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School Troubles in a Booming Metropolis: Part 4 – Changing Expectations

This is the final installment in a four-part series about the demographic, housing and land use contexts of troubled public schools. Here are links to parts one, two and three.

North Americans are culturally attached to the single-family house, especially for families with children. Thanks to Barrie Sutcliffe for this great photos of houses on the outskirts of Edmonton, Alberta.

In many core cities, insufficient affordable and suitable housing for families provides a push for young families to leave urban neighbourhoods for the suburbs.

The pull of suburban environments is the other side of the coin. 55% of Canadians live in a house, and many believe that young children have the best outcomes in a single-family house with a private yard. Cultural attachment to … Continue Reading

Snapshot: Sidewalk Patios


A cold beverage and urban people-watching on a summer’s day – this is the beauty of sidewalk patios. The “eyes on the street” that they bring can make for a safer and more interesting pedestrian environment. Sidewalk patios thrive in pedestrian priority streets like Copenhagen’s Strædet. The Project for Public Spaces even commends their presence overlooking children’s play areas so that parents can drink coffee and socialize while keeping an eye on their charges.

From a regulatory perspective, however, sidewalk patios can be tricky because they not only blur public and private space, but do so in a context where alcohol is served.  When patio space extends onto city property, restaurant owners must apply for a license, typically demonstrating that a proposed patio leaves sufficient … Continue Reading

Rotterdam: The city that does sleep – quite early!

Travelling around Europe is a joy for anyone interested in urbanism. It offers a completely different model of development, and for some, maybe the inspiration to try and bring that model home with them. Surprisingly, it also inspired me to acknowledge some of the positives of our North American way of life. Or at least, reconsider what is positive.