This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.
First time meeting Alex in person, Twitter buddies, direct messaging earlier today about World Architecture Day
First time in Toronto was with Lunch with Dick and Jane (Jacobs) at Distillery District
- Then also lectured at Design Exchange that day
Today is World Architecture Day: see the city as a giant design problem
Toronto as now regularly top 10 in rankings
Starchitecture: now coming to something else, what is next after iconic buildings and starchitecture?
Born in Newark in the 1950s
- City declined
- Turned age 10: wanted to be in rock and roll
- Was there in 1967 when Newark burned
1980s: Rutgers, Urban Geography course: walk from Penn Station to the West Side, through meatpacking
- Architecture at that time?
- Architecture was to keep dysfunction out: barbed wire, fenced themselves off, keep themselves out of the neighbourhood, or neighbourhood out of them.
- Thesis: neo-Marxist, structuralist, mother threw it out the front lawn
1987: Moved to Pittsburgh, money by Senator Heinz
- Even though factory jobs left, there were good jobs in research and development
- Turn around with that?
- By continued to wall out neighbourhoods
- Why wasn’t Pittsburgh renewing itself?
- Not a data person, decided to look at the numbers
- Pedestrian problem in Toronto is similar to gun problem
- It’s a design problem
- 13 pedestrians killed, 33 cyclists killed
- Saw interesting companies leave Pittsburgh, including Geoff Hinton (hated Ronald Reagan)
Ask students where they want to live, led to Rise of the Creative Class
3 T’s: technology, talent, tolerance
Creative class, then have starchitecture — a signature building that you had arrived
- Cautioned against this, in the book
- Cautioned: (i) building of the sports stadium in Pittsburgh, convention centre; (ii) watch out for the SOBs, the symphony, opera and ballet were part of the problems
- Starchitects and SOBs aren’t part of the creativity
- Street level creativity
Even Toronto got carried away: architecture of great buildings
Contradiction of the Highline Park
- Two gay people who loved their neighbourhood
- Park in NYC means money
- Became magnet for spectacular towers along Highline Park, that may be can afford, $15 to $20 million for 1 or 2 bedroom
Roger Martin calls, money for a Prosperity Institute
- In the working class, you don’t lie
- At Rutgers, learned that middle class people lie, people don’t fight every day
- Houses in Toronto were hideous, had to double budget
After living in Toronto for 2 years, in 2009 Rob Ford is elected
- If Rob Ford could win, then Trump could win
New Urban Crisis: Trump nailed it down
- Growing inequality isn’t between income, it’s between places: Nechansky?
- Winners: Toronto, Hong Kong, Vancouver
- Middle of country: Detroit, Cleveland
- Winner take all urbanism
- Crisis of success
- Also suburban crisis
David Lewis: the Jane Jacobs of urban design, Carnegie-Mellon
- Cities will come back
- Newark has its own Whole Foods
- More poverty in suburbs and then in urban
- That’s where Ford backlash comes from
Need to shift to urbanism for all
- Maybe federal government in Canada will help, but in U.S. and UK they won’t
- University, medical companies
- Amazon pledge of affordable housing
- More public goods, more public parks
- Architecture has to change
Need a communing architecture, a shared architecture
- Not cutoff-architecture, not starchitecture
- If Amazon doesn’t want to put in a public cafeteria, don’t let them do it
Now seen a generation of students who get this
Article published today: Trump’s gift to Canada
- It will happen, but how will it happen
Are we going to something different?
- Are we going to build a city where a cafeteria work can own a home and raise a family
Question: Republished guidebook to Toronto architecture. Annex and Chinatown haven’t changed much. In those buildings, have fewer people with more money. Streetscape has become exclusive. Beyond the government, what can the design profession do to help?
Economics of design:
- MBA students, 95% say they’re going to live in Toronto, then need the bank of mom and dad
- In the past, it was about historical preservation, because wrecking balls were coming
- Heritage, because the buildings weren’t worth very much
- Let’s build towers in the neighbourhoods
- Jane Jacobs said density in the absence of pedestrian scale is dangerous
- Need to build more, but need to right sort of stuff that preserves pedestrian interaction
Comment: Toronto architects were good at infill
Can mix architecture styles
- Economic and design problems
Question: Scarborough, plazas are incubators of immigrants. Asked Jennifer Keesmat, what will happen to those people, said she hasn’t figured it out yet.
Scarborough discussion is about how to connect with transit.
- Problem will have to be solved with Hamilton, Kitchener Waterloo
Question: How to approach improvement? Downtown, but most of cities, nothing going on.
When starting Rise of the Creative Class, was criticized about being a romantic urbanist
- People will go back to cities?
- Couldn’t have anticipated people coming back
- Narrative emerged, e.g. Nuit Blanche
- Happened before coming to Toronto
- Pittsburgh, Newark, Detroit had emerging urban narrative
- Want to spread the narrative, of inclusion
- Not just a creative neighbourhood, need good parks and houses so that people don’t have to include
- In book tour since April
- Can rebuild cities, but making
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