Spacing Saturday: Optimism, Falling Crime Rates and the Vancouver Special

Spacing Saturday highlights posts from across Spacing’s blog network in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and the Atlantic region.

Yuri Artibise tells the story of a specific group of the ‘Vancouver Special,’  a stock housing design developed in the 1960’s which was made cheaply available and manifested in several thousand houses throughout Vancouver. The group of houses tell a unique story of  the history of the Strathcona neighbourhood.

Cameron Barker examines the striking architecture of the new Visitors Centre recently opened at Vancouver’s Van Dusen Gardens.

Predicting that this new year will not only be good to Ottawa but will make it the Canadian city to watch in 2012, Alan Miguelez presents the top ten reasons for optimism in 2012.

Mark Brandt reviews the book Cities as Crucibles: Reflections on Canada’s Urban Future by Francois Lapointe, current VP of Capital Planning at the National Commission, and finds it to be a comprehensive and accessible understanding of how to re-create Canadian cities in the coming years.

Alanah Heffez looks at the history of traffic lights on the island of Montreal, illustrating some of the process of how traffic signals became standardized and how some problems still haven’t changed.

Joel Thibert provides a glimpse inside Montreal’s regional politics through a look at the tumultuous final approval of the area’s first regional plan the Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et développement.

Toronto’s homicide rate hit a 25 year low in 2011, John Lorinc  reflects on the reasons behind this success as well as the shifting politics behind public safety in the city under Rob Ford.

Alex Bozikovic’s No Mean City architectural feature asks tough questions about the soullessness of international waterfront redevelopment based on recent states from leading architect Rem Koolhaas.

In a separate post No Mean City also pays homage to the walk-up apartment, advocating how this residential form could fill an important niche in Toronto’s housing market which is currently neglected.

Photograph by: _TAWCAN