to the Woodbine development for NU-inspired stuff that really works, where the quaintness has tangible benefits and isn't just something to look at while driving by): the climate helps, the landscaping is instantaneously gorgeous, developers have carte blanche, NU projects offer something appealing relative to the extreme decentralized edge city sprawl elsewhere in the state, etc. Seaside, Celebration, Ave Maria...all were assisted by powerful parties (Disney, Domino's Monaghan, DPZ themselves) that had a vision and stuck to it. Cathedraltown may have turned out better if Roman was still alive...at the very least, I'm sure the cathedral would be less necrotic today, and the whole development would have more purpose and drive than just formulaically fleshing out what's in the watercolour renderings.

edit - I just realized that DPZ stands for Duany Plater-Zyberk yet is also the stock symbol for Domino's Pizza. Coincidence? Maybe Dan Brown should look into it. What's buried under that oratory?
 
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Would be neat to see a development like Poundbury (architectural aspect) here. Or anywhere in Ontario for that matter. :p
 
There's a place near my house in West Palm Beach, Florida that I thought did quite well. It's a lot of shops and storefronts, cafes, movie theatre, pubs...etc...along the street, they are storefronts below and above are some condos.

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I don't see any new (or otherwise) urbanism in the above photos at all. Is future development going to include any sort of walkable retail?

You mention the Ave Maria development in Florida, which does look like an honest attempt at "new urbanism", unlike Cathedraltown (so far):

edu-ave-maria.jpg

That's reminding me of those Hollywood movies where the whole town is part of a cult...
 
Dannyo,

I've been to West Palm Beach in December, and visited CityPlace. It's fantastic. I wish Toronto had something like this. the only downside is that it's heavily car dependent as there is basically no transit for this area. I do like the restaurant density, the huge amount of patio space, and the nice square in the middle with the water feature. It's warm architecture spells Florida or a tropical climate. Toronto could make some places more inviting. The Distillery District gets close, but it needs to triple the number or restaurants in the area. Right now there are like 5, and only 1 reasonable price one, the rest are very upscale. Plus the are is kinda dead in the winter. Toronto needs to do more things to make our good areas good year round, not just in the summer.
 
More Cathedraltown (and Cathedral of the Transfiguration) photos (April 2)

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Here you can see Cathedraltown's only pedestrian that day. Everybody else drove, or biked (like me)

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Scaffolding inside the Cathedral. Renovation work, or is the whole place about to come down?

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What bike lane?

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The street leading to the Cathedral (Prince Regent Street) is lined with these uninspiring homes.

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The houses on the side streets are marginally better.

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Houses on Woodbine Avenue. Farmland just across the road.
 

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