Downtowns have a lot to offer. The key is to make them great places to walk. That way, parking the tank and sending in the infantry on a 5 minute march becomes fun rather than a chore!
Every city has a downtown: A place to go, to see and be seen. Sometimes, changes come to a downtown attracting more people than ever before. That was the case 30 years ago when the Downtown Revitalization Program changed the character of Victoria Street in Kamloops making it a People Place. In 2020-2021 during the Covid epidemic, the sidewalks were widened downtown to provide safe outdoor seating. Now that Covid is under control, a win-win opportunity presents itself:
(1) Make the sidewalks widenings permanent; and
(2) Introduce back-in angle parking to increase the parking capacity in those places where the sidewalks are not widened.
Below is a walk along Victoria today illustrating long-standing strengths, and discussing new emerging opportunities of place.
Continue reading “Victoria Street: The Heart In Downtown Kamloops”
2500 years and counting the Eternal City is still the best place to experience human scale urbanism. Walking in Roma we move around in a concrete example of the old classical principle: ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’.
Sigmund Freud, in his second to last book, chose Rome as the metaphor for a new idea: The proposition that when the mind forgets nothing is really lost. According to the great Austrian theorist and psychoanalyst, what we experience as forgotten remains hidden beneath new layers of experience:
Continue reading “Rome: A Walk in Roma”
View North at Main and 11th Avenues
On Sunday, 6 may 2012 Robert McNutt & Lewis N. Villegas lead a 2 hour walking tour of one of Vancouver’s oldest quartiers.
In an article analyzing the 187o’s proposed plan for Rome, Kostof gives a brief summary of his view of Townplanning in the British capital. Continue reading “Spiro Kostof on London”
The Village has the right stuff to explain the genesis of New York City. Not too long ago the World Trade Center towers—built cheaply on spec—were visible in the southern skies of the Village beckoning the value of this location due to its proximity to downtown, and the humanness of its character. Heading uptown, Times Square and the many iconic towers of Modernism, are too far from the Village to be seen. Yet, they confront us with the same dilemma. Suspended between these two nodes of the most powerful of the financial powers, and the most modern of the hyper-urbanism, Greenwich Village is one of the few places in North America where we can draw the best lessons in built form and neighbourhood footprint. The Village story is also a tale of survival. It exists side-by-side with one of the greatest urban crimes perpetrated in the name of progress: the needless intrusion of Seventh Avenue as a Haussmannian percée through the heart of the Village. Read more.
Plague and then fire in 1666, and the blitzkrieg of the 1940’s, were two occasions for urban reconstruction in the great English-British capital. Yet, Londoners stood fast. Read more.
Haussmann’s avenues were not designed for walking— a point lost on most visitors to Paris today. One and two kilometers in length, these ‘new’ boulevards exceed human scale, extending for a distance that surpasses our innate abilities to experience place. Read More.
Considered by some as the best example of Baroque Planning, the Paris we see today is actually more modern than Manhattan. While the Commissioner’s Plan for NYC dates from 1811, Paris was re-invented between 1855 and 1871. The urbanism of the Belle Epoch was so good that three Exposition Universelle, held every 11 years, showcased the city as much as any agricultural or industrial product. Eiffel’s tower, built for Expo 1889, remained the world’s tallest structure until the Chrysler Building opened in NYC in 1930. Read More.
Whether travelling to Rome, or simply visiting from the armchair, understanding the fundamental facts of Rome’s urbanism will make the experience more memorable. For those interested in urbanism Rome is still the place where urbanism is thick enough to cut with a knife, or a jpeg camera. Read more.