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ehlow

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Nathan Phillips Square is a good place for a protest or a festival but it's not an inviting place to just hang out and people watch. It just feels too cold and uninviting. It's too big of an open space and much too much concrete. It's lacking distinctive features or character. I don't know what it is but it just feels like it's missing something.

Metro Hall square is also lacking something. It has no character or major focal point. I remember reading somewhere that it will be redesigned and I hope that happens soon.

I think we need to develop smaller public squares around the city. We can require condo developers to add small, distinctive, beautiful public squares in their projects. With our development boom, I don't think it would be so hard to do. We are doing that with parks, like at 300 Front Street, so why not add a few squares? I find public squares more urban and interesting than our typical parks. There is a lot more you can do with nice paving stones, than you can do with grass.

Agreed.

Speaking of smaller public squares, we all know Yonge-Eg square was recently closed down, and I think most would agree that it was also a badly designed space.

However, I'm hoping that the small square in front of E Condos will provide a nice public place at the intersection:
http://www.urbantoronto.ca/news/2014/01/e-condos-provides-glimpse-future-yonge-and-eglinton

If there is attractive seating, big trees for shade, and nearby cafes like the renderings show, it's possible that there will be a nice new small public square at Yonge & Eg.

Another possibility is where the abandoned bus bays are (and about to be demolished for LRT construction)
 

Wrenkin

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All is not lost. There are still opportunities to recover from this mistake with that lot to the northwest of NPS at the southern tip of Chestnut. A 300m+ building there would do wonders for NPS by countering the scale of the square. You can't do that with a 50m-150m building. That said, you can't just plonk down a standard condo tower there either. You need something that's as high calibre as City Hall was/is. This lot is where Toronto's future show piece skyscraper needs to go. A Zaha Hadid or Nouvel tower would be perfect here, but you need to go tall so the square can play off the height.

The parking lot across from the court house? I'm not sure it's a great location for such a tall building, as the PATH connection would be of such poor quality (via City Hall garage). Also, does anyone know who owns the land? (My off-hand guess would be the province). A lot of the office buildings around there also house courtrooms, and longer-term I think a better idea might be to consolidate those operations in a new facility (which could, of course, be multi-purpose).
 

salsa

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Madrid has interesting plans to fight rising temperatures caused by climate change by covering itself in plants. Toronto should do the same.

In Madrid, pretty much every unused space will soon be covered in plants. The city is spending millions to expand existing parks, and as many roofs and walls will be covered with greenery as possible. Twenty-two vacant lots will be turned into urban gardens. Paved squares will become parks that can suck up rainfall. Near the river that runs through the middle of the city—where a major highway was torn down in 2003—the city is spending over $4.3 million to finish filling in the banks with trees.

As the city starts to ban cars from central streets, the Department of the Environment is considering turning some of those streets into linear, tree-filled parks, too.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056166/...f-in-plants-to-help-fight-rising-temperatures
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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What I am curious is how the city will be able to get sufficient water to maintain that plant cover, save for using xerophytes.

AoD
 

Tewder

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What about ground covers/climbers like Ivy? There are a number of very hardy plants that need little care or water.
 

wild goose chase

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Madrid has interesting plans to fight rising temperatures caused by climate change by covering itself in plants. Toronto should do the same.



http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056166/...f-in-plants-to-help-fight-rising-temperatures

What I am curious is how the city will be able to get sufficient water to maintain that plant cover, save for using xerophytes.

AoD
What about ground covers/climbers like Ivy? There are a number of very hardy plants that need little care or water.

If Madrid can successfully add plants as covers to its buildings, then probably Toronto can find some hardy enough ones too, seeing as how apart from being warmer, Madrid's actually drier in climate than Toronto, with close to half the precipitation in mm per year.
 

pman

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Why would rising temperatures be a problem for Toronto? The world, I get, but Toronto is really, really cold by the standards of pretty much any other city.
 

ksun

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Maybe my problem is I travel too much and when I sit in an amazing public space in New York, London, Paris or Hong Kong, I think why can't we create something like or BETTER than this? Why do all the great ideas and innovations happen in other cities? If we are a top creative city, why do we settle for the same old, same old? Besides that water feature at Sherbourne Commons, I can't think of another major design feature that is original, innovative and beautiful. (oh, and also those distinctive wave decks at Harbourfront and the floating pods of Ontario Place) We need more of that kind of innovation, when developing our parks. Enough with the grass and tress BS. We have that coming out of our wazoo. Think more along the lines of Ontario Place and how distinctive it looks. (even in it's degraded state today) It's still a spectacular, innovative and beautiful public park.

I think that is indeed your problem. One is very easy to be satisfied by projects like the Sugar Beach or Sherbourne Commons thinking they are so nice and stuff when they didn't see how urban parks and public space in many other cities. No need to talk about NYC or London which are one or two notches above Toronto, Parque de el Retiro in Madrid for example will put anything parks in Toronto in shame. That is called an urban park, in comparison, High Park is just a big patch of wild grass.

I notice people constantly bring up the Toronto Islands as an example. I am afraid that's far from convincing. Besides connectivity issues (plus a $7 ferry charge - which is a big disincentive for many people), the island is poorly designed and is not exactly an "urban park" - you might as well drive to Rouge Park for that kind of experience. Like someone said above, we don't lack wildness - there is plenty of it even in the city of Toronto (the ravines, 70% of high park for example), what we lack is pleasantly designed urban parks with easy access in more central areas.

"Enough of grass and trees BS"? well, that's most likely what we will get every time we have a park, just like we get the same concrete slabs every time we add a "public square".
 

Register123

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I tried searching for Market Lane redo renderings, does anyone know if they've been released? I do recall hearing that it will be done with St. Lawrence Market North rebuild.
 

ksun

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Madrid has interesting plans to fight rising temperatures caused by climate change by covering itself in plants. Toronto should do the same.

Planting more is of course good, but why should Toronto want to fight rising temperature? The sane thing to do is to help increase temperature in the city, no?

The parking lot across from the court house? I'm not sure it's a great location for such a tall building, as the PATH connection would be of such poor quality (via City Hall garage).

Odd comment. Why does a great building have to have great PATH connection? How is that a necessity? The Frank Gehry condos don't have PATH. Shangrila doesn't have it. The four seasons don't have it either.
 

DSC

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I tried searching for Market Lane redo renderings, does anyone know if they've been released? I do recall hearing that it will be done with St. Lawrence Market North rebuild.
No plans have yet been discussed, at present the planning for the parks in St Lawrence is with St James; As you say, Market Lane Park will be redone after the North Market is underway and I think the idea will be to plan the new park at Market/Esplanade (where the temporary Market is) at the same time.
 
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Memph

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Planting more is of course good, but why should Toronto want to fight rising temperature? The sane thing to do is to help increase temperature in the city, no?



Odd comment. Why does a great building have to have great PATH connection? How is that a necessity? The Frank Gehry condos don't have PATH. Shangrila doesn't have it. The four seasons don't have it either.
I'm not sure how much cooling plants would do in the winter, when I agree more warmth can be appreciated. The cooling would be mostly in the summers, which can get a little muggy. Obvious not as bad as much of the rest of the world, but still a little above ideal.
 

pman

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I'm not sure how much cooling plants would do in the winter, when I agree more warmth can be appreciated. The cooling would be mostly in the summers, which can get a little muggy. Obvious not as bad as much of the rest of the world, but still a little above ideal.

I don't know if a little warming would be that bad for Toronto. The last forecast I saw for the extreme scenario towards the end of the century was an average temperature increase from baseline for Toronto of 5 degrees Celsius, winter and summer, which would put us exactly where Philadelphia is today. While Philly summers do have a couple of hot months, the rest of the year their climate is way more pleasant than ours, and they aren't exactly dying like flies during heat waves. We would of course have to retrofit our drainage/sewage infrastructure over the next seventy years to deal with increased extremes of precipitation, but that stuff has a finite life and we'd have to retrofit it anyway. I stress I'm not denying the reality of climate change, or its likely negative impact on parts of the world. But it seems like it would be a net positive for Toronto. Of course, that does imply more planting to deal with summer extremes.
 

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