Small Houses, Big Impact

Sam Wan was 10 years old when his father, an officer in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force, died in the line of duty. Reeling from his death, Wan’s family moved from their Tsim Sha Tsui apartment back to their ancestral village, Tai Po Tsai, where they owned a small tile-roofed house. The year was […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, History, Politics, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Small Houses, Big Impact , , , , , ,

A Day in Petaling Jaya

Kuala Lumpur is a city that settles into its streets like a comfortable pair of jeans. Hawker stalls and coffee shops spread out on the pavement, where a vast range of people — old, young, Indian, Malay, Chinese, immigrant — eat delicious food on folding tables and bright plastic stools. But the irony is that, […]

Elected by Ethnoburbia

Election results in Toronto in 2008 (top) and 2011 (bottom) Red is Liberal, blue is Conservative, orange is NDP Canada held its 41st federal election on Monday and the results have unleashed a seismic shift in the country’s political landscape. After two consecutive minority governments, the Conservatives have now won a majority. The left-wing NDP, […]

Modernism Debauched

Villa Besnus in 1922 and 2010. Photo compilation by Laurent David Ruamps In 1922, Le Corbusier was hired by a man named George Besnus to build a new house in the Paris suburb of Vaucresson. It was the architect’s first chance to put the Purist ideals he had been toying with to practice: an architecture […]

Gargoyles, Horny PhDs & Spoiled Newspapers: an Afternoon at McGill

Ce mois de mars. Incroyable par sa fraicheur, déroutant par sa chaleur inopinée. Frébilité perceptible. Émotions intenses. Je parcours le campus de l’Université McGill, en plein coeur du centre des affaires de Montréal, à la recherche d’une place apaisante où lire ce journal pris à la course aux portes du métro. J’adore ces petits endroits, […]

Posted in: Architecture, Canada, Society and Culture by Daniel Corbeil Comments Off on Gargoyles, Horny PhDs & Spoiled Newspapers: an Afternoon at McGill , , , ,

Unbuilt Cities

Satellite views of California City (above) and Lehigh Acres (below) from Google Maps The world is filled with mad dreams only partly come to life. In Eastern Europe, half-built skyscrapers that neither communist governments nor their free market-friendly successors could complete form ironic landmarks, totems of ideological overconfidence. In China’s Inner Mongolia province, authorities built […]

Quebec City Tour: Le Campanile

In the early 1980s, New Urbanism arose as a reaction to suburban sprawl, advocating a return to traditional city planning. The Campanile area, laid out in 1986, was built according to these ideas. This dense neighbourhood lies beyond the low-density suburbs of Sainte-Foy on the edge of Greater Quebec. Just when you think you’ve hit […]

Posted in: Architecture, Canada, Public Space by Patrick Donovan Comments Off on Quebec City Tour: Le Campanile , , , ,

Quebec City Tour: Suburbia

This is Sainte-Foy, one of Quebec City’s numerous suburbs, where I grew up. Yes, it could be anywhere in North America. 80% of the population in Greater Quebec lives in low-density burbs like this one, with anonymous detached homes on large grassy lots. This demographic majority has redefined the public image of Quebec City, a […]

Urbanism on the Big Screen in Two New Films

[youtube]pFNdQDBy2rY[/youtube] Director Gary Burns (Waydowntown) moves from fiction to documentary mode, teaming up with journalist Jim Brown to bring us Radiant City, a look at suburban sprawl from the point of view of a typical family living in a new tract development in Calgary, interspersed with commentary from the likes of Mark Kingwell and James […]

Posted in: Film, Video by A.J. Kandy Comments Off on Urbanism on the Big Screen in Two New Films , , , ,

This City Was Built on Urban Sprawl

It’s a snowless December night in Calgary and there’s just a hint of chill in the air as I wander down quiet streets, jacket open. I’m on my way to Broken City, a deliberately ramshackle bar on Eleventh Avenue where I’ve arranged to meet a handful of people from the Calgary Urban Initiative (CUI), an […]

Posted in: Canada, Politics by Christopher DeWolf 3 Comments , ,

The Sprawling City

Most Canadians are aware of Calgary’s status. For those who are not, it is quite simply booming in every sense of the word. Booming may even be an understatement, as very rarely has the city seen expansion at such epic proportions. The population grew by almost 36,000 in the past year, a number only surpassed […]

Los Angeles vs. Orange County

Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Victor Obeck When they think of Los Angeles, people outside Southern California probably think of urban sprawl and freeways. In fact, although historically low rise in its built form, Los Angeles is quite densely populated. Nevertheless, when I moved to Los Angeles from central Tokyo in 1999, my first impression […]