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School Troubles in a Booming Metropolis: Part 3 of 4 – Intergenerational Neighbourhoods and Housing Diversity

105-year-old Sir William MacDonald Elementary School was one of 11 Vancouver schools threatened with closure in 2010. Thanks to Sqeaky Marmot on Flickr for this great Creative Commons photo.

Wrestling with the conundrum of why growing cities like Vancouver face declining public school enrolments, the first two posts in this series suggest links between municipal and regional populations of school-aged children and the affordability and suitability of family housing. Today’s post explores the value of intergenerational communities in both urban and suburban contexts, and considers how housing diversity may influence demographics at the neighbourhood scale.

Urban Context
Researching the dispersal of children across local neighbourhoods, the Curious Dad newspaper column found that Vancouver’s east-side communities house the most young children, while … Continue Reading

Planning Challenge 1: Commercial Aggregation and Subdivision (Part 2)

Levittown, Pennsylvania

At the dawn of the 20th Century, cities were ascendant, dense, and prosperous, if also iniquitous and polluted. By mid century cities reached their zenith, and a slow decline lead by the flight of the white middle class and industry to cheaper land in the suburbs, subsidized with mortgage insurance and federal highways, free of urban crime and overcrowded school districts. By the last quarter of the century, American cities appeared to be in free fall, many having lost more than half their population, leaving behind the poor and marginalized. Then, in the last decade of the 20th Century the dense city once again showed signs of life.Young, creative professionals were heading to cities after college, crime rates began to reverse, … Continue Reading

Next week is Heritage Week!

Thanks to Steve Cadman on Flickr for this Creative Commons photo of the Lower Eastside Tenement Museum in New York.

During the coming week, we here at PlanningPool are looking forward to sharing a series of posts about victories and challenges in urban heritage planning around the world. Join us next week for Heritage Week, from May 10 – 14!

To start thinking about the dynamics of change and preservation in cities, we recommend an article by urban economics guru Edward Glaeser that appeared in the New York Times earlier this week. Responding to Jane Jacobs’ well-loved and oft-quoted principles of successful urban environment, Glaeser suggests that this approach placed too high a value on retaining older buildings and maintaining moderate densities. Is there any … Continue Reading

Jane’s Walk 2009 happening this weekend – See your hometown in a new light!

Urbanist-cum-superhero Jane Jacobs left quite a legacy. Starting in the 60s as a journalist, she took a keen interest in the huge changes she saw happening to North American cities. To commemorate her life, a group of keen Jacobites started Jane’s Walk – a series of walking tours led -for free- by community members like you.