Archive for March, 2015
1. They give us fresh perspective on the city. (Union Square, San Francisco)
2. They bring diverse people together. (The High Line, New York City)
3. They are a great place to eat lunch. (Vancouver Art Gallery)
4. You can be both alone and part of a group. (Pioneer Square, Portland, OR)
5. Your friends can more easily find you. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)
6. They motivate you to study. (Ryerson Student Centre, Toronto)
7. They mix formal with informal. (Four Seasons Centre, Toronto) (photo source)
8. Some combine ramps + stairs (“stramps”). (Robson Square, Vancouver)
9. They are a perfect venue for your brass band. (Philosopher’s Walk, Toronto)
10. You might see a pillow fight or Spider Man on a very early Spring day. (City Hall, Toronto)
Public reaction to big new development schemes tends to focus on taste (likes and dislikes) or issues such as whether the style fits with that of nearby buildings. When a new “artist’s concept” appears in the media, what questions spring to mind?
Our questions might include: Is it a bold optimistic statement about the future…or a giant oppressive sculpture that will loom over us? Will it feed our souls, or make us feel less human?
What if we always asked an even bigger question: How healthy is this proposed scheme?
Such a fundamental question raises the issue of how the development will affect our state of mind and whether it will nurture human connections.
In terms of creating a long term ecological asset, it’s not enough to simply aim for technical sustainability. We must now assess the potential impact on sustaining and nurturing us as humans.
This means seeing big development schemes as they affect our total health—ranging from creating a cultural and social asset, to stimulating our brains and revitalizing our spirit.
It’s time to get beyond superficial criteria in evaluating developer and architect-proposed schemes. If what we build is not beloved today, it is at risk of being landfill tomorrow.
– Sharon Vanderkaay