Breathing new life into cities post-COVID-19

New guide shows how planners can revive urban centres by shifting focus of vacant spaces from commercial to cultural

Breathing new life into cities post-COVID-19In the wake of economic fallout from COVID-19, urban centres could see a sharp increase in abandoned spaces as some businesses are forced to close. But vacant space doesn’t have to sit idle, according to a research associate with the University of Alberta’s Wirth Institute. If managed properly, it could spark a cultural revival of sorts,…

Half measures won’t solve the problem with police

It’s time to reduce funding to police and reallocate those dollars to more proactive ways to reduce crime

Half measures won’t solve the problem with policeHere’s a couple of questions that might have seemed crazy to many people just a few short years ago but are gaining purchase today. Do we really need as much policing as we have? Or are the ever-growing police budgets actually inadvertently leading to greater violence? A lot of us have believed that police exist…

Toronto has more important priorities right now than a $3.8-billion park

Toronto has more important priorities right now than a $3.8-billion parkToronto Mayor John Tory announced he’d have to make “terrible and devastating” cuts if the federal and provincial governments didn’t pony up cash to help the city fill its $1.5-billion budgetary void left in the wake of COVID-19. Astonishingly, after begging for money, the mayor’s pet project, Rail Deck Park, is still going ahead. Tory’s mega-park scheme is…

Defunding police a movement whose time has come

Reallocating some police funding to social workers, making body cameras mandatory would cut unnecessary violence

Defunding police a movement whose time has comeThe last two weeks have seen an explosion of interest in defunding the police in Canada and around the world. This is not a new idea – governments have long recognized that “the current model … was obsolete, expensive and too often produced dire consequences,” and have sought “alternative, more community-responsive approaches to public safety.” Despite these…

Easing urban traffic congestion no simple task

Cities are establishing taxes on electric cars and other low-emission vehicles to reduce traffic and raise infrastructure funds

Easing urban traffic congestion no simple taskThe state of Oregon recently became the latest devotee of a variation of congestion fees. The system falls short, even if the goal is worthy. It’s a sort of tax on road use more commonly directed at motorists and commercial vehicle drivers who access the central area of a city. Those drivers presumably add to…

We can’t obliterate history, no matter how hard we try

If historical figures with 2020 attitudes could be found, renaming familiar streets and place names wouldn’t be so daunting

We can’t obliterate history, no matter how hard we tryWinnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman is determined to pursue his name game – renaming, removing and rewriting history. Among his targets is Bishop Grandin Boulevard – the mayor doesn’t like the late Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin’s attitudes. If Bowman succeeds, the next logical renaming would be St. Vital – also named after Grandin, who was an important…

How to assess your community’s smart energy initiatives

While communities see the potential, they require tools and resources to support their efforts in community energy planning

How to assess your community’s smart energy initiativesBy Tonja Leach and Ericka Wicks QUEST QUEST and Pollution Probe recently launched the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark, a first-of-its-kind tool that provides a powerful benchmark that Canadian municipalities and utilities can use to assess their Smart Energy Community progress. Municipalities have a growing interest in community energy planning because it offers opportunities to strengthen…

Crime rises along with police budgets, yet cities are no safer

Toronto is a perfect example of a municipal system out of touch with effective policing. More money and new processes don't result in less crime

Crime rises along with police budgets, yet cities are no saferPolice services are once again hard at work preparing annual budget submissions for the next fiscal year. The cost of policing continues to mount year after year, and the justifications seem to repeat year to year as well. The budget for Canada’s largest municipal police force, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) now exceeds $1.2 billion,…

Winnipeg’s statue cleansing a distortion of history

The mayor is misreading the events of the Northwest Rebellion and romanticizing a nasty moment in our country’s history

Winnipeg’s statue cleansing a distortion of history“The red coats we know, but who are those little black devils?” This was the question posed by a Métis prisoner after the Battle of Fish Creek. Thus was born the nickname of the military unit that would later be known as the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, one that had been sent west to help crush…
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