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
Our world and our cities, would be so very different, if all of the Directors of Traffic thought like Niels Tørsløv of Copenhagen - especially if, like Niels, all such Directors were trained as landscape architects. What if the "traffic problem" was about too many bikes, and the "parking problem" was about how to deal with so many bikes overtaking the public spaces and sidewalks?
Monday, March 16, 2009 - 3:47pm PDT
A new design competition thinks it can.
In a recent post, I discussed the value of open design competitions in strengthening a city's "culture of design". I explained how Vancouver, often described as a city by design but in past years perhaps lacking a competition skill-set, is seeking to strengthen that culture, albeit by small steps and grass-roots efforts thus far. Here's the link - you might want to read that post first.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 - 4:26pm PST
Since Vancouver Council unanimously supported the preparation of bylaws to introduce laneway housing across the City in single family zones, the housing idea has been getting consistent media attention. Although we're in the process of using modeling and dialogue to answer the last few questions - what the parking standard should be, and the exact dimensions of the 1 1/2 story model - the most common question I get is "when can we apply for one?"
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 11:32am PST
Perhaps the biggest difference between the design processes in Europe and North America, at the building scale and increasingly at the neighbourhood scale, is in the use of design competitions. I've been fascinated by this difference for some time, and make a point while in every competition-friendly city I'm in, to dig a little deeper.
Friday, January 30, 2009 - 3:09pm PST
In 2008 I took a wonderful trip to Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Malmo, Sweden. Although the occasion involved invitations to speak on Vancouver's waterfront achievements and challenges, it was really an opportunity for me to learn from these dynamic cities, and see the best and worst of European waterfront design and master-planning.
Friday, January 9, 2009 - 2:20pm PST
As we move into a 2009 full of staggering urban challenges - economic, environmental, social, and leadership challenges - do our planning departments have the passion, creativity and leadership to be what our cities need them to be?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 12:03pm PST
Since arriving in Vancouver, I've realized that we are part of a "peer group" of international water cities. Through waterfront design conferences where the same cities seem to get invited time and time again, or through deeper and more interactive collegial opportunities for shared learning such as summits or study trips, these global water cities are taking every opportunity to learn from each other's successes and failures around water-edge planning and design.
Friday, October 31, 2008 - 5:26pm PDT
When Vancouver City Council approved the new EcoDensity Charter and Initial Actions earlier this year, among these was a prioritized action to further develop the idea of laneway housing.
The issues and options report relating to this work program is now available for downloading from the EcoDensity website.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - 3:15pm PDT
One of Vancouver's most recent significant planning exercises is noteworthy not simply because of the merits of its process or its resulting planning and design vision, but perhaps more so because of the new model it may represent to North American mall owners.
But I'll come back to that.
Thursday, October 9, 2008 - 4:15pm PDT
I occasionally get accused locally of being too much of a "booster" for Vancouver's success and reputation in city-building and urban design. Although I usually tend to mix in a healthy dose of "constructive candour" on how we need to improve, if there's truth to this accusation, I'd say I come by it honestly. First off, I've been an admirer and careful student of the Vancouver approach to urbanism, as imperfect as it might still be, long before I arrived in the City as Director.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 - 9:30am PDT