Archive for July, 2012

Underpass Park finally opens

Big news today from Waterfront Toronto:

Torontonians can now enjoy phase one of Underpass Park, an extraordinarily original and innovative new waterfront public park.

Underpass Park is the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first of its kind in Toronto. Located in the West Don Lands under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses, the new park has transformed the derelict and underused space into a bright, new, neighbourhood amenity.

Constructed in two phases, the first completed sections of the park are between St. Lawrence Street and Bayview Avenue. Visitors can access the completed portions of the park from River Street, south of King Street.

There will be an official opening ceremony later in the summer. For now, go and enjoy the new park!

Photo via Waterfront Toronto.

A Plan to Make Drivers Hate Downtown Dublin

While this post is about Dublin, Ireland, it could just as easily be about Toronto and it’s problematic and challenging love/hate relationship with it’s “street furniture,” “publicly accessible private space” and the street-maiming “outdoor advertising strategy.” Just so you know, I’m all for limiting private cars in Toronto’s core – so long as it comes with improved and elegant public transit – Ed.

Dublin, Ireland, is considering a new approach to its dense downtown core that will prioritize space for pedestrians, cyclists and public transit. As the The Irish Times reports, car through-traffic would be strongly discouraged in the city’s center under a new plan developed by city planners. Continue reading

How Urban Parks Enhance Your Brain

There has never been any doubt in my mind that a close, or even a passing, encounter with the natural world on a regular and frequent basis, is restorative to mental and physical health.  This week in The Atlantic Cities, Eric Jaffe summarizes a few studies that prove the point  – Ed.
From The Atlantic Cities this week – Eric Jaffe  Jul 16, 2012

A couple weeks ago the folks at Cracked told readers that “living in a city makes you dumber.” There are a number of flaws here — beyond the obvious one of getting your science news from Cracked — but the research at the center of the claim has some relevance to cities worth considering nonetheless. What it tells us is not so much a story about the hazards of city living as it is about the benefits of city parks. Continue reading

Do we have a right to play tennis for free?

Found this in the Star a couple of days ago.  One neighbourhood is up in arms over a proposal to turn public tennis courts into a private club.
Emily Jackson   Staff Reporter


 Cedarvale Park’s freshly renovated tennis courts havespurred a showdown the city hasn’t seen since well before amalgamation in the late 1990s. At stake: Do Torontonians have the right to play tennis for free? Continue reading

Our Newly Lush Life

I found this is the New York Times this weekend in the OP.ED pages
By                     Published: July 14, 2012

WHENEVER you doubt that the future can improve upon the past or that government can play a pivotal role in that, consider and revel in the extraordinary greening of New York.

This city looks nothing — nothing — like it did just a decade and a half ago. It’s a place of newly gorgeous waterfront promenades, of trees, tall grasses and blooming flowers on patches of land and peninsulas of concrete and even stretches of rail tracks that were blighted or blank before. It’s a lush retort to the pessimism of this era, verdant proof that growth remains possible, at least with the requisite will and the right strategies. Continue reading

Old Payphones bring WIFI to NYC Parks and Streets

Direct from GIGAOM yesterday is this interesting story about NYC turning old pay phones into WIFI hotspots.  NYC has been lighting up city parks with WIFI for a couple of years now.  Is it time for Toronto to follow suit?

By Jul. 11, 2012

Payphones, those relics of the pre-cellphone era, may just get a new lease on life in New York. The city is testing a pilot programin which it installs free Wi-Fi on select payphone kiosks.

The hotspots are initially coming to ten payphones in three of the boroughs and will be open to the public to access for free. You can see a list of sites here. Users just agree to the terms, visit the city’s tourism website and then they’re up and running. Currently, there are no ads on the service, but there could be in the future. Continue reading

A Locavore Dreams …

Sarah Elton – The Globe and Mail – Published Saturday, Jul. 07 2012, 6:00 AM EDT

In downtown Kamloops, B.C., on a narrow patch of land near the hospital thrift shop and a tanning salon, there’s a vegetable garden. Its raised beds are planted with kale, peas and squash – a whole variety of produce, growing in the open, with no fences to keep out passersby.

Which is exactly the point. The garden is called the Public Produce Project and has an official open-picking policy: Anybody is invited to come in and harvest food for free. There are signs instructing people what to take, when and how. Continue reading