Question: What are your favorite streets or public spaces in your city?
Behind every street and public space there is a story. A long story. How was the zoning approved? Which developer won the contract? What are the health and safety implications? How has the history and heritage of the space been preserved, modified, erased, or retold over time? How has the built environment affected the surrounding ecology? What mode of transportation is most favored by the design of the street — and who, as a consequence, does the street ultimately serve and prioritize first?
Does the street ‘fit’ into the kind of city where people would want to move?
And this is only the beginning… how do internal city politics between the Planning, Development Services, and Engineering departments work? How informed and involved are elected officials in the outcome of the street project?
Everything about every street is the result of human decisions. Who makes these decisions? Who holds these people accountable? How can we be a city with an urban design that works for everyone — both today and into the future?
Shawn Adamsson (@late2game) is a local force of nature when it comes to civic engagement. He was a principle architect of the Pints & Politics series run by the Urban League.
Sara Bellaire is a Professor in the Bachelor of Environmental Design & Planning and Landscape Design programs at Fanshawe College. Her projects focus on blending the ecological and cultural attributes for creating sustainable design solutions.
John Fleming (@jmfplan) is the Managing Director of Planning and City Planner for London, Canada.