191 Dundas West | 149.55m | 41s | ICC Group | Scott Shields

Northern Light

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AlbertC

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Night time view of the current buildings on this block:


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Northern Light

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Toronto needs a "Vibrancy Tsar". If such a concept even exists. If not, it should.

I'm not sure the issue is having one more 'Tsar' anymore than it's one more strategy or policy or masterplan.

The reality is, all these get forgotten, sidelined, under-funded, and willfully ignored at times when it suits those in power. That's not always a malevolent thing, though it can be; but it can just as easily be ignorance, or tax increase avoidance or any number of other things at play.

What's needed is politicians who actually make a point of hiring really great people (a la Becky Katz in Transportation, Vickery Bowles at Toronto Public Library or, in the past, Andy Byford at TTC). Then actually empower them, trust them and let them do their thing with as little interference as practical. (diligent oversight yes, but meddling micro management no)

Those staff who have bold visions for what is possible, the requisite knowledge, leadership abilities and work ethic can and will make good change happen if they are allowed to do so.

Planning is no different. There's certainly room to improve policy guidelines, but a great deal is proper hiring, proper training, empowering staff, demanding accountability but granting freedom to be creative and persuasive with
developers and communities to achieve more.

The other thing is bringing in top experts to speak about solutions to problems, including industry players and to look at a range of options, not just one, so that a good answer can be found for most sites, though it may not be the same answer at every site.
 

Northern Light

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Sean lays out why in a Toronto context, something like that would be a *terrible* idea:

I'm not sure 'whimsy' is good metric, LOL.

Vibrancy is a goal, but not a policy directive.

My thoughts, at a high level, on how we get there are above.

I've already outlined, in this thread changes in policy that I feel would be beneficial for retail; but again, I think it's important to have staff be flexible, but developers have to show good faith in trying to achieve an outcome in exchange.
 

Natika33

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For this location, this design is terrible! Where's the inviting walkable character? A combo of moving the lobby up and having some retail/restaurants on the second floor would help a lot. I actually really like 2nd floor restaurants - great for people watching!
 

Northern Light

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Commentary on this project:


A few things jump out; the one most UT'ers would take first note of is this:

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***

The second thing that jumps out at me is I think a sincere believe by the owners and the architects that this design provides for retail vibrancy. Good intentions are great; but they don't know what they're doing, at this point.

This design will not serve that objective.

***

For the near-term though, I thought this was intriguing:

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So, on the one hand, I love that idea and think it would interesting and preferable to the current parking.

On the other hand, I just had a second look at the space. Its got only the one entrance/exit, relatively narrow, I expect that might be an issue w/Toronto Fire for that type of use.

Its also quite small, low-visibility, has a clear choke point, and there are some other challenges beyond that. Again, I'm thinking good intentions are getting ahead of reality here.

Future Nightmarket???

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The Preservationist

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I don't see why they can't have an engaging street scape environment with multiple small scale restaurants and a tower in the back. We need to house the influx of people to the downtown but not at the cost of sterilization...

Edit: Yes I'm suggesting they have a rethink of the ground floor layout and how it interfaces the street. I little additional effort here could have a real positive impact...
 
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Northern Light

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I don't see why they can't have an engaging street scape environment with multiple small scale restaurants and a tower in the back. We need to house the influx of people to the downtown but not at the cost of sterilization...

You absolutely can achieve that; its merely that this proposal as designed does not achieve that.
 

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