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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered



  1. Really terrific ideas.  The private realm has moved long past the 1950s in its advertising, why not the public too?  Well done.

  2. I love the design submitted by Winkler, Greenberg, Stromberg, Malczewski and Fancello. Their signage packs in a lot of information, everything I would want to know, but presented in such a way that you can take it all in with a glance. Well done. I really hope the city takes note of this design.

  3. It’s worth looking at what Vancouver does with its signage.

    I was so stunned at their visual information at a downtown Vancouver Roundhouse project that I literally took pictures of the sign. Locals wondered why someone would photograph an info sign but it was just so much more detailed and illustrated than anything we use.

    Any Vancouver readers have any images they can post?

  4. The proposal by Winkler, Greenberg, Stromberg, Malczewski and Fancello is the best. From my experience in Ward Twenty the most important issues revolve around the volume of the proposals, combined with the context within which a development sits. Public input is often driven by these impacts and most of the work done by councillors involves sculpting the buildings to fit their surroundings, rather than adjusting metrics (ie 38 floors vs 40 floors). The only improvement would be to show the “as-of-right” image defined by existing zoning as a comparative to what is being proposed, as part of the notice.


  5. I agree with Veronica – the other ones are lacking in crucial information. Several don’t have pictures of the proposed development. I like the Winkler et al. one because it has this, plus who the developer and archictects are, as well as icons for all of the feature/amenities. The contact options jump out. The red could be replaced with Toronto blue and the City’d be good to go!

  6. Is there a central city of Toronto website with ALL the public notices issued by developers, in addition to the hardcopy newspapers?

  7. Is there a central city of Toronto website with ALL the public notices issued by developers, in addition to the hardcopy newspapers and properties?

  8. To be honest, I don’t like any of these better (of course, I’m a planner, so have no real issues reading the current signs’ language). Putting aside the question of whether or not they provide all of the legally required information (some do, some don’t), most put more of their focus on making the signage look pretty vs. conveying information. 

    For its faults, the Toronto sign provides textual information that is easily readable if you’re in front of the sign, or driving by, or on the other side of the street (likely). It can definitely be improved (rendering instead of an elevation for example. The PACE condo development at Yonge/Jarvis has this). The sign should provide the legally required info and serve as a gateway to more information for a proposal. 

  9. Quick note: The planning act does not require the posting of a sign, the municipal code does. Publishing the legally required info in the paper and circulating to surrounding property owners is considered good enough.

  10. A lot of these are very design student indeed. Winkler et al packs in a lot of information but the sign will have to be three times larger to be as readable as the existing one.

  11. I’m with Sean on this… none of them look like much of an improvement.

    Some of them provide less information, and most decided to use up precious space on non-information, presented with graphical effects that actively detract from the information being provided. What benefit does “We’re listening t.o you.” in techni-colour and twice as big as the application information bring?

    Winkler et al. didn’t fall into that trap, but provided far too much information instead (and committed crimes against typography). It might work for a brochure or web site, but a standard notice sign is not the place to include a 400 word backgrounder on what a zoning by-law is, and the text is generally too tiny. Will someone walking by the site be able to remember any of that? It’s well beyond the limits of human working memory, and will just crowd out the most important info.

    Their addition of a building model is a great improvement over a flat elevation drawing, but could stand improvement. While the bird’s eye air photo gives some idea of how the proposal fits in context with its surroundings, it tells the reader very little about how it would actually feel from the street–does this tower over someone on the sidewalk or are the extra storeys not all that noticeable? Does it line up with the buildings to either side? Does it shadow the street?

  12. Would be great if Winkler et al. (clearly a group who knows their planning stuff) collaborated with Iva Jerevic (clearly an individual who has a great design eye) to combine the strengths from both signs.

    Overall, this project is a fantastic idea to challenge the conventional method the City uses to communicate proposals.

    Sean, I think its unfortunate that you’re a planner and you’re comfortable with the current signs.

  13. This was a great project idea and exhibit. We enjoyed being a part of it (I’m part of the Winkler, Greenberg, Stromberg, Malczewski and Fancello group). I just wanted to speak to the comment about the explanatory zoning bylaw text. Agreed, there are a lot of words, but we thought it would be useful to provide explanatory text for those not familiar with the planning process. By including this explanatory text people can see first of all, what the heck a zoning bylaw amendment is and then specifically, where this application is in the planning process and the opportunities for public input. If it were an Official Plan Amendment then it would have explanatory OPA text etc. I also like the suggestion for showing the as-of-right condition. This would be very useful as a point of comparison.

    Again, great project idea and exhibit! It was a lot of fun to work on.

  14. Picked up on this post a bit late…  Great idea!  
    “D” had mentioned Vancouver’s notices.  For anyone who’s curious, I took a picture of one a rezoning application notice there couple of years ago: