321 Davenport | 36.4m | 9s | Alterra | Giannone Petricone

44 North

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Atwood's petulant "maybe it's time I moved out of Toronto, didn't like it much when I moved in" garbage tweets kind of spoil this notion of her as city advocate, no?

Sensationalism and drama from a literary author...I wouldn't read too much into it. Tho I guess I didn't follow the back-and-forths to a T (more of a cursory glance in the early afternoon). Frankly I don't even know how to read "tweets and replies" now that I'm clicking on her handle. Says I need to log in, which I don't recall Twitter doing before. My guess is that she needs TO and the Annex more than she realizes.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Thanks for the link. Read it earlier today, and now seeing an article on the Star about the Twitter back-and-forths. Interesting dynamic playing out, arguably with some similarities to Jane Jacobs' fight. Personally I support Atwood and the "NIMBYs" in this instance. Not saying she's right, but I enjoy when people genuinely and thoroughly like their Toronto neighbourhoods to the point of vociferous demands for protection. K perhaps not all the time. But do we really want transient residents in flophouses that don't care one iota about their surroundings? Sure, sometimes. However ultimately people caring about their areas or 'hoods is what makes Toronto such a great city, historically and presently.

I disagree somewhat - how that "care" manifest itself in the public sphere is asymmetrical (related to political power) and extremely restricted in scale, and it posits a false dichotomy that only people living in a place can care about a place. There is also the reasonableness of the demands to consider as well - I can easily transpose this attitude as is into a suburban neighbourhood demanding reduced bus services, resistance to intensification, etc. You'd have no logical ground to stand on if one equates care to inherent goodness.

AoD
 
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ADRM

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Sensationalism and drama from a literary author...I wouldn't read too much into it.

I think it's too important to dismiss, though, because of how pervasive Atwood's line of thought is in Toronto generally, and especially among those with access to power and/or mouthpieces. Atwood's public display, I would argue, likely emboldened others to fight against progress as she has.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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I think it's too important to dismiss, though, because of how pervasive Atwood's line of thought is in Toronto generally, and especially among those with access to power and/or mouthpieces. Atwood's public display, I would argue, likely emboldened others to fight against progress as she has.

It's political power/influence - and she (along with her compatriots in this endeavour) holds a lot of of it indeed, especially with respect to an issue of local concern and the particulars of this administration (just think about who is connected to whom). It can be used for good (recall the whole library closing fiasco) but also bad.

AoD
 

torontologist

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I can't help but think that people are rushing to defend this proposal a bit too quickly. It consists of luxury condos, has an excessive amount of parking, and is not mixed-use. In fact, it is replacing a commercial building with space for 5-6 businesses with a glass lobby. Do the mid-rise guidelines being used to defend its height not also require retail in the first floor?

I think the height is appropriate, and it's great to have new (albeit luxury) housing in the area, but I feel that this takes away from the local community more than it adds. I can't say that I'm rooting for it.
 

smably

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I can't help but think that people are rushing to defend this proposal a bit too quickly. It consists of luxury condos, has an excessive amount of parking, and is not mixed-use. In fact, it is replacing a commercial building with space for 5-6 businesses with a glass lobby. Do the mid-rise guidelines being used to defend its height not also require retail in the first floor?

I think the height is appropriate, and it's great to have new (albeit luxury) housing in the area, but I feel that this takes away from the local community more than it adds. I can't say that I'm rooting for it.
I'm all for this kind of thoughtful and constructive criticism, and we need more of that in general from the neighbours of new developments. I think the reason people are running to the defence of this development is more about the nature of the criticism coming from its neighbours, which was vastly disproportionate to the kind of development being proposed. When a midrise condo, however imperfect, is characterized as "a brutal and arrogant assault" on a neighbourhood, you're not going to see many here nodding in agreement.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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I can't help but think that people are rushing to defend this proposal a bit too quickly. It consists of luxury condos, has an excessive amount of parking, and is not mixed-use. In fact, it is replacing a commercial building with space for 5-6 businesses with a glass lobby. Do the mid-rise guidelines being used to defend its height not also require retail in the first floor?

I think the height is appropriate, and it's great to have new (albeit luxury) housing in the area, but I feel that this takes away from the local community more than it adds. I can't say that I'm rooting for it.

We don't really apply the same lens to similar sites elsewhere - raising it as an issue in the context of the current opposition sounds a little off. Okay, so what would one say if I replace luxury condos with RGI housing with ground floor community use and bike parking in the same built form. I doubt the locals will be happy about that either.

AoD
 

torontologist

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We don't really apply the same lens to similar sites elsewhere - raising it as an issue in the context of the current opposition sounds a little off. Okay, so what would one say if I replace luxury condos with RGI housing with ground floor community use and bike parking in the same built form. I doubt the locals will be happy about that either.

AoD

Well, I'm a local (I live in one of the adjacent apartment buildings, not an Annex House), and I would be quite happy. :D

I agree that Atwood and the Admiral Rd. Brigade would probably still be opposed, but I do think they would think twice about making a stink. As for applying the same lens to other developments, It is difficult to think of another new downtown mid-rise on a main street that completely does away with mixed uses on the first floor. I'm a certified YIMBY, but I find it impossible to go to the community meetings in support of this. I'm glad it's getting media attention for the movement though.
 

Avenue

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I can't help but think that people are rushing to defend this proposal a bit too quickly. It consists of luxury condos, has an excessive amount of parking, and is not mixed-use. In fact, it is replacing a commercial building with space for 5-6 businesses with a glass lobby. Do the mid-rise guidelines being used to defend its height not also require retail in the first floor?

I think the height is appropriate, and it's great to have new (albeit luxury) housing in the area, but I feel that this takes away from the local community more than it adds. I can't say that I'm rooting for it.

Luxury density is great. It's crappy ones (like the one at Homewood and Wellesley, among others) that we will really regret building in 40 years' time.
 

ADRM

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I'm all for this kind of thoughtful and constructive criticism, and we need more of that in general from the neighbours of new developments. I think the reason people are running to the defence of this development is more about the nature of the criticism coming from its neighbours, which was vastly disproportionate to the kind of development being proposed. When a midrise condo, however imperfect, is characterized as "a brutal and arrogant assault" on a neighbourhood, you're not going to see many here nodding in agreement.

Good points here, and I'd add that the parts of the "debate" that most riled me had nothing to do with 321 itself, but with Atwood using the discussion as a jumping off point to air her grievances with developers in our city and the development process itself.

I won't reiterate all of her concerns but, to take just one, her repeated focus on the fact that developers often "flaunt" bylaws and zoning, both of which are imprecise and anachronistic, was especially maddening. It's illustrative of the views commonly held and advanced by people who have no idea how cities that people actually like living in and visiting are built.

Building up Toronto in a way that would make certain aspects of it more like the nice aspects of cities such as Barcelona, Paris, or Tokyo is rendered nearly impossible by the very bylaw and zoning regime by which developers (and, by extension, the Torontonians who live in the homes they build!) are hamstrung.
 

44 North

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I disagree somewhat - how that "care" manifest itself in the public sphere is asymmetrical (related to political power) and extremely restricted in scale, and it posits a false dichotomy that only people living in a place can care about a place. There is also the reasonableness of the demands to consider as well - I can easily transpose this attitude as is into a suburban neighbourhood demanding reduced bus services, resistance to intensification, etc. You'd have no logical ground to stand on if one equates care to inherent goodness.

AoD

Not really equating care in some obscure singular form to goodness. Rather pointing out that care can take many forms, much of which Nimbyism can and quite often does represent. It's certainly a key reason why the Annex isn't bisected with expressways, and why it has a healthy mix of apartment towers interspersed among lowrise brick homes. Obviously a small midrise isn't comparable to urban expwys or blockbusting, and again not saying Atwood is right. But at the end of the day it was Nimbys in some form via an assymetrical public sphere that made the area great.

Interestingly I'm trying to see through a false dichotomy: that we have avg developer-loving ppl with open arms making up a unified majority, and awful regressive anti-urban Nimbys at the far other end. There's obviously a huge in-between, crossover, and sound logic and both ends. Not to mention that this dichotomy doesn't actually exist.

On a basic level though I just like hearing about this instance because it has a renowned creative type bypassing their dayjob to speak candidly about a hyper-specific TO/urbanism issue. It's easy to obtain a vague-to-the-point-of-uselessness Richard Florida-type quote about how super awesome density is someplace else, not so much the other way around.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Not really equating care in some obscure singular form to goodness. Rather pointing out that care can take many forms, much of which Nimbyism can and quite often does represent. It's certainly a key reason why the Annex isn't bisected with expressways, and why it has a healthy mix of apartment towers interspersed among lowrise brick homes. Obviously a small midrise isn't comparable to urban expwys or blockbusting, and again not saying Atwood is right. But at the end of the day it was Nimbys in some form via an assymetrical public sphere that made the area great.

Interestingly I'm trying to see through a false dichotomy: that we have avg developer-loving ppl with open arms making up a unified majority, and awful regressive anti-urban Nimbys at the far other end. There's obviously a huge in-between, crossover, and sound logic and both ends. Not to mention that this dichotomy doesn't actually exist.

On a basic level though I just like hearing about this instance because it has a renowned creative type bypassing their dayjob to speak candidly about a hyper-specific TO/urbanism issue. It's easy to obtain a vague-to-the-point-of-uselessness Richard Florida-type quote about how super awesome density is someplace else, not so much the other way around.

Except that I highly doubt that the healthy mix of apartment towers double or triple the size of this project would have been able to be built should the Annex of yore be anything like it is now, and for every Richard Florida type quote about super awesome density, I can pretty easily substitute a Jane Jacobs one about community control to the opposite effect.

AoD
 
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Orson

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Orson

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arg I can't find the original tweet but someone had a gem, something like:
Margaret Atwood to the Toronto Life Couple: hold my tea cup, I'll show you entitlement.
 

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