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Cornell a failure?

AlvinofDiaspar

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adma:

Indeed - great that you should mention that - the horror stories of the influx of the same "urbanists" at the Beach driving an SUV for latte.

AoD
 

unimaginative2

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I had no idea that the failure of this plan was yet another gift from Mike Harris.

One of the big problems with most of our New Urbanist efforts is that they aren't planned around transit at all. In Europe, as a new neighbourhood is built, a transit line is built simultaneously. Cornell would have had a subway or regional rail route built right into the heart of the neighbourhood, and the neighbourhoods' central nodes would be located at the stations. That's why I have high hopes for Vaughan Centre (though I'm wary of Vaughan's past failures) and hope that it's a model that will be followed in the future. Extending regional rail (GO) into the heart of Queensville and the Bond Head development is an absolute must before the neighbourhood is actually built. It doesn't cost much to build rails on farmland, but it costs a fortune to build it through a developed area. That's why this notion that's so popular here of "progression through modes" is wrongheaded. You put the hourly bus service in at the outset, and then years later when the neighbourhood is developed try to add higher-order transit by wedging light rail rights of way down existing streets or tunnelling. It costs vastly less to put the rail line or busway in at the outset. That's how we developed neighbourhoods in the 19th and early-20th centuries, which is what New Urbanism is supposed to be replicating.

I have to say that part of the problem with Cornell retail is likely discomfort among retailers with something different. Not enough of them are willing to take a chance on locating in an urban-style development that there is no critical mass. The developers should really have pushed harder at the outset to attract a successful slate of retail.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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I had no idea that the failure of this plan was yet another gift from Mike Harris.

One of the big problems with most of our New Urbanist efforts is that they aren't planned around transit at all. In Europe, as a new neighbourhood is built, a transit line is built simultaneously. Cornell would have had a subway or regional rail route built right into the heart of the neighbourhood, and the neighbourhoods' central nodes would be located at the stations. That's why I have high hopes for Vaughan Centre (though I'm wary of Vaughan's past failures) and hope that it's a model that will be followed in the future. Extending regional rail (GO) into the heart of Queensville and the Bond Head development is an absolute must before the neighbourhood is actually built. It doesn't cost much to build rails on farmland, but it costs a fortune to build it through a developed area. That's why this notion that's so popular here of "progression through modes" is wrongheaded. You put the hourly bus service in at the outset, and then years later when the neighbourhood is developed try to add higher-order transit by wedging light rail rights of way down existing streets or tunnelling. It costs vastly less to put the rail line or busway in at the outset. That's how we developed neighbourhoods in the 19th and early-20th centuries, which is what New Urbanism is supposed to be replicating.

I have to say that part of the problem with Cornell retail is likely discomfort among retailers with something different. Not enough of them are willing to take a chance on locating in an urban-style development that there is no critical mass. The developers should really have pushed harder at the outset to attract a successful slate of retail.

Agreed. This style of development seems akin to trying to build a streetcar suburb without the street car. The street layout/grid and land uses might be the same but without the transit something is lost in translation.
 

lesouris

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Agreed. This style of development seems akin to trying to build a streetcar suburb without the street car. The street layout/grid and land uses might be the same but without the transit something is lost in translation.
Hopefully the TTC will be ready to run streetcars into the new Waterfront developments as they are inhabited so that these travel patterns are established from the very begining.
 

adma

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Yet the proximity of streetcar doesn't help the Greenwood development any in overcoming its fundamental insularity...
 

Archivist

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Re: Greenwood. No argument about its insularity, it's really a strange little blip in the city, an unmistakeable fortress like apparation.

To be fair to the developer, I think one of the problems is that Woodbine wasn't tamed at the same time. I recall early plans for a more radical re-working of the street grid, while providing better connections between Woodine and Kingston Road. None of that happened, so you still have this expressway like road cutting the development off from the lake. Huge mistake.
 

realtycoon

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I had no idea that the failure of this plan was yet another gift from Mike Harris.
:eek: :eek: :eek:

Wow, why am I not surprised to read this here at Urban Toronto..
Let's just blame everything on Harris while we are at it.. Seriously, the time to blame Harris is gone, the Left has been in power long enough to fix whatever they wanted to fix.

Anyways, back to the topic.
There is a stretch on Bur Oak, with residences on the upper floors and storefronts on the lower floors. The problem there is that there are so many zoning restrictions in place, that make it difficult for anything other than a small store, real estate office, insurance office or C-Store to open there. I always thought that a small Cafe would be ideal there, and even looked into it, but had to give up after looking into the zoning!
 
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Edward Skira

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Re: Greenwood. No argument about its insularity, it's really a strange little blip in the city, an unmistakeable fortress like apparation.

To be fair to the developer, I think one of the problems is that Woodbine wasn't tamed at the same time. I recall early plans for a more radical re-working of the street grid, while providing better connections between Woodine and Kingston Road. None of that happened, so you still have this expressway like road cutting the development off from the lake. Huge mistake.
Photo by bAuHaUs.
 

Hipster Duck

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I dunno. I like that neighbourhood. There are SUV-driving latte drinkers (what a cliche) streaming out of downtown, modernist condo towers, too.
 

spider

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"Urban" not a feature to many buyers

My son purchased a new home in this area a few years ago because the home was a good deal. Attractive price, well designed and built, detached large double garage and a small lot which normally is not desirable to most people but as he had zero interest in gardening to him it was. His office was at Scarborough Town Centre, an easy drive, and he expected to continue shopping at big box stores. He considered the shops around the corner to be an interesting curiousity but was much more impressed by the parks available for dog walking.

On moving in he discovered that most of his new neighbours were 30 somethings and bought there for the same reasons he did. The developers thought that the "urban village" thing would be a big feature but apparently it wasn't. The feature that didn't sell homes could be classified as a failure I guess but the subdivision did just fine without it and can hardly be considered a flop.
 

adma

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Well, it may not be a "flop"...but neither is Cornell, all things considered (retail aside--and as I've said, the buildings lining Queen have also been a bit of a sterile retail anticlimax).

Interesting, too, that it feels more apparitional than, say, the Massey-Harris lands or Liberty Village...
 

SunriseChampion

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Re: Greenwood

I have two friends who live in that 'hood and so I walk around it a bit and it's actually kind of fun in a "is this really happening?" kinda way. It is totally insular though, as has been mentioned. Not only seemingly but actually. You walk out of there, in any direction, and you feel like you've transcended some sort of cosmic barrier into another plane of existence. I'm not gonna lie though, those colourful houses facing the lake make me happy.


PS: That photo is very lovely....and green!
 
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