Brent Toderian's blog

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

3 Reasons We Should Pay Attention to Medellín

Medellín has been called the most innovative city in the world, and recently hosted the World Urban Forum WUF7 to huge acclaim. It has taken back the city's public realm, found simple solutions to complex problems, and emphasized a "City for Life."

How Your Garage Designs Your Neighbourhood

Garages matter a great deal to the design & enjoyment of our neighbourhoods, well beyond that garage door. Perhaps it’s finally time to reconsider whether having garages out front is really more important than the character of our neighbourhoods.

An Urbanist's 12 Days of Christmas!

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, let's remember all the "gifts" that our cities give us. Our cities deserve a Christmas Carol! Here is an Urbanist's "12 Days of Christmas."

Three Quick Wins for Auckland (or Any City’s) Walkability

The following “top three” relatively quick wins for a more walkable city, written below from the perspective of Brent’s observations, reflect some relatively low-cost opportunities toward a more liveable & successful Auckland.

Six Tips for City Hall Leadership

Any leader is only as good as their team, and supporting your team's work while earning their trust and respect is the number one responsibility of a good leader. Here are six additional thoughts on what makes a good municipal leader.

Density Done Well, and Not Just Downtown

It’s an understatement to say that the “D-Word” is a controversial subject in cities across North America. It needn’t be so though, and shouldn't be, as when it’s done well, density is immensely important to the success of cities and regions.

The Most Important Urban Design Decision Vancouver Ever Made

Vancouver's ahead-of-the-curve 1997 decision to prioritize active transport, rather than balance its ways of getting around, has affected everything about how the city has been designed since then.

A New Year's Eve Call to Action for Urbanists

We've known for decades the better ways to do things, for greater urban health, sustainability, resiliency, vibrancy and economic success. So this year, let's resolve to have the will and skill to get past the short-term politics, the rhetoric, the market momentum, and the financial self-interest that has kept our better solutions from being realized.

Enough with Bikes vs Cars – It’s about Better Cities!

A few weeks back, I watched with concern Toronto having a rhetoric-heavy debate about removing the relatively new bike-lane on Jarvis Street. Last minute efforts to save the bike-lane were ultimately unsuccessful, although as small consolation, Council chose not to use bike-lane infrastructure funds to remove it – a previous intention that had been seen as adding budgeting insult to active mobility injury.

Families WILL Choose to Live Downtown, If We Design for Kids!

A few months back, Toronto's Deputy Mayor started a political flap, stating on the floor of City Council that downtown was no place to raise kids! “Where’s little Ginny? Well, she’s downstairs playing in the traffic on her way to the park,” he exclaimed.

Flap, indeed. Urbanists and parents alike were quick to denounce the comment, including me. In a way though, we might thank the Deputy Mayor for saying candidly what unfortunately many politicians, and many parents, might still think.

I heard similar comments from a Calgary council member years ago while I was leading that city's Centre City Plan. We’re dreaming if we think families will move downtown, the Alderman told me.

Pages