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Warehouse District Park

archited

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^^^^ The question is not the cost -- the biggest hangup for the CoE on any of its Capital endeavours -- the question is the success of the end result. Do you really think that the Park or the dressing up of the street (96th) in the Quarters district turned out to be money well spent? -- a contra-example of bucks down the drain. Cost is never a valid "first-look" example and you should know that from past experience.
 

IanO

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96st looks awesome and will be money well spent once things build out.

Kinistinawa Park on the other hand...
 

archited

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Sticking with NYC, another example of success without "public engagement" is the Highline project. Powerfully successful -- do you think the public would have imagined this to occur? (rhetorical question btw).
 

IanO

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I think that we are largely on the same page here for the general public often derails things, but they inherently need to be involved... but how and WHEN are key.
 

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The answer to the question that is often asked -- "Why can't Edmonton have things like ___________ has?" is because there is too much consarneddangedflipmeoffifyoudare PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT that leads to MEDIOCRITY with a capital M,E,D,I,O,C,R,I,T, and Y!!!
 

IanO

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My bigger issue with local design is that oftentimes it is 'borrowed' (nay inspired) by someones trip somewhere which can be a good thing, but in my experience seems to lead to a poor application given our climate or setting.
 

archited

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^^^^ Solved by hiring a highly capable design firm or individual and giving them full-rein. Instead local "I-know-the-answer" Planners say "Public Engagement shows that blah-blah-blah so we have to guide the solutions by blah-blah-blah." Capable designers might have a "style" or "mode" that hints at design repetition -- that's not important -- the solutions are always varied enough to have powerful impact. Just look -- locally -- at the work that Gene Dub does, for example (with the notable exception of the "touch-the-water" fiasco).
 

Stevey_G

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Inner-city highway projects are an example of planning without public consultation. Instead, planning was spear-headed in the 1930s by automobile interests such as General Motors amongst other interested parties. Here are the results:

Cons
  • Wealthy people left the inner city for the suburbs
  • Air pollution and traffic noise came in
  • Urban life became automobile-centric, with something like 9 out of 10 Americans using a car to get to work
  • Highways require the expropriation of large tracts of land and demolition of entire neighborhoods
  • Highways isolate and segregate inner cities from their surrounding communities
  • No public consultation allowed for nefarious planning policies such as the targetted demolition of vibrant African American communities filled with trams and hundreds of thousands of residents to be destroyed because they were viewed as a blight. In many cities, those once densely populated communities are now dead, vacant, tracts of land (see Paradise Valley in Detroit)
  • Poor and minority residents were displaced across the country so that wealthy white residents could commute into the inner city and go back at home at night

Pros
  • More cars, less congestion
  • Highways allow for better defense of a country in the event of a foreign invasion
  • Faster and more convenient access across cities by automobile for those not living inside the community
  • Ability to transport goods and services cheaply and efficiently.
Final Note:

Wealthy, white, 'crazies' were able to protest the planned highways going through their neighborhoods; places such as Greenwich and Manhattan where there was lots of political weight and privileges. Eventually highways plans were scrapped in those areas, and those communities today are some of the most vibrant in America, whilst the ones destroyed by highways are wastelands.

@archited This is an example of why urban planning must take the needs and considerations of the people in mind and not just universally adopt the planning and design dogma of professionals. People and their wants need to be at the forefront of good city planning.
 
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archited

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General Motors is a design professional group? Your dissertation misses the mark. If you are talking about the City of Los Angeles selling the Red Line to GM and then GM dismantling it in order to promote auto traffic and build freeways instead, you are right. But Public Engagement had nothing to do with that happening, pro or con. I have to call "Red Herring" on your example @Stevey_G
 

Stevey_G

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My apologies I don’t know where my response went.

That’s a fair logic @archited. It is comparing apples to oranges when comparing the implications of a district park against the Impacts of the Federal Highways act. And no, GM, AAA, and all the groups that were involved in Futurama back in the 40s weren’t park designers.

Nevertheless my argument is sound, and represents the value of public consultation in matters involving their communities - generally speaking. People and their needs need to be at the forefront of good urban development, and their requests when sound of logic and reason should be incorporated into design to ensure proper utilization of something like a park space.

That’s not to say everyone with a say is going to get what they want, but it allows designers a keen insight into things that will make their opus a success.
 

archited

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^^^^ I simply disagree. I have been involved in Edmonton with "Community Engagement" and it is nothing more than a gong show. The specific project was City involvement in Old Strathcona. On the Public side, crazies came out of the woodwork; on the City side they were actually listening to the crazies as if their opinions had weight. People were trying to talk over one another -- eventually I had to call "time-out" and we sent everybody home. If you want to witness "public engagement" go to any City Council meeting where they are trying to hear the fate of a development proposal and the "public" can sign up to speak on the subject at hand, both pro and con. Sit through three of those and your opinion will reverse completely, I guarantee. To abbreviate this argument, let me say that the "people" generally speaking have no idea what they want, they only know what they like or don't like after it is built.
 

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Honestly if they just build a park where I can go and do things other than sit in the grass or throw a frisbee I'd be happy. Anyone wanna shoot some hoops? 🏀
 

Stevey_G

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^^^^ I simply disagree. I have been involved in Edmonton with "Community Engagement" and it is nothing more than a gong show. The specific project was City involvement in Old Strathcona. On the Public side, crazies came out of the woodwork; on the City side they were actually listening to the crazies as if their opinions had weight. People were trying to talk over one another -- eventually I had to call "time-out" and we sent everybody home. If you want to witness "public engagement" go to any City Council meeting where they are trying to hear the fate of a development proposal and the "public" can sign up to speak on the subject at hand, both pro and con. Sit through three of those and your opinion will reverse completely, I guarantee. To abbreviate this argument, let me say that the "people" generally speaking have no idea what they want, they only know what they like or don't like after it is built.
Not meaning to laugh but that dysfunction sounds very much like a video I just came across I’m sure you’ll appreciate:


Honestly if that is the case in Edmonton, perhaps a more passive form of public engagement would be valuable. Maybe sending out mail to surrounding residences showing where they can show their support and commentary online. Doing things this way would ensure an equal decibel level for each opinion and you might get a better scatter of information.
 

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