Canada Post needs to deliver excellent design if it goes ahead with a controversial plan to replace door-to-door service with community mailboxes, says the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).
The RAIC, who advocates for a livable built environment, says group mailboxes will affect the urban landscape and quality of life of Canadians.
Allan Teramura, RAIC regional director for Ontario North, East and Nunavut, says the impact on streets and green spaces will be significant.
“The problem of retrofitting these to existing neighborhoods is going to be extremely challenging,” he says. “There’s no information provided to date that shows how this will be done in a way that’s acceptable to anyone.”
As the first G-8 country to end door-to-door service, this experiment will receive international attention.
“Architects and urban designers should be involved in the development and planning of such postal nodes,” says RAIC president-elect Wayne De Angelis.
“They must be considered as part of the urban fabric just as mail slots and post boxes were considered in the planning of our homes,” he says.
Canada Post’s proposal raises many questions. When we are advocating sustainable cities, will people drive to collect their mail? While we improve accessibility in buildings, how will strollers, wheelchairs and seniors safely reach the clustered boxes in the dark and snow of winter?
If you’d like to start a conversation about why Canada Post’s plan needs careful and creative design thinking, RAIC board members across the country are available for comment.