Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Walkabout on the Port Lands - The Shipping Channel, North side

On Friday, July 18th I began a series of walks further south on the Port Lands than my last1 walkabout (December 2013). The timing of these new walks is related to City of Toronto Planning's Design Charrette - coming up this Wednesday and Thursday.

The Charrette

The 2-day, mini Charrette, co-hosted by Waterfront Toronto and TRCA is much shorter than recommended2 - so I'm going to try and engage with the community during the two days, via Twitter and this Blog.

A "Charrette" is a design-based collaborative community planning method that the school of New Urbanism has developed. A way of wrangling a massive number of elements in an intensive series of feedback loops over a few days involving the people of the area and stakeholders relevant the study area plus a team of planners, architects and other specialists that creates a feasible plan at the end of the exercise.

To quote from Planning's Shipping Channel Charrette PDF (released to the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) and the Landowner and User Advisory Committee (LUAC):

"The two-day charrette being hosted by the City of Toronto City Planning Division, with Waterfront Toronto and the TRCA, will occur on July 23rd and 24th, 2014. The charrette will focus on defining and establishing a cohesive vision and priorities for the Ship Channel and its surrounds, and for improving public access for the South Ship Channel lands."

We will meet first to formulate a broad outline of the constraints and possibilities talking into account everything - the land, the history of the place, the existing archeology, the economic and political elements and so on. Next we will walk (and boat!) the site - and then formulate a second understanding of a future morphing out of the present. The team of specialists will then create plans on all kinds of scales, that talk to the first round of feedback - within the constraints and the goals. Then back out in groups to tackle select issues - and then back to the team to feed all our ideas back to the whole group. Then the planners, architects and communication specialists will craft some more - ideas, plans, drawings, media.

After the two days of intensive work the Planners will then present a overview of the outcomes in a 2 hour meeting on the evening of the second day.

Social Tools Engagement

At certain points in the process key ideas will come into conflict and (hopefully) be resolved, compromises will happen (hopefully) and in the end we will have a do-able plan that everyone can like - and is do-able in the physical, economic and political world.

At these crisis points in the process I will out reach to get your informed opinion and try to feed your ideas into the process. This use of the social tools is new to the Charrette process - we'll see how it goes.

The Pre Charrette Walks

The specific intention of this set of pre-walks is to trace a walking path around the Shipping Channel - and to discover what use the land around it is presently being put to; and what potential future uses can be gleaned from a process of actually touching the place, documenting the act, and writing about it. This with-in my bias for development that creates Complete Streets and Liveable Cities.

Shipping Channel Panorama - North-side below Don Roadway looking south at City of Toronto Transportation Services salt storage facility.

Below is a map with several video and images at the placemarks - a synopsis of my walkabout so far.

Shipping Channel Walkabout - pre-Charrette discovery

View Shipping Channel Walkabout - pre-Charrette discovery in a larger map


1 Ward 30 Bikes - Tuesday, February 4, 2014 | Queen St., Logan, Port Lands, South of Eastern, Dundas/Carlaw Corridor - a walk-about to discover North-South Cycling Opportunities - Learning through reading, walk-abouts and writing: Bouchette Street, Logan Avenue & Carlaw Avenue --- Commissioners to Dundas |

2 Youtube - Congress4NewUrbanism | CNU 20 - Charrettes and the Next Generation of Public Involvement |

CNU 20 - Charrettes and the Next Generation of Public Involvement

Under the Video:

Published on May 29, 2012

Are the days of the seven-day charrette behind us? Shrinking budgets, social media, tea party obstruction... it's time to take another look at charrettes and public involvement.

Limited project budgets are challenging everyone. The web has also made it possible for the public, as well as consultants, to participate from a distance. This technology can save money, but what are the costs to shared learning and the building of relationships? How can these high-tech tools be leveraged to increase the number and diversity of people that are engaged in planning projects while still maintaining the advantages of face-to-face meetings?

This session will present the latest tools, techniques and the trade-offs of social media and web-based participation tools within the context of the face-to-face public design charrette format.

Hazel Borys, Managing Principal, PlaceMakers
Ben Brown, Consultant, PlaceMakers LLC
Andrés Duany, Principal, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company
Bill Lennertz, Executive Director, National Charrette Institute
Gianni Longo, Principal, ACP Visioning & Planning


Port Lands Acceleration Initiative: Home |

Port Lands Planning Framework: Land Use Direction |

National Charrette Institute (NCI) |

Top Port Lands Map Image via: Port Lands Acceleration Initiative: Home | Port Lands Planning Framework |


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