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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

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  1. I’m disappointed but not surprised about the lack of an outdoor rink. Redevelopment of Griffintown here in Montréal (another destroyed working-class neighbourhood, in this case a historic centre of the Irish community) has been short on schools, small parks and other facilities and amenities found in most central urban areas.

    The rail line will be key, as well as other public transport routes and provision for cyclists and pedestrians. So will housing.

    Personally, I think the design of the War Museum was an error: it sprawls over far too large an area. It should have been more vertical in design (as the old, tiny and inadequate one was) though obviously with better museum infrastructure and universal accessibility. But the Flats are stuck with that “suburban” design.

    Half of another old working-class neighbourhood was destroyed farther east here, when the Maison Radio-Canada was built. The destruction was not so much for the tower itself but for huge parking lots, although the Maison is served by Beaudry métro station nearby. It was wilful destruction, not only the carcentric development of its day but yet another excercise in “urban renewal”, trying to eradicate poverty by eliminating the poor. The remaining 19th-century greystone and red-brick duplexes, triplexes and row houses are very valuable now.