Brent Toderian is an international consultant on advanced urbanism with TODERIAN UrbanWORKS, Vancouver’s former Director of City Planning, and the President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism. Follow him on Twitter @BrentToderian
Some of you may remember my observations in an earlier post on the wonderful event I participated in earlier this year, with New York's Forum for Urban Design. Its rare indeed to get the opportunity to discuss and debate issues of urbanism over 2 days with the chief planners for New York, Boston, London, Singapore and Toronto. Months later, I'm still thinking about some of the perspectives I debated about with my peers in these great cities. You can see my earlier comments on the discussion, titled "World Urbanists take Manhattan: Lessons learned and left" at:
Thursday, November 1, 2007 - 3:59pm PDT
By North-American standards, Vancouver is already a density-friendly city, relatively speaking. Although we've had our share of density related brawls and debates over the decades, by comparison to the wars fought in other cities, the "D-Word" gets a better reception here than in most places.
Friday, June 29, 2007 - 10:58am PDT
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of sharing several stages over two days in New York, with some of the most influential urbanists anywhere. The Forum for Urban Design brought together Amanda Burden (Commissioner and Director of Planning for New York), Cheong-Chua Koon Hean (CEO of Urban Development for Singapore), Robert Freedman (Director of Urban Design for Toronto), Peter Rees (Chief Planning Officer for London), Kairos Shen (Director of Planning for the Boston Redevelopment Authority), and myself, to discuss multiple city-building topics in front of (and with) Forum members, the business community and the general public.
Friday, June 8, 2007 - 4:11pm PDT
These days, there are many important city-building issues we’re promoting here in Vancouver. The first of which is always sustainability, and particularly ecological sustainability (its difficult to consider an economic or socially sustainable future, if the powerful changes necessary to truly address climate change and other ecological implications do not happen).
But beneath (or within) sustainability, there are countless issues and debates about the nature of city-building that need to have powerful voices, particularly within the broader public (as opposed to us converted). One that I’m pleased to see gaining more and more traction and attention, in the popular media and in dinner party chats around cities, is the critical importance of beauty in the work that we do. The tide is turning on this issue, when publications like Canadian Business are trumpeting the value added nature of design, and the power of “pretty cities” to economic success.
In planning circles though, we still seem too loathe to use the word beauty. Too subjective, perhaps? For whatever reason, you’d be hard-pressed to find the word in most planning visions and documents, and that’s a shame.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 10:04am PDT
Vancouver has earned many titles and nick-names on its way to becoming an international model of urban livability. One used frequently is the title “city by design”. The language of the title is deliberately specific, particularly the choice of the word “by”. A city by design is one that has taken public or civic responsibility for its physical development. A city that has embraced the value of design, both in the broad strokes and in the details, in the achievement of its public goals, be they livability, sustainability, civic beauty or economic success.
Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 11:57am PDT
Since this is my first blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Brent Toderian. In 2006 I was appointed the City of Vancouver, British Columbia’s Director of Planning. Before that I was the Manager of Centre City Planning and Design for the City of Calgary, Alberta. I am a founding member of the Council for Canadian Urbanism (CanU) which is discussed below. I look forward to your comments on this and future posts.
Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 5:26pm PDT